MW Arden’s Kevin Ceccon fastest on day one in Spain…
Italian driver Kevin Ceccon posted the fastest laptime on the opening day of the Jerez test with a 1:35.451, nearly half a second quicker than Lotus GP’s Robert Visoiu in the morning. Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas topped the timesheets in a very wet afternoon session.
After a six week break since the 2012 GP3 Series season finished in dramatic style, the GP3/10 cars roared back into action for the first of two winter tests. The GP3 circus arrived in Jerez, Spain for a two day test with many new faces hoping to impress to secure a potential drive for the 2013 season.
Six drivers from this year’s season were testing today but not all were competing with the same outfit they had raced with. Ceccon took the reigns of the MW Arden machine whilst Visoiu and Giovanni Venturini switched to the black and gold of the Lotus GP car.
The morning session started off in cool conditions with rain threatening over the Circuito de Jerez. The drivers made their way onto the track to set the installation laps with the experienced drivers of Ceccon, David Fumanelli (MW Arden) and Ellinas setting the early pace. Alex Fontana (Jenzer Motorsport) headed the timings after the first hour with debutants Melville McKee (MW Arden), Roman De Beer (Trident Racing) and Jack Harvey (Lotus GP) in the top eight.
Australian Jordan Oon spun his Atech CRS GP car which caused the morning session to be briefly red flagged whilst  Ceccon got to grips with the MW Arden car to go P1 with a best laptime of 1:35.451. Visoiu jumped up to P2 in the final thirty minutes to finish ahead of Ellinas, Fumanelli, McKee, Fontana, Nick Cassidy (Status Grand Prix) and Nicolas Costa (Marussia Manor Racing).
Heavy rain fell as the afternoon session commenced and Polish rookie Patryk Szczerbinski (Marussia Manor Racing) set the marker in the early stages until his teammates Ellinas and Costa posted P1 and P2 as the rain came down even harder. This gave the drivers the opportunity to test the GP3 car in full wet conditions after the earlier dry session.
Fontana rose to P3 ahead of Miki Monras (Atech CRS GP) whilst Harvey and Ceccon climbed up to P2 and P3 respectively in the final thirty minutes. However the rest of the pack were unable to beat the Cypriot’s fastest laptime of the afternoon of 1:47.520. Harvey, Ceccon, Costa, Fontana, Monras, Visoiu and Eric Lichtenstein (Carlin) rounding out the top eight.



Multiple Formula 1 grand prix winner David Coulthard has joined the field for the Race Of Champions on December 14-16 Fresh from his retirement from full-time motor racing at last weekend’s DTM season finale, Coulthard will now travel to Bangkok for ROC 2012 Coulthard joins a star-studded field including another imminent motor sport retiree, seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher
David Coulthard has become the latest motor sport great to sign up for the Race Of Champions at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on December 14-16, 2012.

The Scotsman enjoyed a glittering Formula 1 career, taking 13 grand prix wins and finishing in the world championship top three no less than five times in over a decade at the top. He has since spent three years in Germany’s DTM championship but last weekend he announced his retirement from full-time competition to focus on his other interests including his F1 commentary for BBC television.

Now Coulthard has a chance to go out on a high, taking on a ROC 2012 line-up that includes seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, another great soon to retire from top-flight racing. Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and stars of MotoGP, IndyCar and Aussie V8s are also already confirmed, with more to come.

Coulthard has a fine pedigree at the Race Of Champions, reaching the Grand Final at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2008 soon after his F1 retirement. That day he took rally legend Sébastien Loeb to the third heat of the best-of-three final, before missing out by the narrowest of margins in the decider. He now has the chance to go a step further on his first outing after his second retirement.

Coulthard said: “This will be my eighth ROC appearance and it’s a pleasure to take part. The main draw is the camaraderie between the drivers and all the social events outside the cars but the racing is always exciting. In the ROC Nations Cup you never want to let your team-mate down, then you have the individual event. Looking at how I got on at Wembley, it seems I do better after I’ve just retired from something. That time I made the final so maybe this year in Bangkok I can finish the job…”

Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson added: “David has been a fantastic supporter of the Race Of Champions down the years and we’re delighted that he is back in 2012. He is a real character who is always a big hit with the crowds in the stadium. Now we are thrilled to offer race fans in Bangkok one more chance to see both DC and Michael Schumacher in action.”

The end-of-season contest, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, Indycar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.

After recent visits to London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium (2009) and Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT arena (2010-2011), ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Built for the 1998 Asian Games, the 50,000-capacity stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.

Tickets are now on sale. For access to further information, hi-res imagery and details about media accreditation please visit Sign up for all the latest updates at, @raceofchampions on Twitter or Race Of Champions on Facebook.

Drivers confirmed for the 2012 Race Of Champions so far:

  • Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
  • Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2011, 2010
  • Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar Series Champion 2012
  • Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercar Champion 2011, 2009, 2008
  • Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion
  • David COULTHARD, 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner



HILLIARD, Ohio (Oct. 24, 2012) – Thirty race-car drivers have been voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club as Regular members for 2012. The group has won a collective 66 season championships and more than 700 races, including an incredible 32 overall victories at Le Mans. Also, 12 Associate and Honorary members were voted in, six in each category, raising the membership of the RRDC to 407. Voting was held among all current RRDC members.
“This is truly a stellar group of talented race-car drivers and contributors to the sport,” said RRDC president Bobby Rahal. “We are honored that each of them has enthusiastically accepted membership in the RRDC. We look forward to working with them as the RRDC continues to pursue its goals of lending its expertise to up-and-coming drivers through a variety of programs.”
While Regular RRDC members are race-car drivers who have competed at the championship level, the criteria for Associate membership includes drivers who have participated successfully in major professional events or in lesser and/or historic events, as well as drivers who have significant ties to racing, such as corporate, sponsorship, mentoring, patronage and promotion.
Honorary members are distinguished senior international motorsports champions, team owners and others who have demonstrated a life-long commitment in support of racing through active volunteerism, officiating and/or promotion of the sport generally.
For additional information and driver head shots, go to
In alphabetical order, here are the 30 new Regular members:
MARCOS AMBROSE: Won four Tasmanian junior karting titles, plus the Australian championship in ’95. European FF champion in ’99. Australian Supercar Series Rookie of the Year in ’01, champion in ’03 and ’04. Gambled all on NASCAR, running in the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series, before landing a Sprint Cup seat in ’08. Has four road course victories – two Cup, one Nationwide at Watkins Glen, plus a Nationwide win at Montreal.
PETER ARGETSINGER: ’74 German FF Rookie of the Year, ’78 British Driver of the Year, British FF and European FF Champion in ’80. Moved to sports cars in ’85 with much success. Lead instructor for Brands Hatch, BMW, Audi and Skip Barber schools; private coach to Damon Hill, Juan Pablo Montoya and other noted pro drivers.
FRANK BIELA: Touring Car champ ’91. French Touring Car champ in ‘93. British Touring Car champ and Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year in ’96. Drove for Audi at 24 Hours of Le Mans every year from ’99 to ’08, winning in ’00, ’01, ’02, ’06 and ’07 (with Kristensen, Pirro and Werner).
RINALDO “DINDO” CAPELLO: Veteran Audi team driver. ’85 thru ‘88 Italian F3 champ. ’90, ’92, ’93, ’96 Italian Touring Car champ, Group A. ‘96 Italian Super Touring Car champ. ’00, ’02, ’06, ’07, ‘08 Petit Le Mans winner. ’01, ’02, ’06, 07, ’09, ‘12 Sebring winner (record, tied with Kristensen). ’03, ’04, ‘08 Le Mans 24 winner. ’00, ’06, ‘07 ALMS LMP champ.
EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.: Started in karts in Italy and raced for almost 30 years in F1, sports cars, CART and IRL. Won the Italian and European karting championships at age 15. Raced in both F3 and F2. Started 132 F1 races, more than any other American (’78-’89). Scored nine podiums and 70 championship points. Was CART Rookie of the Year at Indy in ’90. Formed his own IRL team in ’97, and won the ’98 Indy 500 as both owner and driver.
RYAN DALZIEL: Top rookie and Ecurie Ecosse Trophy winner in ’99 British Formula Vauxhall Championship. 2nd overall and top rookie in ’00 Formula Renault. British F3 in ’01, followed by 2nd in U.S. Formula Atlantic in both ’03 and ’04. ChampCar, GRAND-AM and ALMS since. Six top-10 ChampCar finishes in ’07. Rolex 24 at Daytona overall winner, ’10.
ANDREW DAVIS: SCCA South Atlantic Champion in ’97, ’98 and ’99. Multiple top-five finishes in Formula Ford in ’00. ALMS competitor in ’01 thru ’03, and GRAND-AM Rolex Series in ’03 to present in GT class, overall champion in ’11. AARWBA All-America Team, SPEED TV Top-Ten GRAND-AM Driver and Porsche Sport Driving School.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Began in motocross at age 8. Ran 24 Hours of Mexico at age 18. Mexican F3 Champion ’91. Indy Lights Rookie of the Year ’92. 194 career starts in CART, IndyCar and ChampCar ’93-’04 with 11 wins and 25 podiums. 2nd in points in ’00. ALMS LMP2 champion ’09.
OLIVER GAVIN: Started as British club racer. McLaren BRDC Award in ’91. Autosport British Club Driver of the Year in ’92. British F3 champion in ’95. Later became Corvette factory team driver. Ran at Le Mans every year from ’01 (Saleen) and ‘02 to ’12 (Corvette). Four-time class winner and 4th overall in ’06. 2012 ALMS GT Champion.
DICK GULDSTRAND: A career Corvette specialist, drove to consecutive Pacific Coast titles, ’63-’65, plus Daytona 24 GT Class win in ’66. Set GT track record at Le Mans in ’67. Developed, raced and won with Camaros in the Trans-Am Series and with Lola in Can-Am for James Garner. First inductee into Corvette Hall of Fame. Engineers and produces performance equipment and special-edition Corvettes.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Started in karting, then finished 3rd in the Bridgestone Academy F2000 Series in ’02. Rookie of the Year in Formula BMW USA with four poles and three wins. Moved to Star Mazda then Firestone Indy Lights, finishing second with three wins in ’10. Rookie of the Year in IZOD IndyCar Series with Newman-Haas Racing in ’11.
JACKY ICKX: At one time led all drivers in Le Mans 24 overall victories with six. Won numerous other premier sports car races including Monza 1000, Nurburgring 1000 and Kayalami 9-Hour. Scored eight victories and 17 other podiums in 116 Formula 1 starts over 13 seasons – ’67-’79. Co-drove over the years with RRDC members Brian Redman and Derek Bell with whom he shared three of his Le Mans victories. Ickx was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in ‘02.
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: Raced from age 12 in Mexican Formula Junior, Formula 2 and Sports Prototypes from ’88-‘95, then transitioned to IRL and CART beginning in ’96. Drove for Team Scandia/Simon, Herdez/Bettenhausen and Team Rahal, among others, including Indy 500. Finished 3rd in CART Championship in ’03. Many starts in NASCAR Nationwide Series in ’05-’08.
LEHMAN “LEH” KEEN: GRAND-AM Rolex GT Champion in ’09 with Farnbacher Loles and ’11 with Brumos Racing. Winner ’10 Sebring 12-Hour GT3 class with Alex Job Racing. In ’10, was second in GT2 (12th o/a) at Le Mans, then won Nurburgring in a Farnbacher Loles Ferrari 430. 2012 ALMS GTC class runner-up.
TOM KRISTENSEN: Winningest driver in Le Mans 24-Hour history with eight victories, including six in a row – ‘2000-’05. Also has claimed (with Capello) a record six Sebring 12-Hour victories – ’99, ’00, ’05, ’06, ’09, ’12. ALMS champion, ’02. The most successful endurance racer ever, he as been an Audi factory driver since 2000. Has raced the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI and now the R18 sports cars, as well as six versions of the A4 DTM.
ALLAN McNISH: Racing since the age of 11, Scotsman McNish was a six-time national karting champion and three-time British champion. Progressed through FJr., F3 and F3000 en route to sports car racing and F1. Team driver for Porsche and Audi. Twice Le Mans 24-Hour. Four-time Sebring 12-Hour winner. Nurburgring winner. Three-time ALMS champion. Four-time Petit Le Mans winner.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: After winning several junior titles, was International F3000 Champion in ’98, and CART Champion in ’99. Won the Indy 500 as a rookie, the Monaco GP, the Italian GP and the Daytona 24-Hour (twice). Logged seven victories, 13 poles and 30 podiums in 94 career F1 starts for Williams and McLaren. Has scored NASCAR Sprint Cup wins at Sears Point and Watkins Glen for Chip Ganassi.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: First American to win Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch (’08). Runner-up for British FF title in ’09 scoring nine wins. Also won nine races in various Skip Barber series over three years. In Europe, scored two wins in Formula Palmer Audi and competed in GP3. 2011 Indy Lights Champion. 2012 IZOD Indy Car driver.
MAX PAPIS: After starting in F3000 in ‘95, Papis ran seven F1 races for the underfinanced Footwork team. Was ’96 Daytona 24-Hour runner-up. Moved to CART that year, later finishing 5th in the series in ’99 for Rahal Racing. Ran mostly sports cars from ’01, but also ran Indy 500 for Cheever Racing in ’02 and ’06. Drove in NASCAR Busch Series in ’06 and ’07.
EMANUELE PIRRO: Started in F2, then F3000, where he finished 3rd in the championship in ’85 and 2nd in ’86. Ran F1 with Benetton in ’89 and Scuderia Italia in ’90-’91. Multi-year Le Mans 24-Hour and ALMS driver, primarily with Audi Sport NA and ADT Champion Racing, from ’98-’10. Five Le Mans 24-Hour wins for Audi in LMP900 and LMP1 (’00 to ’07) and two ALMS season championships (’02 & ’05).
WILL POWER: Raced karts starting at age 6. Australian Formula Holden champ in ’02. Moved to IndyCar in’05, with two wins and 4th in points. With Penske Racing since ’09. Runner up in championship in ’10. I6 IndyCar wins and 23 poles. Leading ’12 series going into the final race, Power’s hopes were dashed by an accident with fellow RRDC member Ryan Hunter-Reay taking the title. He ended up in 2nd.
GUILLERMO “MEMO” ROJAS: From a start in karts (’93) to Barber School in ’97, and then Mexican F2. Ran Barber Pro Dodge Series in ’03 and Formula Renault in Europe in ’04. Since joining Chip Ganassi’s GRAND-AM team in ’07, Rojas has claimed four GRAND-AM Sports Car championships – ’08, ’10, ’11 and ’12 – two Daytona 24 victories.
TAKUMA SATO: British F3 champion ’01. Five seasons in F1. Winner, Macau GP and “Drive of the Race” award for Canadian GP. IndyCar for past two seasons, with two pole positions. Now drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
ORIOL SERVIA: Son of a Spanish rally driver, went from karts to French F3 championship to IndyLights and won the ’99 IndyLights championship. Moved to ChampCar and was Rookie of the Year in ’00 and landed at Newman-Haas in ’05, finishing in points that season, and 4th in ‘11. Now driving for Dryer Reinbold Racing.
MIKE SHANK: After an eight year driving career culminated his only IRL start – Las Vegas in ’97 – he launched Michael Shank Racing. Twice named Formula Atlantic Team Owner of the Year, he fielded Sam Hornish Jr’s ’99 Atlantic Championship and Rookie of the Year season. Shank’s GRAND-AM team won the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona this past February.
WAYNE TAYLOR: Started open-wheel racing in South Africa, then moved to sports cars in Europe, finishing fourth at Le Mans in ’87. Moved to the U.S. where he had many wins as a driver, including two Daytona 24-Hour, one Sebring, one Petit Le Mans and the IMSA WSC titles in ’94 and ‘96. Formed his own successful GRAND-AM team, Sun Trust Racing, in ’07.
JERRY THOMPSON: Twice SCCA National Champion, first qualified for the Runoffs in C Production Lotus Super 7 in ’63 and ’64. Went to a Yenko Stinger in ’66, winning D Production National title in ’67. Ran A and B Production Corvettes ’68-’70, was A Production National champ in ’69 and 4th o/a at ’70 Daytona 24-hour. Ran Trans-Am and IMSA ’71-‘75, and ’81-’87. Continues racing today with RX-7 in SCCA enduros.
BRIAN TILL: Won 1990 ChampCar Atlantic Championship in ’90. Raced in CART ’92-’95, with 20 career starts, including 12th place Indy 500 finish in ’94. Drove in Trans-Am Series in ‘95, finishing 9th in points. Subsequently commentator for SPEED and instructor at Mid-Ohio High Performance Driving School.
PETE VAN DER VATE: SCCA National G Production champ in ’63 and ’64, in Sebring Sprite and Morgan 4/4 respectively. Early Trans-Am GTU competitor in Alfa Giulia. Winner ’65 FIA 12-Hour at Marlboro with Monty Winkler. NE Division champ in Group 44 F Production Spitfire in ’74. Thereafter, worked for many years in race-car development with Winkler.
MARCO WERNER: 2nd in ’90 Formula Opel championship (behind Mika Hakkinen). 2nd in German F 3 championship in ’91. Moved to sports cars, first in Porsche Cup, then Audi team driver, with Audi Sport, Joest, ADT and Highcroft. Raced in Le Mans 24-Hour every year from ’02 to ’10, winning LMP 1 in ’05, ’06 and ’07 (teamed with Biela, J.J. Lehto, Kristensen and Pirro).
Here, alphabetically, are the new Associate members:
ZAK BROWN: Founder and CEO of Just Marketing International motorsports marketing agency, Brown began racing karts in ’86, winning 22 races before moving through Formula Ford, Benelux Open Lotus, Toyota Atlantic, British F3 and IndyLights. Owner/driver of United Autosports has successfully competed in all the major international sports car series.
MAX CRAWFORD: The New Zealander is a lifelong mechanic, crew chief, engineer and, later, team owner. Partnered with John Fitzpatrick to win the IMSA title in ’80, then as crew chief with Dick Barbour Racing and later with Dyson Racing. Formed Crawford & Crawford Composites to build the Mazda RX7-92P for IMSA GTP, then Crawford Race Cars to build the SSC2K for the Rolex Sports Car Series and Daytona Prototypes.
JOE FREEMAN: Began racing in ’70, and completed RRDC National Driver’s Seminar in July ’71. Freeman raced Formulas Ford and B before a serious crash at Lime Rock ended his SCCA racing career. Returned to historic racing in ’84 with pre-war Indy cars, winning Monterey Historic Rolex Award in ’01. Automotive historian and owner/manager of The Racemaker Press.
BOB HEBERT: After being an SCCA privateer in the early ’70s, drove for Lotus Racing East in the U.S., South America and Canada, including SCCA runoffs in Atlanta, ’70-’74. Competed in seven Daytona 24-hour races. Regular driver and multiple winner for Donovan Motorsports “Select Edition” Jaguar historic racing team. SVRA Driver of the Year in 2000.
TOM McINTYRE: SCCA big-bore competitor, both road racing and solo; SCCA Solo Champion in ’81. IMSA and Le Mans crewman for numerous top teams, ’77-’82. Regular Historic TransAm competitor, ’93-’10. Record holder at Bonneville and Muroc Dry Lake. Founding member and Director of Checkered Flag 200 Group of Petersen Automotive Museum.
MICHAEL ZIMICKI: Started in Skip Barber Formula Ford Series in ’80, and was Series Champion in ’81. Skip Barber instructor ’81-’91 while also running FF in SCCA National races, with multiple wins. Formed Sliderule Motorsports, Inc., driver coaching business in ’91, coaching internationally-known drivers in IndyCar and other series.
And, here are the new Honorary members:
ROBERT CLARKE: From ’81 managed various aspects of American Honda, including Parts, Motorcycle, Facilities & R&D Divisions. Established in ’93 and directed for almost 20 years Honda Performance Development, including its IndyCar and Acura sports car programs. His Acura program resulted in 123 wins, six manufacturer championships, two series titles and eight driver championships. Now focusing on the Earth Prix program.
LEIGH DIFFEY: Long-time motorsports commentator for BBC, Speed, Fox, ESPN, Sky Sports, Network Ten Australia and HD Net, covering F1, IndyCar, LeMans, GRAND-AM, ALMS, NASCAR AND WRC. Major on-air supporter of RRDC and Safe is Fast program.
PRESTON MILLER: Retired Ford Racing engineering liaison to NASCAR. An N.C. State engineering graduate launched the Miller+Norburn BMW tuning business with multiple wins and Nick Craw’s RS Series championships. Also crew chief for Don Knowles in early ’80s, including Nelson Ledges 24-Hour win and for Jim Miller (Miller-Pratt).
PAUL PFANNER: Formula Ford racer, artist, publisher and advertising/marketing professional. Started Formula magazine, published SportsCar for the SCCA, then started RACER magazine. Later president of Haymarket Publishing, then OnCars, Inc. Long list of well-known motorsports clients, including Toyota, Penske and Goodyear. Major supporter of young racers, including Team USA scholarships. Repurchased RACER from Haymarket in 2012.
BOB RILEY: Mechanical and aeronautical engineer with decades of race-car development. Worked on Chrysler’s Space Division Saturn rocket program, then Ford and Kar Kraft, including the LeMans-winning Ford GT MK IV. Designed A.J. Foyt’s Coyote Indy cars for A.J. Foyt. Consultant for many years to top NASCAR teams. Worked on the design and development of both Daytona Prototype and GRAND-AM cars and safety rescue vehicles for CART.

JACK ROUSH: A drag racer in his youth, founded a motorsports empire based on engine development, including Roush-Fenway Racing (NASCAR), Roush Industries (engineering), and Roush Performance (aftermarket products). Partnered with Zakspeed in early ’80s to develop road-racing cars for Ford. His teams and engines have won 24 national/series championships in SCCA and IMSA, 12 manufacturers titles, and 119 races, including 10 consecutive class wins in the Daytona 24-Hour. His NASCAR teams have won two Cup titles, three Nationwide Series titles and one Truck championship.