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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Holy Toyota, Batman!

Toyota has teamed up with Warner Brothers Pictures to hawk the new Batman film at the British Grand Prix.

The team will feature special bat-promotional liveries on both bat-TF108s, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will wear special bat-overalls, and the motor home will sport a bat-paint job at Silverstone.

Fans will also have a chance to view the Batmobile and Bat-Pod. The Batmobile will take to the track with the TF108 on Thursday evening, as well.

Atomic batteries to power!!!

Raikkonen to use his free engine change

Rather than take the risk of using the engine he coaxed home in the French Grand Prix, Ferrari will change his engine for Silverstone.

Raikkonen will be the first to take advantage of a new rule this year which allows for one free engine change without penalty.

“As far as Kimi's engine is concerned and keeping the rules in mind, to avoid a penalty, I think that we will use a new unit to try to reduce the risk," Stefano Domenicali said on FerrariWorld.com.

Toro Rosso safe for 2009

Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost said the squad has been reassured by owner Dietrich Mateschitz that its budget and workforce is safe for 2009.

Rumors have been circulating around the team since Mateschitz said earlier this year he would sell his 50 percent stake in the team by 2010.

“The rumours regarding the sale of the team, when they grew stronger again earlier this season, did have an effect on us, but only for a short time,” Tost told ScuderiaToroRosso.com. “If every week there is a story that the team will be sold it is not so funny for the employees. But the message we have from Dietrich Mateschitz is clear, that for 2009, everything will remain stable, not just in terms of employment but also in terms of the budget. Then, from 2010 we will see what happens.”

Dario Franchitti out of a job

Dario Franchitti’s rookie season in NASCAR has come to a premature end as a lack of sponsorship has forced team owner Chip Ganassi to shut down the Scot’s team.

It is the latest setback for the former IndyCar star who has struggled on the track this season. He ranks 41st in the driver standings, failing to qualify on some occasions and missing five other races due to a broken ankle.

Ganassi had been searching for a sponsor for Franchitti’s #40 car all season. Longtime sponsor Coors Light left the team after last season, and Ganassi released David Stremme for Franchitti in hopes the popular the Indy 500 winner would be more marketable.

Ganassi also fields Juan Pablo Montoya and Reed Sorenson in Sprint Cup. Montoya ranks 20th and Sorenson 32nd. The team owner reached a point where he felt his attempt to keep his third operation afloat would impact his other two cars.

“If I keep going I run the risk of dragging the other two teams down. I don't want to do that,” Ganassi told the Associated Press. “There's no money. It makes no sense to be running this out of my pocket. I had to put a stop to it.”

What Franchitti’s future holds is uncertain. His best finish this season was 22nd at Martinsville Speedway. He had delayed his NASCAR debut for a year, his ride going to Montoya after he made his decision to leave Formula One.

Ganassi’s Nationwide series team, one rung below Sprint Cup, would be a good option for the Scot to work on his NASCAR racecraft, but that seat is filled by the promising Bryan Clauson. Ganassi’s highly-successful IndyCar team’s seats are taken by the high-flying duo of Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon.

Franchitti won the Rolex 24 at Daytona as part of Ganassi’s sports car operation this year, but it is unclear there would be room there with current drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.

Franchitti, Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt are the only drivers to win the Indy 500, the IndyCar title, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Rolex 24. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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