The TACH Report: Rolls Announces New Model, Gordon Wins IROC Opener, Toyota Drops Paseo

27 February 1998

The first all-new Rolls Royce since 1980 will be powered by a 322
h.p. V-12 BMW engine.  It will hit dealer showrooms in March and carry
a sticker of $216,400. The car will be named Silver Seraph and called
a 1999 model.  It replaces the $190,000 Silver Spur.

In the International Race of Champions season opener at Daytona Beach,
FL, Jeff Gordon took the lead two laps before rain soaked the course
and stopped the race.  Gordon was declared the winner. He had just
passed Mark Martin and barely edged out Jeff Burton.

Toyota Motor Sales has announced the company will drop the two seat
Paseo sportster once 1997 inventories are depleted. Only 2,780 Paseo
coupes were sold in 1997.

Despite El Niño making a shambles out of Southern California
real estate of late, several big time CART teams managed to squeeze in
some practice time at the California Speedway. Mark Blundell, winner
of last fall's Marlboro 500 logged 400 miles.  Other drivers testing
were Paul Tracy, rookie Alex Barron in a Gurney car, and Robby Gordon
of the Arciero Wells Equipe.  Also in CART news, '98 champ Alex
Zanardi will appear on Dave Letterman on March 16. Michel Jourdain,
Jr. will be on ABC-TV's Good Morning America right after the season
opener at Miami.

In FF2000, injured driver Thiago Bezerra remains in a coma as a result
of his January 24 crash at Homestead, but he is showing signs of
recovery at a hospital in Miami.

The newest driver on the Alumax CART team, Brazilian Helio
Castro-Neves, was 11th fastest of 30 drivers testing at Phoenix last
week.  The 22 year old newcomer drives a Reynard/Mercedes.

NASCAR ace, Geoff Bodine's long hunt for a major sponsor finally ended
when Philips Electronics signed.  The deal marks the multi-national
company's first foray into auto racing as a marketer.  Ernie Irvan
became a father for the second time last week: his wife Kim gave birth
to Jared Lawrence Irvan.

Here's a first: a Toyota Atlantic team will test the winner of Formula
A world Karting assn. Kart championship for a 1999 ride with team Kool

Still in stockcar land, Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino tested
Jerry Nadeu's Winston Cup Ford at Talledega recently and said it was
an awesome experience.

Carroll Shelby is still selling Cobras in Denton, Texas and has a 500
h.p. critter for sale for $95,000.

Auto racing sponsorship topped $1 billion last year, beating out golf,
pro sports Olympic teams and tennis.

Maserati is about to debut a new Mistral sports car and hopes to
build/sell 6000 next year.  And while Maser is handling that chore, Ford will be seriously contemplating bringing out a  2-seater sports car to 
compete with the SLK and Boxster, but it will be much larger.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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