Paddock postcard from the Nurburgring 29 Jun 2003
A new driving face in the Formula One paddock this weekend has been NASCAR Winston Cup racer Kurt Busch. The 22-year-old, who has been a regular race winner in the American series this season, is fanatical about single seaters in general and Formula One racing in particular, and is tipped by yardstick Jeff Gordon as being NASCAR's next big star.
Many familiar former drivers are here, of course: Jacques Laffite, Niki Lauda, Jonathan Palmer and Jochen Mass, who has recently been driving Mercedes-Benz's historic 1954 W196 streamlined Formula One car.
Faces of tomorrow in the hard-fought Formula BMW series, which has had two supporting races this weekend, included Sebastien Vettel and Maxi Gotz, and British/Irish stars Dominik Jackson, Robby Coleman and Michael Devaney (the latter two the sons of famous racers, rally star Billy Coleman and Formula Three hotshot Bernard Devaney).
The British drivers starred in Saturday's 10-lap event, with Jackson leading Coleman home as Devaney clawed his way from 13th qualifying slot to third overall. This morning, however, it was Gotz who headed Vettel to the finish with German rising star Robert Kath (who runs his team on the proverbial shoestring thanks to family help) third ahead of Jackson. Both Coleman and Devaney were running well until they became the victims of other people's accidents.
Saturday's Formula 3000 race also saw Italian rising star Vitantonio Liuzzi (pictured above), the former world karting champion, finish a close second to Enrico Toccacelo. Title chasers Bjorn Wirdheim, Ricardo Sperafico and Giorgio Pantano were all delayed in incidents as Nick Kiesa came through for third.