AUSTRIA, ITALY AND JAPAN JOIN A1 GRAND PRIX TO COMPLETE THE SEASON'S LINE-UP
London, 19 September - Three more teams, all representing countries with a proud heritage in motorsport, have joined A1 Grand Prix completing the grid for the first A1 Grand Prix of Nations to be held at Brands Hatch, Great Britain this weekend.
Testing today at Silverstone, the three teams have been busy setting up their cars and preparing drivers for the World Cup of Motorsport's inaugural race weekend beginning with the Series' first official practice session on Friday afternoon.
The Austrian car will be run by two legendary Formula One World Champions - Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. Arch rivals on track in the 1980s, the two men are now working together leading A1 Team Austria's A1 car to be driven by Mathias Lauda - son of triple world champion Niki.
Leading the Italian team is Piercarlo Ghinzani who, after a successful career as a professional driver from 1970-1990, founded his own race team in 1992. Matteo Bobbi, Gianmaria Bruni, Daniel La Rosa and Enrico Toccacelo are all in the running for the prestigious driver's seat but the entry for the Brands Hatch race will not be announced until the official driver sign-on this Thursday.
A business conglomeration will run A1 Team Japan's car which today was shaken down by ex-F1 star Hideki Noda but will be driven by Ryo Fukuda at Brands Hatch. The team will be run by Carlin Motorsport, a team with a string of racing titles to their name, most recently the British Formula 3 championship title.
These three teams complete the A1GP grid meaning that 25 cars, all representing a different country, will take to the Brands Hatch track on Sunday. Like all other teams, the deals run for the first three seasons - guaranteeing years of thrilling on-track action for fans all over the world.
A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum, congratulated the teams on winning the remaining three franchises: 'I am pleased to welcome three countries with such a strong motorsport pedigree to the A1 Grand Prix family. We now have 25 countries battling for the honour of being the best in the world, in a competition that starts in only a few short days.'
'When our 25 A1 engines start for the first time this weekend, A1 Grand Prix enters a new dimension. After beginning as the vision of one man, and after three years of planning and hard work, I am proud to bring the World Cup of Motorsport to millions of viewers around the globe' he continued.
A1 Grand Prix CEO, Tony Teixeira who brokered the deals with the A1GP teams, commented: 'We promised to deliver 25 teams by the start of the first season, and we've done it. We have offered seat holders, commercial partners, their sponsors and our broadcasters details on the sound business model on which we have based the A1GP series. This has made owning or supporting a franchise, and showing the races on television an attractive proposition. In fact, we have been so successful in generating interest in A1 Grand Prix, the national competition began before our cars have taken to the track. We've had to turn away applications from a number of countries to keep to our limit of 25 teams.'
A1 Grand Prix also revealed today that businessman Wade Cherwayko has taken over the franchise for A1 Team Canada with Sean McIntosh behind the wheel of the red and white car this weekend.
The addition of the three new teams means that 25 A1 race cars representing Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA will be seen on track for the first time.