BLACK BEAUTY BUMPS THROUGH PRACTICE AT CHENGDU A1 Team New Zealand's Black Beauty has completed a successful, if not bumpy day one in Chengdu, China at Round Two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Luckily the bumps were only those on...
BLACK BEAUTY BUMPS THROUGH PRACTICE AT CHENGDU
A1 Team New Zealand's Black Beauty has completed a successful, if not bumpy day one in Chengdu, China at Round Two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
Luckily the bumps were only those on the track itself, as Chris van der Drift kept Black Beauty on the track despite the track surface rating as one of the bumpiest circuits he has ever driven on.
Van der Drift recently won the International Formula Master championship this year, and has considerable experience in high power single seat race cars. However his relative lack of A1GP experience allows him to take part in the two 'Rookie' practice sessions on Friday morning. Numerous red flags stopped the sessions as drivers took their time to find the limit on the challenging circuit.
A1 Team New Zealand initially gave van der Drift time in the car with no changes to the chassis in order for him to learn the circuit. For the second session improvements were made to the balance of the car, allowing van der Drift to place fifth at the end of the Rookie session.
Moving into the main practice session, the significant setup changes the team undertook prior to the session didn't allow the performance gain the team had hoped for. A further practice session takes place on Saturday morning prior to qualifying, so the team's dedicated engineers worked into the night to improve Black Beauty's setup.
This is the first time A1GP has visited the Chengdu circuit, so teams are rapidly building their data and knowledge about the circuit to optimise the brand new 'Powered by Ferrari' A1GP racer for the conditions.
Heading into Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions, the team is confident the package will be fine tuned for van der Drift to allow him to steer Black Beauty back to the pointy end of the field.
While A1 Team New Zealand was one of the better prepared teams at Round One of the A1GP at Zandvoort, the month long break has given those less prepared the chance to get up to speed. A full complement of A1GP teams will take to the track at Chengdu, except for Team Pakistan.
All eyes will be on van der Drift as the team work to vault further up the grid, as they ride the bumps of Chengdu in qualifying.
Chris van der Drift, Driver
"With all the bumps we were braking and locking wheels quite a bit"
"We have a good idea of what's required from the car and me for tomorrow after looking at the data from some other teams"
John Sears, Team Manager
"We continued to struggle to find the optimum compromise for the nature of the track and tried various changes to improve the car"
"The track was very dirty and extremely bumpy!"
"We know the potential is there to be back up at the sharp end"