A1GP News Round Up

London, Great Britain.It may be the middle of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport off-season but A1GP teams and drivers are still keeping themselves busy and gaining more experience in other series ahead of Season Five, which kicks off this coming October in Australia.

A1 Team Malaysia is embarking on one of its most ambitious Outreach initiatives yet later this month, with an exciting project planned for team members and supporters. On top of that it has also taken Malaysian driver, Jazeman Jaafar to the A1GP simulator.

Outreach, the team's social responsibility programme, aims to assist communities in Malaysia which are less privileged than others, aiming to change lives for the better. The beneficiaries of the upcoming project will be the Terengganu Association of the Deaf, with A1 Team Malaysia members aiming to refurbish the charity's activity centre. It will be a major undertaking for the personnel, as it will entail plenty of rebuilding, painting and decorating to transform the current facilities into an appropriate environment for children to use and enjoy. This will take place in the outskirts of Kuala Terengganu from 24-26 July 2009. A1 Team Malaysia's Outreach initiative is linking with the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation for the project. This charitable foundation has similar values and goals to Outreach, aiming to improve the socio-economic status and well people of Terengganu and of Malaysians generally.

Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia said of this new project: "We are impressed with the work of the Terengganu Association of the Deaf and felt that this charitable organisation would be worthy recipients of a helping hand from some very practical, strong and determined members of our motor racing team. This is probably our most ambitious activity we've planned so far and is a major undertaking, as there is so much work needed to revitalise the activity centre, but we're always focused on winning, so we'll be making sure we take the chequered flag with this project."

All the details for the Terengganu Association of the Deaf Outreach project and how people can become involved are available at www.A1TeamMalaysia.com.my/Outreach.

The trip to the racing Modena-based simulator, run by All in Sports for A1GP, gave 16-year-old Formula BMW Europe driver Jaafar a unique view of the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car. He went there with the team's race engineer, Alan Mugglestone, and in two intensive sessions in the simulator drove the Silverstone and Algarve tracks. After the experience his comment was: "I adapted quickly to the car and worked well with Alan, gaining from his vast experience and really appreciating the detailed analysis which he shared with me. I definitely learned from this opportunity and would like to thank A1 Team Malaysia for giving me the chance to drive an A1GP car. Next time I hope it will be the real car!" As if that wasn't enough for the youngster, he was then given a tour of the Ferrari museum.

A1GP drivers are keeping busy, competing in numerous series across the globe, in an attempt to be race ready for the forthcoming season.

A1 Team USA rookie J.R. Hildebrand is continuing to lead the Firestone Indy Lights series after securing victory in the Corning 100 Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen International last weekend (4 July 2009).

A1 Team Brazil racer Felipe Guimaraes made his debut in the same series last weekend, in what was his first race on American soil. The 18-year-old made an impressive start, racing in the event for Bryan Herta Autosport and scoring a solid third place finish.

"It's my first Firestone Indy Lights race, my first race in this car and my first race here at Watkins so it was a very good result," said Guimaraes. "The Bryan Herta Autosport team gave me a good car and our morning practice set us up very well for the race. My car was good but not quite as strong at (Sebastian) Saavedra's, but I was able to overtake him (Saavedra) on the last lap when he made a small mistake. Like all drivers, I would have loved to be on a higher step on the podium but I'm very happy with my first race."

A1GP's world feed pit lane reporter James Hinchcliffe is currently sixth in the points standing with Brazilian rookie, Ana Beatriz eighth and American rookie Charlie Kimball tenth.

USA's Marco Andretti and the Netherlands' Robert Doornbos completed the ninth race of the 2009 IndyCar Series season, Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International (5 July 2009). Andretti came home in fifth to move up to seventh in the championship. Doornbos finished ninth and sits twelfth in the overall standings. The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues this weekend with the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto, 12 July, and will be Hinchliffe's home event.

A number of A1GP drivers took part in the 77th Le Mans 24 hour Race (13 -- 14 June 2009)

A1 Team France's Nicolas Prost and A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani were joined by Andrea Belicchi to compete for SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH. Driving an LMP1 Lola Aston Martin the team finished a commendable twelfth. After running in seventh until two hours before the end of the race, a gearbox problem meant a late pit stop for the crew to work hard to make the change and get the car back out for the finish.

Prost commented: "It was a great experience for me. I raced there in 2007 with a Saleen but it is definitely much better with an LMP1 car. We were running really well and it's a shame we had that gearbox problem less than two hours from the end as I think we could have fought for 5th. It was really fun to share the drive with Neel and I really hope to be back next year, and finish on the podium."

A1 Team India's Narain Karthikeyan and A1 Team Germany's Andre Lotterer were both scheduled to compete for German squad, Team Kolles in an LPM1 Audi R10 alongside Charles Zwolsman. The weekend started promisingly for Karthikeyan with consistently strong performances in practice and qualifying but things didn't go quite to plan. Karthikeyan was scheduled to do the opening double-stint of the race, starting on Saturday at 3 pm local time, but ten minutes before the start of the formation lap, after the warm up and sighting laps were done, disaster struck.

Karthikeyan climbed over the pit-wall to visit the rest-room, a task which all drivers undertake just before the start of every race, when he slipped and fell off the pit-wall dislocating his left shoulder. "The pit-wall was quite high due to safety reasons, and what can I say, I must be the unluckiest driver in the history of Le Mans! C'est la vie."

With the team now down to only two drivers the task was much tougher to complete the historic race but Lotterer andZwolsman fought hard to bring the car home in seventh. Lotterer has also taken part in an extreme summer training camp in Austria, including climbing and abseiling, to keep at the peak of physical fitness.

Australia's John Martin has been incredibly busy taking part in bothFormula Renault 3.5 and Superleague Formula.

Taking part in three Formula Renault 3.5 races with Martin Donnelly's Comtec Racing, Martin made his race debut in Monaco on 24 May 2009 finishing twelfth. He went on to contest races at the Hungaroring, Hungary (13-14 June) and Silverstone, UK (4-5 July) alongside other A1GP drivers.

The 24-year-old Australian has raced in Superleague Formula in the Alan Docking Racing engineered Glasgow Rangers FC entry at Magny Cours, France (27-28 June) and will be out next at Zolder, Belgium on 18-19 July.

A disastrous pitstop cost Martin dearly in the opening round of the Superleague Formula series. By virtue of the reverse grid format for Race Two, Martin had started his Rangers FC machine from the front row of the grid after being eliminated in a crash on the opening lap of Race One. However, the car fell off the front jack at the pitstop and while the Alan Docking Racing crew lifted the car back up 35-seconds was lost and Martin finished 16th.

A1 Team Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy is currently fifth in theFormula Renault 3.5 standings, and notched up a victory in Hungary (13 June) for Mofaz Fortec Motorsport.

New Zealand's Chris van der Drift is ninth in theFormula Renault 3.5 standings recording a top finish of third in Barcelona (19 April) while South Africa's Adrian Zaugg is eleventh in the championship with a best result of second on the streets of Monaco (24 May).

A1 Team China's Ho-Pin Tung finished 12th in the opening round of the Superleague Formula series competing for Atletico de Madrid.

A1 Team Netherlands star Jeroen Bleekemolen is also having continuing success in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. After winning three of the six races so far this season Bleekemolen heads the championship standings.

Three events into the new FIA Formula Two Championship,Former A1 Team Canada racer Robert Wickens is currently second in the championship after two convincing wins in Valencia during the season-opener. A1 Team Italy's Edoardo Piscopo is 10th in the standings while A1 Team India's Armaan Ebrahim sits 14th.

New Zealand's Earl Bamber has also competed the first two rounds of International Formula Master at Pau, France (16-17 May) and Valencia, Spain (30-31 May).

"I was very lucky to have the opportunity to complete the first two rounds with ADM motorsport," said Bamber. "It was good experience to race on the streets of Pau and good build up for the Surfers Paradise race in A1GP later this year. We had some bad luck in qualifying breaking the rear suspension but starting last came back to finish fifth."

The 2009/10 A1GP season kicks off on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia with the Nitro SuperGP, 22-25 October 2009.

-credit: a1gp