Third season kicks off in September

The first major open-wheel series to declare its next season schedule is A1GP, slated to kick off its third season in the fall. The eleven-round schedule maintains a number of holdover events from last year, with one new circuit and one ...

The first major open-wheel series to declare its next season schedule is A1GP, slated to kick off its third season in the fall. The eleven-round schedule maintains a number of holdover events from last year, with one new circuit and one to-be-determined round.

As in 2006, the season will open at Zandvoort on September 30th, where the locals will be cheering on their newly-announced driver pairing of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Arie Luyendyk Jr. in the flashy orange A1 Team Netherlands entry. From there the series is off to Brno, still the second round of the series.

A yet to-be-determined Asian date will follow on from the Czech Republic round. Last year, the 3rd round of the series was contested on a street track in Beijing, but the event was marred by an overly tight hairpin that forced the reconstruction of the circuit on race weekend.

China will still hold two rounds of the series, the Mickey-mouse street track being replaced by the Zhuhai International Circuit, which had previously been in negotiations to host the Champ Car World Series this year. The penultimate round will be held at the Shanghai Circuit, on for the third consecutive season but always a bit of a toss-up because of drain covers that have plagued both Formula 1 and Australian V8 Supercars events in the past.

Zhuhai will occur on December 16, the last race of 2007, before the calendar shifts into the new year. Shanghai's date is set for April 6. Continuing on with the Asian theme, Malaysia precedes Zhuhai in the calendar on November 25.

In the new year of 2008, the series returns down under for a pair of events - on the street circuit in Taupo, New Zealand before making a return engagement to Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney, Australia. Following on the series heads to Durban in South Africa, a nice enough race track but a dodgy area according to at least one Canadian A1 pilot currently participating in Champ Car Atlantic.

The series makes its only trip to North America with its second event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on March 16. The U.S. held a round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the first season but a combination of paltry weather and a microscopic fan turnout meant its time was nigh; sadly, A1 fans in this country will have to head south of the border to see the A1 cars in person.

Shanghai is next followed by the season finale in Brands Hatch, a favorite among both teams and drivers as it is on the calendar for a third consecutive year. Brands hosted the inaugural round of A1 in 2005 with both races won by Team Brasil and Nelson Piquet Jr., and the season finale last year.

With the series kicking off in about two months, teams will get busy confirming their nominated and reserve drivers, and was mentioned earlier A1 Team Netherlands was first to get the ball rolling.

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Series A1GP
Drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. , Arie Luyendyk Jr.