Team Ireland aiming for strong Dutch debut Adam Carroll set to renew A1GP World of Motorsport campaign Dublin, 3rd Oct 2008; Ireland's quest to win the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will commence amidst the sand dunes of the...
Team Ireland aiming for strong Dutch debut
Adam Carroll set to renew A1GP World of Motorsport campaign
Dublin, 3rd Oct 2008; Ireland's quest to win the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will commence amidst the sand dunes of the famous Zandvoort track in Holland this weekend when Portadown's Adam Carroll will debut his stunning green A1GP 'Powered by Ferrari' car in the opening round of the prestigious world series. The advent of the new Ferrari-powered A1GP car marks the start of the fourth season of the World Cup of Motorsport, and Team Ireland is aiming to be among the front-runners all season.
After a strong performance in the 2007/08 series which saw Carroll give Ireland its maiden win in Mexico City and score three further podiums to give the team a 6th placed finish from 22 nations, the ambitious Irish squad is determined to mount a concerted assault on the coveted A1GP World Cup of Motorsport title.
Last year Team Ireland started its season in Zandvoort with 2007 Super GT Champion and former Jordan F1 driver Ralph Firman at the wheel, scoring 8th place in the Sprint Race and 6th place in the Feature Race to give Ireland an eight point haul. Adam Carroll then took over the drive for the balance of the season, and he is looking forward to his first A1GP event in Zandvoort. He has raced at the 4.63kms / 2.88 miles circuit before, notably finishing 3rd in the 2004 Masters Formula 3 event, the same year in which he finished 2nd in the British Formula 3 Championship. The Zandvoort track, with a demanding 12 corners including the famous Tarzan Hairpin, should suit Adam Carroll's style, the former Honda F1 test driver and 5-times GP2 race winner enjoying a reputation for both natural speed and high levels of race craft.
"I am looking forward to this weekend," said Carroll," and to racing the new car. It is much more stable and consistent to drive than the previous A1GP car and very impressive through the fast corners. The Ferrari engine provides strong performance, and overall the package is a big step up. We are all starting from the same point in terms of understanding this car, so I think Ireland will be one of the most competitive teams. We are certainly here to win."
This weekend's event marks not only the debut of the all-new A1GP car powered by a 600bhp Ferrari V8 engine, but also the start of the series' new technical partnership with Michelin. The combination of greater aerodynamic downforce and extra grip provided by the Michelin tyres will result in lap records being broken. It is estimated that the new car will be immediately two seconds per lap faster than its predecessor, rising to four or five seconds per lap as the teams develop its performance during the season.
New rules this season include the adoption of a mandatory pit stop in the Sprint Racing and a second mandatory pit stop in the Feature Race; rules which Team Ireland welcomes since it was among the fastest pit crews last season.
While Adam Carroll heads the team's driver line-up for the season, he will be supported by the team's Rookie and Reserve driver Niall Quinn, the 20 year from Meath who won last year's Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Young Driver of the Year award. With no rookie practice session planned for the opening race, Niall Quinn will have to wait until further testing takes place to try out the new car, but he is working full time with the team in the meantime and will be joining the engineering meetings this weekend.
Engineering for Team Ireland this season is being overseen by Gerry Hughes, recently appointed as Technical Director for Status Grand Prix - the team which operates the Irish franchise in A1GP. Previous responsible for engineering and research & development at the Super Aguri F1 team, Gerry brings vast experience to the team. During most of the last decade he has engineered exclusively in Formula One, including working with Eddie Irvine for three years at Jaguar Racing.
A1 Team Ireland's focus for the season will not only include performance on the track starting this weekend in Zandvoort, but also off track in terms of raising greater awareness for the A1GP series at home in Ireland where support for the team increased strongly in the wake of last season's good results.
"Coming into season four of the A1GP series we can really take stock of the situation and feel confident that Team Ireland can continue its push to become one of the most consistently competitive teams throughout the season," said Team Principal Mark Gallagher. "The new car is very sophisticated but inside Team Ireland our crew are mainly ex-Formula One, and indeed ex-Jordan Grand Prix, so learning about the new car and developing it is something we are looking forward to. With the last car some of the teams had a lot of experience running similar cars in other formulae, but this new A1GP 'Powered by Ferrari' car is something completely new.
"Team Ireland is aiming to be at the front this season, to win more races and to reflect the best of Ireland in A1GP; we are passionate about what we do, want our team to operate to the highest technical, operational and commercial standards, and will do everything we can to bring the World Cup of Motorsport home to Ireland. In Adam Carroll and Niall Quinn we have a very strong line up to build on the success of last season, and with the team fundamentally unchanged apart from Gerry Hughes' arrival as the technical boss we are looking forward to this weekend and the season ahead."