A1 TEAM GREAT BRITAIN TO BE RUN BY ARDEN MOTORSPORT FOUR DRIVERS TO COMPETE IN SHOOT OUT FOR THE SEAT London, 14th April. A1 Team Great Britain Chairman, John Surtees, has announced details of the team that will run for Great Britain in ...
A1 TEAM GREAT BRITAIN TO BE RUN BY ARDEN MOTORSPORT FOUR DRIVERS TO COMPETE IN SHOOT OUT FOR THE SEAT
London, 14th April. A1 Team Great Britain Chairman, John Surtees, has announced details of the team that will run for Great Britain in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Championship, and the drivers who will take part in a shoot out for the prestigious drive in the first World Cup of Motorsport.
The Arden International Motorsport team, owned by Christian Horner, and based in Banbury, Oxon, will run the Lola chassis car in the A1 Grand Prix championship. They will also carry out driver evaluation, in conjunction with John Surtees, at Brands Hatch on the 23rd and 24th May when four of Great Britain's top international drivers, Adam Carroll, Ralph Firman, Robbie Kerr and Alex Lloyd, will compete for the chance to represent their country against nations from the four corners of the world.
Explaining the importance of A1 Grand Prix, John said: "The British motorsport industry is worth over £4 billion to this country. It largely sprung from that first success inspired by Tony Vandervell. A1 is an example of British engineering and technology being at the forefront, with Sheikh Maktoum having placed his faith in the purchase of 50 Lola A1 cars and an equivalent number of engines plus spares from Zytek. Apart from the championship promoting British products, the important message is that there are opportunities for British business to get behind the British team in what will become the World Cup of Motorsport. One only has to see the political involvement and the business persons who have backed the teams that have been launched in South Africa, Mexico, Australia, China, Pakistan and Lebanon, to realise that this championship revolves around big business and big opportunities. To those that have talked about it being a rival or replacement to Formula One I say, no. Formula One has its own special part to play in the world of motorsport. A1 is different and if anything complements Formula One and of course happens at a different time of year."
A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum commented: "I'm happy and delighted that the British team is gearing up to take on the challenge of A1 Grand Prix. Both John Surtees and Christian Horner have a history of successes in motorsport and I wish them both the best of luck in the championship."
Six months ago, in London, A1 Team Great Britain was the first A1 Grand Prix team to hold its official launch. Since then John and his team, together with the other members of the consortium backing the project, have been working hard to put together a group that they feel will be both successful and a credit to the UK. As the only man ever to have won world championships on both two and four wheels, John knows what it takes to win in motorsport. After a successful career on bikes, that saw him clinch seven world championships, he not only raced cars, but also built them. Team Surtees produced Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 cars that were to race and win titles round the world. Arden International Motorsport founded in 1997 by racing driver Christian Horner, has won the Drivers' title twice and Teams' title three times in the FIA Formula 3000 Championship, and is running two cars in the new GP2 series. The four drivers represent the best of British motorsport.
Former Grand Prix driver, Ralph Firman, was also the first A1 Grand Prix test driver. In his racing career he has won the British Formula 3 Championship, the Formula Nippon Championship and the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. Another winner of this prestigious Autosport award is Alex Lloyd who, at the age of 20, has already tested a Formula One car and raced in the European Formula 3000 and Formula Renault Championships.
Robbie Kerr, who has also been on testing duty for A1 Grand Prix, won the British Formula 3 Championship in 2002, having won the Scholarship class the year before. Adam Carroll has a string of championship titles to his name. He also won the British F3 Championship scholarship class and, in 2004, was runner up in the overall championship in what turned out to be an extremely competitive series.
The announcement was made at a Motorsport Industry Association dinner in Oxfordshire, where the A1 Team China car was on display alongside the Lola Mk 4, the first Formula 1 car built by that company on the inspiration of John in 1962. The car gained 4th place in the Formula One World Championship in that year in front of such illustrious names as Ferrari and Porsche. The China car, in its country's livery, was flown directly from Beijing following the official launch of the Chinese team earlier this month. Background on A1 Grand Prix One year ago, in his home land of Dubai, the A1 Grand Prix championship Founder, President and Chairman, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum launched the unique concept of a World Cup of Motorsport where the two worlds of business and motorsport would meet.
The championship will create a level playing field for teams with identical cars that owe much to UK motorsport technology. The chassis is produced by Huntingdon's Lola International and the engine by Zytek Engineering, who are based in Repton, Derbyshire. The cars will all run on the same tyres from the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, based in the USA, but whose racing operation is run by Avon Tyres Racing out of the company's UK premises in Melksham, Wiltshire. The first race of the A1 Grand Prix championship will be at Brands Hatch on the 25th September and this, along with all the rounds, will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports.
The full calendar is yet to be released, but A1 Grand Prix has already announced China and Australia will host rounds of the championship that is to be run over the northern hemisphere's winter months -- motor racing's traditional off season. Sixteen nations -- Great Britain, China, South Africa, Pakistan, Portugal, Lebanon, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey, Netherlands, India, Brazil and New Zealand -- have already signed up. Many more are in the pipeline and each race will see the national pride of at least eighty per cent of the world's population represented on the grid.