A1 TEAM MALAYSIA OFF TO SOUTH AFRICA A1 Team Malaysia is heading off to South Africa this week, preparing to take part in the fifth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Fairuz Fauzy and Aaron Lim are both keen to have their first taste of...
A1 TEAM MALAYSIA OFF TO SOUTH AFRICA
A1 Team Malaysia is heading off to South Africa this week, preparing to take part in the fifth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Fairuz Fauzy and Aaron Lim are both keen to have their first taste of this historic track which is new to the series calendar this season.
Fauzy says of the weekend ahead, "I am really looking forward to racing at altitude at the famous Kyalami Circuit in Gauteng. It is going to be an exciting weekend for all the teams. I love the configuration of the track and we understand that from all the research that we have done it has great flow and gradient changes, so I'm sure it'll be great to drive.
"We need strong results in South Africa. Although we left Taupo, New Zealand, with hard fought points, we didn't run as competitively as we needed to, particularly at the start of the weekend. We will have a new engine for Kyalami so we hope to be able to run reliably here and return to our early season form."
Lim has been training hard in Malaysia since the last round of the series and will be continuing his learning experiences with the team. The new engine will give him an additional workload with the necessary installation procedures taking precedent in the early part of the rookie session.
Lim says of Kyalami, "I'm learning all the time with A1 Team Malaysia, whether I'm in the car or on the pit wall with the engineers, so I'm always pleased to be jumping on a plane and visiting another country, especially when it is a circuit that I haven't driven before. This track has plenty of motor racing history attached to it, as the original circuit was built in 1961 and first hosted a Formula One Grand Prix in 1967 -- before I was born!
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, is hoping for more points this weekend, He explains, "We need to be finishing higher up the order and in the points consistently to improve on our overall points standings. We're halfway through the season and lying seventh, so there's time yet to move forward. If we can achieve a strong pace right from the start and keep developing the car in each session, we'll be on the right track for more success."
The Kyalami circuit measures 4,26 km and is laid out in an anti-clockwise direction. There are 11 turns, which include three of the corners of the original grand prix circuit, built in 1961 and rated internationally as one of the great circuits in the world. These are the fast right-hander called Sunset (turn 4), the tight left-hander known as Clubhouse (turn 5) and the fast downhill Esses (turn 6).
The current circuit layout was built in 1991, with only one minor addition since, the building of a chicane at the penultimate corner (turn 10). It also features the intimidating downhill section known as The Mineshaft that links turns 7 and 8. The lap ends with a slow left-hander (turn 11) that leads on to the short pit straight and across the start/finish line before diving into the fast turns 1 and 2. Kyalami remains one of the most recognised names in world motor sport.
The fastest recorded race lap on the current circuit is 1 min 34,776 sec, set in 1998 in a Sports Racing World Cup event. Appropriately, it was in the legendary Ferrari 333 SP driven by Italian Mauro Baldi and should be bettered by the Powered by Ferrari A1GP cars.
The fastest single seater race lap on the current circuit was set at the GP Masters event in 2005 by Nigel Mansell in a Reynard with a time of 1:36,390.
The track lies at high altitude, which will affect the engine performance, but will not take away from the spectacle of A1GP racing, as the identical cars and highly competitive nations always put on an exciting show for the spectators. The A1GP South Africa kicks off on Friday 20 February with the two races being held on 22 February.