A1GP -- THE NEW SEASON STARTS HERE The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport kicks off its second season today with its official team test session at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. A1Team Malaysia, winners of the 2005/06 season's last race...
A1GP -- THE NEW SEASON STARTS HERE
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport kicks off its second season today with its official team test session at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. A1Team Malaysia, winners of the 2005/06 season's last race in Shanghai set the fastest lap time of the day but this time with Fairuz Fauzy behind the wheel. Current champions A1 Team France took the second spot on the time sheet with Nicolas Lapierre in the car.
Once again, the Series will pit country against country on a level playing field with A1 Teams flying their flags in races for national pride. While teams that took part in the inaugural season return for the second Series, there will also be new names on the entry list. First to raise its flag will be A1 Team Turkey. At a time when its country is the centre of international motorsport, with the support of the national government, new seat holder Lodos Racing Inc has committed to forming a national team for the first race at Zandvoort.
With over 100,000 tickets sold to date, A1GP Zandvoort is set to be the biggest event of the Series so far when the Dutch fans will be rewarded for their enthusiastic support of their hero Jos Verstappen with a home race. To guarantee the fans maximum excitement, a new system is being used to determine the grid for the Feature race. This will no longer be solely on the results of the Sprint race, but a combination of Qualifying results, Sprint race finishes and fastest lap times.
A1GP Deputy Chairman Tony Teixeira commented on the outlook for the coming season: 'From what has happened to date with the teams testing the various drivers in their shoot outs I can see that everyone is taking it as seriously, if not more seriously, than last year. The team owners are bringing drivers who will do the best jobs for their nations, after all it is the World Cup of Motorsport and we obviously are serious and are out to prove that. Last year we had fantastic racing, exciting racing and affordable racing.'
The mixture of age and experience competing with up and coming names continues. At Silverstone double Indianapolis 500 winner, Al Unser Jr, is driving the A1 Team USA 'We the People' car while A1 Team Germany will showcase the talents of one of its country's star youngsters, Nico Hulkenberg. The winner of the 2005 Formula BMW ADAC championship, which is recognised as the first rung on the single seater ladder for young drivers, will have his first outing in an A1GP car.
It was when driving for A1 Team USA Seat Holder, Rick Weidinger, in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 that Al Unser Jr first became interested in A1GP. Rick explained: "As we spent the time together in May I obviously talked a lot about A1GP. Finally after the 500 Al said, Rick I want to do this A1 thing and I said, Al you are in. It was as easy as that. He agrees with me, and we think this motorsport product is the best product out there. He loves the nationality of it; he is very proud about participating in it himself and is going to be very engaged with A1 Team USA this year."
As A1GP looks forward to its second season, planning is already underway to develop the Series. For the 2008/09 season the A1GP management is investigating the possibility of increasing the engine output towards the 700bhp mark, a move that is totally supported by At Team Brazil seat holder, Emerson Fittipaldi. Discussions with engineers, suppliers and race technical staff to determine possible configurations for a new vehicle have been initiated to determine what options may be available given A1GP's racing parameters. More news will be forthcoming in this area as they develop.
On the broadcast front, A1GP has successfully renewed the vast majority of their broadcast agreements from season one. In addition, new broadcasters in a number of major territories including the USA and Canada are in the final stages of negotiation. Fox Sports Channels has been confirmed as a new carrier for this season distributing A1GP's races live throughout central and Latin America.
A1 Team Mexico suffered engine installation problems but will be running tomorrow.