Hinchcliffe's View from the Pits James Hinchcliffe may not have been racing for A1 Team Canada in last weekend's third round of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Malaysia but the Toronto-native was no less busy at the Sepang ...
Hinchcliffe's View from the Pits
James Hinchcliffe may not have been racing for A1 Team Canada in last weekend's third round of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Malaysia but the Toronto-native was no less busy at the Sepang International Circuit. Invited to fulfill the role of pit-lane reporter on behalf of A1GP's world-feed broadcast crew, the 20-year-old happily accepted the challenge of switching from interviewee to interviewer for the weekend.
With race wins in Formula BMW USA, the Star Mazda Championship and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, not to mention 18 race starts for A1 team Canada in A1GP, Hinchcliffe's a veteran of countless television interviews and while he's already forged a reputation as a commentator on Eurosport covering the Champ Car World Series from the booth, his experiences reporting from the pits in Malaysia were another first for the versatile Canadian.
"I have to say it was really cool to get the opportunity," stated Hinchcliffe. "I'm grateful to A1GP for giving me the chance to help out. They knew I was going to be in Malaysia with A1 Team Canada but wouldn't be racing so they asked if I'd be interested in reporting from the pits and giving my insight when required on what it's like to race an A1GP car."
He continued; "Obviously it's a little different from what I do for the Champ Car commentaries when I'm in a booth and remote from the action but armed with things like timing screens. Last weekend it was a case of being live on the ground in pit-lane and trying to stay on top of what's happening on-track without the aid of monitors or people passing you pieces of information. It was certainly a bit different being there from that perspective and looking for the story but it was a lot of fun!"
One aspect of the weekend's work new to Hinchcliffe, despite his previous TV experience, was the opportunity to interview drivers he regularly competes against in A1GP. While initially a little strange for the Canadian, he felt having the racer's perspective gave him an added advantage in grilling his fellow racers for the cameras.
"I was probably able to get a bit more information out of the drivers when I interviewed them," James reflected. "In turn they were probably a little more candid with me and I think that's what the producers wanted as it makes for good TV. We obviously all know each other pretty well from competing against each other and hanging out together so the interviews were relaxed but informative. That said, it was tough for me not being in the car at the weekend but the TV gig kept me pretty busy and it certainly helped me expand my experience on that side of the business!"
While James worked the pits, A1 Team Canada fielded series rookie Robert Wickens at Sepang, the 18-year-old subsequently scoring the team's first podium and points in the Sprint race.
"We knew the first couple of events for Canada would be tough as the new team came together pretty late," said Hinchcliffe. "We did pretty well all things considered but we knew we'd benefit from the break between Brno and Sepang. The whole team, spearheaded by Simon Cayzer, did a lot of work on the car and we definitely showed up in Malaysia with a much stronger package. Robbie did a fantastic job all weekend, in particular with his qualifying effort for the Sprint race. He really deserved that podium and I'm happy we've now got points on the board and a platform to build on."
SPEED will air Round 3 from Malaysia on Thursday 6th December at Noon EST