Canada Encouraged by Silverstone Test Form Silverstone, England (August 29, 2007) -- Toronto's Robert Wickens made his A1 Team Canada debut Wednesday as the second and final day of the first scheduled A1GP World Cup of Motorsport pre-season...
Canada Encouraged by Silverstone Test Form
Silverstone, England (August 29, 2007) -- Toronto's Robert Wickens made his A1 Team Canada debut Wednesday as the second and final day of the first scheduled A1GP World Cup of Motorsport pre-season test concluded at England's Silverstone Circuit. Having watched fellow countryman and series returnee James Hinchcliffe pilot the Canadian car yesterday, the first outing for the team under Status Grand Prix's management, Wickens strapped in for today's sessions going on to record a total of 83 laps around the 2.249-mile Silverstone International Circuit.
Stepping up from the more familiar surroundings of his 300bhp Champ Car Atlantic Championship racer into the 550bhp A1GP car, the 18-year-old proved himself to be a quick learner adapting with ease to the increase in horsepower while sampling the English track for the first time in his career. Paired on pit-lane alongside sister outfit, A1 Team Ireland, Robert's lap times were promising in comparison to Ralph Firman, the former F1 driver well versed in A1GP competition having raced for the Irish squad during the inaugural 2005-06 season. Wickens ended Wednesday's test with the 12th fastest lap time in the afternoon.
"It's been a productive first outing for the new-look Canadian team," commented A1 Team Canada Seat Holder Wade Cherwayko. "We've had a good couple of days and I'm definitely encouraged by what I've seen on-track and in the pits. There were some issues which affected both the Canadian and Irish cars but the engineering teams worked well together to overcome these challenges. James was solid as expected yesterday and Robert obviously did a great job stepping into the car today for the first time and I think we were a little unfortunate not to end the test with a top-ten placing."
Robert Wickens enjoyed his first taste of A1GP later stating, "Overall I think I did a good job today although I definitely left a little bit of time out there on the track. We worked hard this afternoon to improve the balance of the car and we accomplished quite a bit which was good. Unfortunately I was held up on my fastest lap so I'm a little disappointed not to end my first run with a top-ten lap time but I enjoyed driving the Canadian car for the first time."
James Hinchcliffe enjoyed a solid return to A1GP action in yesterday's first test day. The 20-year-old, also from Toronto and a fellow Champ Car Atlantic Championship competitor to Wickens, dialed himself back into the swing of things shaking down Canada's new chassis. He followed up his morning total of 21 laps with a further 22 tours in the afternoon, Hinchcliffe working on a variety of set-ups before handing over the car to Wickens for Wednesday's outing.
"It was good to get back into the A1GP car and blow the cobwebs out," James reflected. "We're effectively a new team this year so it was a good opportunity for all of us to work together for the first time and I think we achieved a lot over the two days. We had a few issues with the car but we worked them out to give Robbie a good car for today's test. It was good to have him here and he did a really good job. I think we'll be pretty competitive when we get to the first race next month."
All 22 competing nations were on-track over the two days at Silverstone with A1 Team Germany, the reigning A1GP World Champions, setting the fastest overall time with a 1m10.005s lap of the track. The teams will return for a second two-day pre-season test, Tuesday 18th -- Wednesday 19th September, also at Silverstone, before heading to The Netherlands and Circuit Park Zandvoort for the opening round of the 2007-08 A1GP season.