A1 TEAM NEW ZEALAND ON TRACK FOR SEASON FOUR The spine tingling sound of New Zealand's A1GP race car firing up for Season Four of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is now just over one week away. While most New Zealanders were sleeping,...
A1 TEAM NEW ZEALAND ON TRACK FOR SEASON FOUR
The spine tingling sound of New Zealand's A1GP race car firing up for Season Four of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is now just over one week away.
While most New Zealanders were sleeping, Wanganui's Earl Bamber was at the wheel of Black Beauty at Snetterton in the UK Wednesday night New Zealand time. Bamber completed 68 laps for the team's final pre season test session, prior to the first round of A1GP racing action scheduled for the weekend 4-5 October.
Bamber's previous experience with New Zealand's A1GP team includes three 'Rookie' test sessions last season. This was his first chance as lead driver for the team. He put in a solid performance with tricky track conditions which were constantly changing between wet and dry. The team were impressed with Bamber's composure as he manhandled the 600 horsepower 'Powered by Ferrari' race car.
18-year-old Bamber set a best lap time around Snetterton of 57.6 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than the official A1GP test car also running on the same day.
Following the test, Bamber was very enthusiastic about his first drive of the 'Powered by Ferrari' A1GP car. In particular he noted the 'PowerBoost' button. This increases the power of the car for short bursts to provide more passing opportunities during races. "The 'PowerBoost' button will mean lots of overtaking. It's really impressive!"
Every race of the A1GP will feature at least one pit-stop, so part of the test saw the A1 Team New Zealand crew members practising their lightening quick wheel changes. The pitstop practice was something new for Bamber, as his racing career has not previously included races featuring compulsory pit-stops.
Team owner Colin Giltrap has a positive outlook going into the season. Just after the test was concluded, Giltrap said "I think A1GP will really start to fly in the next few weeks, the new car is a wonderful racecar".
There has been some speculation over the past week regarding the future of the A1GP series. News confirming the stability of the championship is expected early next week. However from A1 Team New Zealand team's point of view, it's business as usual as they focus on going one better than the second place result they have achieved in the past two seasons.
Chris van der Drift drove Black Beauty at the first test of the new 'Powered by Ferrari' A1GP car. However his commitments to the European Formula Master championship which he currently leads rule him out of contention for driving New Zealand's car at Zandvoort.
An announcement of who will drive for A1 Team New Zealand at Zandvoort, The Netherlands, for Round One of this season's 'World Cup of Motorsport' will follow in the next few days.
Earl Bamber, Driver
"We improved the car all day, and feel really positive at the end of the test"
"Pit-stops will be very crucial this season"
"Compared with the previous A1GP car I drove, the new package has much more torque and power!"
Colin Giltrap, Team Owner
"Earl was very at home in the car today. These new cars are a wonderful piece of machinery"
John Sears, Team Manager
"We had limited running on the track due to conditions changing wet, dry, wet, dry all day"
"Even with new tyres on Earl couldn't go flat out everywhere as the track still had damp patches in places. It would have been nice to have more dry track time"
"The next time we're on track is Saturday at Zandvoort. There's no Rookie session at the first round"
-credit: new zealand