A1 TEAM USA announces drivers for Beijing race including new rookie Giebler to return, Hunter-Reay to practice Washington, DC -- On November 10, 2006, A1 TEAM USA returns to A1 GP--Worldcup of Motorsport action in Beijing, China for the ...
A1 TEAM USA announces drivers for Beijing race including new rookie
Giebler to return, Hunter-Reay to practice
Washington, DC -- On November 10, 2006, A1 TEAM USA returns to A1 GP--Worldcup of Motorsport action in Beijing, China for the third race--and the first street race--of the 2006-07 season.
Driver Phil Giebler will return for his third race this season. Giebler, who earned a second place finish for A1 TEAM USA in the season-opener in Zandvoort, The Netherlands, is cautiously optimistic about the race ahead.
"I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to race on a track that no one has ever raced on before," Giebler said. "Because it's a street race, none of the drivers have an advantage--none have ever driven it. It's going to be a game of who can figure out the track the fastest and which team can get their car set up the best for this track. Every practice session is going to mean a lot."
With so much emphasis on learning the track, A1 TEAM USA will be relying heavily on their new rookie driver. Friday will mark Ryan Hunter-Reay's first time at the wheel of A1 TEAM USA's "We the People" car as he participates in the morning's two 25-minute practice sessions.
Hunter-Reay, from Boca Raton, FL, brings with him a wealth of professional racing experience. The 25-year-old began racing karts at age 12 in Florida, and went on to make his mark in Champ Car racing. In 2003, Hunter-Reay became the first American Rookie in over 20 years to win a Champ Car Race (Surfers Paradise, Australia). In Champ Car, he also became the second youngest driver to ever win a street race, and the youngest American to ever win an oval race.
Team owner, Rick Weidinger, hand-picked Hunter-Reay for this race after meeting him earlier this year.
"Ryan and I have been visiting since the Laguna race last March when he came to Laguna to visit the team and wish us well. We are anxious to get him in the Team USA car to see how comfortable he is and what he thinks of the competition in the A1 GP Series. He is a very good and experienced professional driver."
Weidinger is also very conscious of the role that Hunter-Reay's feedback will play as the team prepares for Sunday's race.
"One of the features of street circuits is that they take a long time to rubber in," Weidinger commented. "Cars go out for the first time and basically sweep the track. Our first set of tires will be wasted. During this process the car will tend to slide and the handling is rough. It is critically important to have an experienced driver who can handle the situation. Of course, we are very comfortable with Ryan's ability and look forward to hear his feedback and see his approach. This is going to be a challenging track, so Ryan's feedback is going to be crucial."
The A1GP in Beijing begins Friday with rookie practice, followed by a one hour practice for the veterans. There is a one-hour practice Saturday prior to qualifying, comprised of four 15-minute sessions with the best two laps for each driver establishing the grid. Sunday's races are the 20-minute sprint in the morning and the 70-minute feature in the afternoon.