Zandvoort: Team New Zealand preview

BLACK BEAUTY READY FOR ACTION IN A1GP SEASON FOUR Engine revs are building in preparation for the season opening round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, which gets underway at Zandvoort, The Netherlands this weekend. Teams will...

BLACK BEAUTY READY FOR ACTION IN A1GP SEASON FOUR

Engine revs are building in preparation for the season opening round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, which gets underway at Zandvoort, The Netherlands this weekend.

Teams will compete for the pride of their nation for Season Four of A1GP racing, taking in 10 different race events around the world. After finishing in second place for the past two seasons, A1 Team New Zealand has its sights set on moving to the top place of the podium this season.

At just 18 years, Wanganui driver Earl Bamber will carry the hopes of the New Zealand fans for the first race event of the series. This is the first race start for Bamber for A1 Team New Zealand, although he has completed a number of successful tests for the team previously.

Added to the excitement of the start of the A1GP season is the introduction of the brand new 'Powered by Ferrari' A1GP race car. This 600hp monster is noted as a considerable step forward in performance terms from the previous A1GP racer. Improvements compared with the previous race car include increased engine power, more stable chassis design and state of the art 'carbon ceramic' brakes.

With Ferrari's Formula One experience, the technology in the new car is impressive. Even the steering wheel of the car resembles a spaceship, with a multitude of dials and buttons to fine tune the car.

Team New Zealand's A1GP racer is well known to fans by its nick-name Black Beauty. For Season Four, the team welcomes back a supportive group of commercial partners. Lead by the Giltrap Group and Fisher and Paykel, a number of New Zealand businesses provide the chance for New Zealand to make its mark, in a global sense, in the competitive world of Motorsport.

In preparation for the first A1GP race event of the season, Bamber has based himself in the United Kingdom since his test run in 'Black Beauty' last week. Bamber has been in the gym twice daily most days in the lead-up to Zandvoort, ensuring he is in peak condition for the race start in Holland this weekend.

Helping Bamber balance the seriousness of the race weekend are some more relaxed activities he'll take part in as part of the build-up to the weekend. A cycle tour of Amsterdam will give him the chance to take in the rich history of Holland, before finishing at the Heineken Museum for a well earned water - served on the rocks of course.

With a new race car come new challenges not only for the driver but also for the team's dedicated race crew. A critical element of A1GP racing are the compulsory pit-stops required of each team during all races. To prepare for new components such as a different wheel nut system, the team has put in countless hours practicing their pit-stops to stay ahead of the opposition on race day.

Continuing the theme of exciting new launches for A1GP and A1 Team.NZL is the launch of a new website. Throughout the season be sure to make www.A1NZL.com your home page, to keep up to date with the latest news about the team. The site will be live before the weekend.

Action gets underway on track this Saturday with practice and qualifying. The team lines up for two races on Sunday; a 24 minute Sprint Race in the morning, and a longer Feature Race to really test the drivers' endurance in the afternoon.

-credit: new zealand

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Series A1GP
Drivers Earl Bamber