A1 Grand Prix New Zealand
The A1 Team New Zealand is the New Zealand team of the international racing series, A1 Grand Prix. Its car, named Black Beauty, it is painted a glossy black which is the traditional colour for New Zealand sporting teams, and has the silver-fern design prominently displayed.
The team was formed and owned by Colin Giltrap and manged by Bob McMurray who retired last year after nearly 30 years involvement with the McLaren Formula One racing team.
Jonny Reid and Matt Halliday are the two nominated drivers for the Team New Zealand.
The A1 Grand Prix was launched in 2004 by Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai, with the first season taking place in 2005/2006 after A1 Grand prix received the official FIA backing.
The A1 Grand Prix is pretty unique in many respects. Unlike most racing cups, the A1 Grand Prix is nation-based rather than team-based. Each team drives an identical car provided by the A1GP federation. This puts the emphasis on team efforts and driver skills, avoiding technical advantage between teams.
The cars are powered by a performance-limited Zytek 3.4 litre V8 engine, the Lola designed chassis is made out of 600kg monocoque and Cooper 370/660R13 slick tires keep the beasts on the track.
A ‘secret-weapon’ is the boost-function. The so-called ‘Boost-Button’ on the driving wheel allows the driver to increases the engine output, revs and horsepower for overtaking maneuvers. Identical for each car, the pre-programmed overtake button can only be used a limited number of times in a single race.
Each A1 Grand Prix season contains 12 rounds over 24 races. Each race lasts either 180 kilometers or 70 minutes. The first ever A1 Grand Prix race was won by Angelo Piquet for Team Brazil, while A1 Team France scooped the first cup in 2006, with Switzerland second and Great Britain third.
The second season is currently underway, with the final race on 29 April 2007 at Brands Hatch – don’t miss your chance to get your tickets for the A1 Grand Prix.