Most of you are familiar with F1 Grand Prix, but might have yet to heard about the new A1 Grand Prix just yet. From the the official site at a1gp.com:
A1 Grand Prix is the first opportunity in any area of motorsport for nations to compete on a level playing field. It is a series where technology and innovation are deliberately equalised and performance is determined by human bravery, skill and excellence.
Paul, Kenneth, and I decided to go to Sepang Circuit for the A1 GP practice session on Friday to check out what’s the whole fuss about. Since it was free anyway, why not?
Team Brazil getting off the pit
Some details about the A1 GP cars, with more details here:
- Engine: 3.4 litre V8 with 4 overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder
- Power: 520 Horsepower with extra 30 Horsepower on boost
- Weight: 680 kg
- Chasis: Aluminium honeycomb surrounded by carbon fibre skin
Teams getting ready for the practice session
The A1 GP is distinctly different from F1. Where F1 have cars from different manufacturer with varying budget, A1 cars are identical, the only differring factor is the drivers. The honour of winning goes to the countries too, with 25 different teams from around the globe, including countries never associated with the more established F1 series, such as Lebanon, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
Was the Russian team still drinking vodka behind the closed garage?
The interesting bit about the race is the ability of each driver to use the limited extra 30 hourse power electronic boost at critical moments, such as when performing overtakings, or when going for that last sprint. However, some drivers claimed that the difference is not significant as it only raises the speed by some 2 km/h.
Team Japan zipping by
The practice was without much fanfair, the drivers did not push the car too hard. It got a bit boring after a while with the total lack of competitive action. Since the engines were producing tremendous amount of noise and we did not bring ear plugs, we left the venue before the session ended. However, I do think that the actual race would be a lot of fun to watch.
Good luck to the Malaysian team with Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy who are currently tied on 9th place out of the 25 teams, with 23 points after 4 rounds.