A1: Switzerland Wins in Malaysia

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

It was a hot and humid race, but that didn’t stop Switzerland’s Neel Jani from running a good race and finishing first at the sprint race held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this weekend. The win marks the fifth different team to win a race so far this season. It seems that despite the hot weather, it all came down to cool, calculated decisions.

A1 Team Switzerland can be very proud of themselves as it was quite an interesting race. Things got a little complicated right at the start of the race. The various cars were traveling in formation towards the starting grid, steadily picking up pace. But then Marco Andretti (USA) and Felipe Guimarães (Brazil) both managed to end up climbing over the back of Narain Karhtikeyan’s (India) car, which resulted in debris being scattered across the pit straight. The unfortunate incident brought out the red flag and suddenly cars that had been speeding up comfortably had to slow down, with the result that the cars at the back of the field ended up being somewhat concertinaed as they tried to cope with the backlash of the accidents without being involved in further accidents. John Martin (Australia) only narrowly escaped an accident by shooting left onto the grass at the last moment. The incident led to a 30-minute delay in the race and by the time the remaining contenders were all lined up for a restart behind the Safety Car, Danny Watts (GB) found himself being forced to head to the pits with a car that simply couldn’t’ be changed out of first gear.

Finally it seemed the race could continue. A1 Team Switzerland held the lead, but David Garza (Mexico) lost out on seventh place to Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands). As South Africa tried to make a grab for eighth place from Mexico who’d now lost seventh, the two were both overtaken by Fairuz Fauzy (Malaysia) who swooped inside to take the much coveted position. Unfortunately it didn’t last long as South Africa accidentally touched wheels with Malaysia as it attempted to once again get into eighth position. The result was a puncture for Fauzy which sent Malaysia to the pits. The day ended with Neel Jani (Switzerland) in first place, Loïc Duval (France) in second and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) in third.

Malaysia Gets Kick Start in A1 GP Season Opening

October 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

A1 Team Malaysia got off to a flying start at this year’s A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport season, with driver Fairuz Fauzy putting in a swimmingly good performance and taking home the victory in the Sprint race on the Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands on October 6. Fauzy also finished second in the feature race, making his overall performance a really good one despite torrential rainfall during the course of the race.

Actually, it seemed as if Fauzy was good to claim a neat double until a slow pit stop in the eighth lap of the Feature race, which set him back a bit, making it impossible for him to recover completely. In the Sprint race Fairuz Fauzy started fourth on the grid and managed to move up one place after Irishman Adam Carroll spun out near the start of the race. He quickly lost his lucky climb to third place when Swede Neel Jani charged through and overtook him after a few laps. For a while it seemed that Fairuz Fauzy would continue to be excluded from the top three, but after some fierce driving he managed to reclaim third place on the fifth lap. Not much later he also managed to sweep past Jeroen Bleenkemolen (Netherlands) and move into second place. In the last four laps of the race, Fairuz Fauzy made his final move past Earl Bamber of New Zealand, taking the lead and keeping it until he eventually crossed the finish line in a wet and nail-biting finish. He was followed by Bamber in second place and Loic Duval of France in third place.

Despite the fact that Fairuz Fauzy was unable to win both races, his brilliant performance in the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport races on Sunday has ensured that Malaysia now shares the series lead with France. Both teams now have 22 points. That is pretty impressive when you consider that Fauzy’s win was Malaysia’s first victory in 27 races. The rest of the season will no doubt prove to be very intriguing as the two countries battle-it-out for series leader. Fans can look forward to plenty more great racing action before the season is over.

Auto Racing Events

April 2, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

A1 Grand Prix

A1 Grand Prix is a new international motor racing series that conducted its first full season in 2005. Although open-wheel cars somewhat similar to those used in Formula One and Indy car racing are used, there are significant differences between A1 racing and other types of auto racing. The main difference is that drivers compete for their nation instead of for a private team or constructor. Each competing nation uses identical cars, with the hope that this will provide a level playing field for drivers to compete in. The main points of A1 racing are that driver skill should be the determining factor for success, and that one of the participating nations will be awarded the championship at the end of each racing season.

A1 racecars are identical mechanically, each comprising a Lola-designed chassis weighing 600kg and shod with Cooper 370/660R13 racing slicks. The engine, built by Zytek, is a 3.4 litre V8 engine with performance limitations that can be circumvented by the driver by pushing a “boost button” on the steering wheel. Although 30 franchises were made available before the first season of A1 racing in 2005-06, 25 nations ended up taking part. Each team has 2 drivers and teams are free to change their drivers from race to race. The top 10 placed teams in each race are awarded points, on a decreasing scale, with the winning team receiving 10 points, second place 9 points, and so on down to tenth place which receives a single point. In addition, one extra point is awarded to the team that sets the fastest lap of race day. These points are awarded to the nation, not the driver. Prize money awarded ranges from $10,000 to $300,000.

The very first A1 Grand Prix race was the A1 Grand Prix of Nations Great Britain, which took place on September 25, 2005 at the historic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. The A1 format calls for “race weekends” comprising two individual races to be held in a total of 12 rounds, making up 24 races in total. The first A1 Grand Prix world championship was awarded to A1 Team France.

In the inaugural 2005-06 racing season, A1 Grand Prix races took place at racetracks including the Dubai Autodrome in the United Arab Emirates, the Shanghai International Circuit in China, EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany and Laguna Seca raceway in the USA.

Formula One Grand Prix

Formula One auto racing is one of the longest running series of auto racing. What is considered to be the World Drivers Championship and World Constructors Championship was organized in the late 1940s with the first formal F1 race being run in 1950. Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio was the dominant drivers in F1’s first decade, winning the championship 5 times. The decade of the 1960s belonged to British and Commonwealth drivers. Team Lotus featured legendary drivers such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham and Graham Hill. As F1 cars continued to improve technologically, safety issues began to become a source of concern. Various restrictions were put on features of the cars’ design, for example the banning of turbocharged engines in 1989 and of various traction and suspension aids in 1994. Formula One racing is known to be the most expensive form of auto racing. This is due to the requirement that each team construct the chassis for its cars. Only then can engines made by manufactures such as BMW, Honda or Ford Cosworth be added to complete the cars. Another major expense is the deposit new F1 teams must place with FIA, the sport’s organizing body. This $50 million fee is gradually repaid over the course of the racing season, but as an “entry fee” it’s some chunk of change! These days, Formula One events are run in countries around the world. Even China and Bahrain have hosted recent races. Drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Kimi R�ikk�nen and Juan Pablo Montoya vie to become the next legendary Formula One champion, succeeding the modern era’s most successful driver, Germany’s Michael Schumacher.

The 2006 Formula One season contains 18 races beginning with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 12 and ending with the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 22.

The 2007 Formula One season is scheduled to contain 21 races beginning with the Australian Grand Prix in March and winding up with the Brazilian Grand Prix in October. Some of the notable “non-country” races on the schedule include the European Grand Prix and the Pacific Grand Prix. Grand Prix races will also be held in San Marino and Monaco.

Rally

Rally racing is an immensely popular form of automobile racing that takes place on public roads, off-road trails and in some cases uncharted desert wastes. Rallying is done with customized production cars specifically modified to handle anything and everything that could happen on any sort of surface.

This exceptional motorsport is very different than the NASCAR or Formula One-style circuit racing many people are familiar with. The participants in a rally race compete in a point-to-point format where drivers and their co-drivers (or navigators) “rally” to a set of points, leaving in regular intervals from set starting points. Rally is also unique in that races take place on all types of road surfaces and in all weather or climate conditions. Asphalt (tarmac), gravel, sand, snow & ice; all surfaces are valid and sometimes rally racers encounter more than one on a single rally. You can find rallies being run in every month of the year and in every climate, from bitter arctic cold to drenching monsoon rain to scorching desert heat.

A typical rally course consists of a sequence of relatively short (up to about 50 kilometers) timed “special stages” where the actual competition takes place, and un-timed “transport stages” where the rally cars must be driven under their own power to the next competitive stage within a generous time limit. The need for the cars to be driven on public roads in the un-timed stages means that they must be “street legal”, and this factor adds to their popularity with rally fans. Generally a rally will have 20 drivers and 20 co-drivers competing. Rally racing is also a great entry-level sport for amateur racers, as few modifications need to be made to most production cars in order for them to compete in a car rally.

Dozens of Rally Racing events take place around the world. Some of the more notable car rallies are the Monte Carlo Rally, the Acropolis Rally, the Paris Dakar Rally, the Carrera Panamericana and of course the World Rally Championship.

IndyCar

IndyCar is most often used as a generic term for open-wheel auto racing in the United States National Championship, and comes from the name of the Indianapolis 500, the best known and long most-popular open-wheel auto race in North America. There are many drivers competing in a single race and can be up to 50. Points awarded range form 50 points to the winner and scales down to 10 points to the one in 33rd place. Prize money ranges from about $3 000 to about $300 000.