A1GP: Only 13 cars confirmed for season opener

By Andy Darley

CalendarThursday, October 2nd, 2008

 
 

Just 13 of the 23 A1GP teams are certain to take part in this weekend’s season-opening contests, with another five – including reigning champions Switzerland – still racing to make it to the start line.

Team GBR is one of five that will definitely not be taking part in Zandvoort, along with Canada, Germany, India and Mexico.

Delays in the completion of the motor sport World Cup’s new cars have left many teams with a struggle to get ready in time.

“We cannot blame any of the missing teams for a lack of effort. They all burnt the midnight oil and worked as hard as humanly possible to make the grid, but the car build delays just beat them,” said A1GP chief executive Pete da Silva.

The squads that will definitely be there are:

  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • USA

In addition Brazil, China, France, Portugal and Switzerland are all hoping to make the race, but are not sufficiently far advanced in their preparations to take part in the testing sessions at Snetterton today and tomorrow.

In better news for the troubled series, A1GP announced yesterday that the experienced and successful US team Andretti Green Racing has taken over the underperforming American entry.

Andretti Green runs four cars in the Indy Racing League and is known to be considering adding a fifth for next season. It also enters the American Le Mans Series.

Rumours linking the outfit with A1GP had been circulating for some time, with co-owner Michael Andretti said to see it as an opportunity for his two American IRL drivers, Danica Patrick and his son Marco, to gain much-needed experience driving on non-oval courses.

Michael Andretti said: “We are very proud to be representing the United States on the level and competitive playing field that is provided by A1GP. Andretti Green has been fortunate to enjoy a reasonable amount of success in just six short years of operation and we’re looking forward to joining the world stage of A1GP.”

He plans to announce his driver line-up for the season at Zandvoort. Marco Andretti and last year’s Team USA driver Jonathan Summerton will both be competing at Road Atlanta, in the Petit Le Mans and the Champ Car Atlantic Series, and therefore unavailable.

It is not yet known whether Patrick – one of the most marketable figures in world motor sport – or another American driver will fill the seat.

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