A1 Grand Prix World Cup comes to Joburg

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Johannesburg - The ferocious whine of authoritative V8 Ferrari engines will fill the air at the Kyalami racetrack when the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport comes to Joburg later this month.

The biggest motorsport showpiece in the world, the fierce on-track action will take place from 20 to 22 February and will be broadcast to millions of people around the globe, reports Joburg.org.

It is organised under the auspices of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport and the Gauteng provincial government.

"The event is expected to stimulate investment extensively and herald economic, social and tourism spin-offs for the Joburg metro and the entire province," said Simon Zwane, the spokesperson for Gauteng Premier Paul Mashatile.

Mr Mashatile said hosting an event of the stature of the A1GP signals the beginning of the development of motorsport as one of the sectors with massive potential to boost the province's economic growth.

The A1 is expected to serve as a catalyst for the creation of an assortment of jobs in the motorsport, logistical, security and infrastructure sectors.

"The event will prove that Gauteng is the place to be for competitive sport and can compare internationally with other areas," Mr Zwane said.

Gauteng's association with A1GP is aligned with its approach to supporting the automotive sector as one of the critical pillars of the provincial economy.

The aim is to promote Gauteng as an investment and tourism destination, Mr Zwane explains.

"This event will provide stimulus for the economy, and that's why we got involved."

On a purely entertainment level, the grand prix will give the many local petrol heads the chance to experience the pulsating throb of motorsport in the comfort of their own country.

Unlike the popular Formula 1, the A1GP requires more of a team effort and pits nations rather than teams against each other; ultimately there are three winners - the individual driver, the team and the nation.

Vehicles chosen for this season of the A1GP will feature V8 Ferrari engines on chassis based on the design of Ferrari's 2004 F1 car.

During the A1GP, 23 drivers from different countries will take to the tracks to compete on an equal footing of finance and technology, making the success of the race entirely dependent on the driver's valour and steering skills.

He has to combine his skill with that of the team to create a performance advantage - and win.

Vehicles used in the A1GP are typical single-seat-open-wheelers and are mechanically identical, pitted with a lot of technical restrictions that limit their performance, reduce their running costs and prevent the possibility of any team gaining an advantage through enhanced equipment.

The concept was instigated by Sheikh Maktoum from Dubai and was sanctioned and ratified by the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile in 2004.

Races are held in the traditional Formula One off-season.