It’s official. The new ‘Powered by Ferrari’ Black Beauty has come to life.
With season four of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport only three weeks away,A1 Team New Zealand has completed a very successful shakedown test of their brand new, Powered by Ferrari A1GP race car.
European based Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift became the first New Zealander to take the wheel of a top level Ferrari powered single seat race car since Chris Amon in the 1960’s. At the helm of Black Beauty, van der Drift completed more than 70 laps for A1 Team New Zealand at the Donington Park circuit this Thursday (UK time).
Wet conditions met the team when they arrived at the Donington track but by the end of the morning session the surface had dried completely and the team successfully performed installation laps on the engine and chassis components. The only holdup for the team was a throttle adjustment at the lunch break.
The afternoon session saw van der Drift start to push the new car’s performance thresholds and with a dry track and two new sets of tyres, he set the fourth quickest lap time for the day.
Team Malaysia topped the time sheets at the end of the test session.
The new ‘Powered by Ferrari’ A1GP race car is a significant step forward from the previous Lola built A1GP racer, with van der Drift already reporting the new car to be “very balanced, very stable and a big step forward for A1GP”.
Upgrades over the first generation A1GP car include carbon fibre brakes which allow much later braking before a corner, and a new Ferrari engine with increased engine power, up from 550bhp to 600bhp. A brand new Ferrari chassis completes the package that will wear the distinct, all black livery from now on.
Team Manager John Sears confirmed that the team have been practicing Pit Stops all summer at their base in the UK, to make sure they are in top form come the opening race of the 2008-09 A1GP season. Zandvoort in The Netherlands is set to again host the first race, over the weekend of 3-5 October 2008.
Overall the feeling in the team is very optimistic, after a promising start for Black Beauty ahead of what will be a very interesting season with all new Ferrari powered race cars.
Chris van der Drift“It was great to get behind the wheel of the new A1GP car and get some good clear laps in.”
“The whole package of the car is much improved from the previous A1GP car I drove, and I’d love to race for Team NZL.”
“First of all my focus now turns to my Formula Master program, where I hope to seal the championship at the next round at Imola in Italy.”
John Sears, Team Manager“We were very pleased with how we progressed today, and with the job Chris did for us.”
“For the first day of a multi-team test with a brand new car, there were far less problems than we have seen before.”
“We didn’t have too many setup options available today, but Chris still put in a reasonable time on a drying track. With two sets of new tyres for the afternoon run, we made good progress and now have a solid base for the next test.”
Chris van der Drift is supported by : Racing Pool, National Meats Ltd, BMW Ekris, Arai Helmet and Oakley.