Zandvoort Disappointment at Silverstone Test
Great Britain A1GP World Cup of Motorsport was in action again yesterday in Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK with some teams taking the opportunity to get some extra track time ahead of the second round of the season A1GP Chengdu, China 7 9 November.
A1 Teams France, Brazil and Switzerland had no pre-season testing before arriving in Zandvoort for the season-opener earlier this month.
However, it was A1 Team Ireland who set the pace, with Adam Carroll putting the disappointment of spinning out of both Zandvoort races behind him, to clock a superb lap of 45.554-seconds right at the end of the day. The lap was more than two seconds quicker than the previous best A1GP lap on the National layout, set by Indias Narain Karthikeyan in testing one year ago.
Carroll said: To get a couple of hours of running this afternoon is great, because I havent really had much time in the car and I didnt get a whole lot of racing in at the weekend. It actually feels like its been a while since I was last in the cockpit. It only took me a few laps to get back into it though, but the car felt really good. Every time I drive the new car it just gets more and more impressive, with the speed and downforce both very good.
Reigning champion Switzerland was just a fraction behind, with Neel Jani setting a lap just 0.148 seconds slower than Ireland. However, Jani is confident that there is much more speed to be found in the car.
Jani said: We are still quite a way off getting 100 per cent out of the car. I remember in the very first season we tested on this layout and we were lapping at times of more than 50 seconds. Eventually we came down two seconds in two years, and it will be the same thing with the new car. Obviously I can push but testing is just about learning and then we can just see what happens with the lap time. We dont chase the best lap time, we just try to see what happens when we make different changes.
Although the lack of track time in Zandvoort didnt seem to matter to A1 Team France, with Loc Duval powering to victory in the Feature race, the team decided to make use of the optional test day to call upon the services of regular rookie Nicolas Prost, the son of four-time Formula 1 champion Alain.
Prosts best time was good enough for third quickest 0.756s behind Irelands best.
Prost said: The car is easy to drive but not easy to go really fast because you have to push very hard. Its great fun to drive because you can go in to the corner with a lot of speed. The traction is pretty good, the brakes amazing, there is a lot of downforce, so its really a fantastic car. Ive only driven this circuit in the first A1GP car, and it is quite a big difference.
Brazils Felipe Guimares was happy to get some running in the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car, with it being his first chance to run the new car in the dry after the wet of Zandvoort.
Guimares commented: The first impression of the car was amazing. I told my engineer how really nice it was to drive. Ive never driven anything as fast.
Clivio Piccione was back in the A1 Team Monaco entry with Jin-Woo Hwang out for Korea, the two new teams for this season. While the conditions were not ideal, with morning temperatures of nine degrees Celsius, this did not stop all the drivers beating the previous fastest A1GP time round the Silverstone National Circuit.
Testing will continue at Silverstone next Monday (27 October) before the cars head to China for round two, A1GP Chengdu, 7-9 November 2008.
Official Test Session (combined times)
A1 Team/ Driver / Morning session/ No. Laps/ Afternoon Session/ No. Laps1 Ireland Adam Carroll/ Niall Quinn - 0 45.554 472 Switzerland Neel Jani 46.747 77 45.702 533 France Nicolas Prost 47.526 53 46.310 704 Brazil Felipe Guimares 47.329 66 46.315 175 Monaco Clivio Piccione 47.134 49 46.941 486 Korea Jin-Woo Hwang 49.103 37 47.737 36