Former F1 driver Ralph Firman says the A1 Grand Prix car is “surprisingly quick” – and another country has signed up ahead of the first race in September this year.

Former F1 driver Ralph Firman says the A1 Grand Prix car is “surprisingly quick” – and another country has signed up ahead of the first race in September this year.

The A1 series’ test programme took another step forward with the completion of a three-day test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. The latest test focused on the final stages of developing the engines, brakes, tyres, wheels and the exciting power boost system.

"We have now been able to define the tyre and wheel sizes and the braking package that will be on the final car, which is important to our production cycle," said John Wickham, A1 Grand Prix global operations manager.

A total of 1 500 kilometres was completed over the three days, and the arrival of rain on the second day was welcomed as it allowed organisers to assess the car in the wet on the Coopers rain tyres.

Firman, who drove the car, said: “The A1 car is going to be a very quick car and will surprise a lot of people who drive it. Due to its speed and exceptional cornering grip, it will be very physically demanding to drive - far more than you might imagine. It will be a real challenge for the drivers.”

Leading up to its first championship, the A1 Grand Prix race series recently initiated a contract with Lola Cars International for the production and purchase of 50 A1 Grand Prix cars. A1 already holds an agreement with Zytek Engineering to produce 58 engines for the series.

The original agreement with Lola for 30 cars was increased to 50 due to the demand by countries wishing to acquire national seats in the Championship.

Founder and president of A1 Grand Prix Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum said, "We created a concept, a sound business model and a dream. This has today turned into a reality and has surpassed all of my expectations. The business model is proving itself as we already have 13 countries signed up to participate in the first World Cup of Motorsport, and are negotiating with a further 19."

Lebanon is the latest country to sign up with the new series after its official A1 Grand Prix team was announced in December last year. The inaugural race, scheduled for September 25, will be held at the Brands Hatch circuit in the UK, Sheikh Maktoum announced recently.

Original article from Car