The original A1 Grand Prix series was quite short-lived, 2005 until 2009, but at the same time generated huge interest from many new fans outside motorsport. It was a ‘controlled’ one-make single seater series where drivers represented their country. It became known as the ‘World Cup’ of motorsport. The concept was different and well received.
New Zealand twice finished second overall (2006/07 and 2007/08) and was well represented with drivers’ Jonny Reid, Matt Halliday, Earl Bamber and Chris van der Drift taking their turn in ‘Black Beauty’. Taupo Motorsport Park hosted a round in three of the four seasons (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09).
In fact when you look at the list of drivers who participated over the four seasons there was quite a line up of talent.
Current, past and future IndyCar, Formula One and GT drivers included: Sébastien Buemi, Karun Chandhok, Robert Doornbos, Tomáš Enge, Ralph Firman, Christian Fittipaldi, Nico Hülkenberg, Narain Karthikeyan, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Franck Montagny, Sergio Pérez, Nelson Piquet, Jr., Scott Speed, Jos Verstappen, Alex Yoong, Marco Andretti, Ryan Briscoe, Bryan Herta, J. R. Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Bruno Junqueira, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Vitor Meira, Charlie Kimball, Alexandre Prémat, Nicolas Prost, Loic Duval, Neel Jani, Oliver Jarvis.
This week it has been reported that the second generation fleet of Ferrari-powered A1GP cars is set to race again in South Africa. AFRIX GP purchased 21 cars nearly four years ago and has the plans to launch an African series for the cars after securing new investment. It is hoped to hold two or three events between December and next March before the launch of what it is billing as the African Cup of Nations.