Durban to roar with V8 engines

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

The streets of Durban are set to once again reverberate to the magnificent sound of high-tech racing V8 engines, as South Africa hosts round seven of the third season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport from February 22 to 24.

Launched in March 2004, with the first season running from September 2005 to April 2006, the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is more than just another racing phenomenon - it is an entirely new concept that pits driver against driver and country against country. The A1GP brings together 22 nations to compete as equals.

With three days of on-track action, an A1GP event offers an opportunity for fans to interact with teams and drivers. It brings the thrill of motorsport to millions of fans around the world.

Competing nations include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Britain, Germany, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States.

The A1GP uniquely features identical cars with custom-made chassis and 3,4-litre V8 engines that produce 530 bhp. The six-speed sequential gearbox is activated by paddles mounted on the steering wheel. With the same bodywork, engine and tyres, and minimal driver aids, winning comes from the skill and commitment of both driver and team working together.

Each car is equipped with a PowerBoost system, operated by a button mounted on the steering wheel that allows the engine to produce an extra 30 bhp for a brief period. The driver may only use the PowerBoost four times in the short Sprint race and eight times in the longer Feature race.

Each event is held over three days - Friday through to Sunday - and consists of three one-hour practice sessions (two on Friday, the first being reserved for rookie drivers and developing nations, and one on Saturday), four 15-minute qualifying sessions with a 5-minute gap between each on Saturday, and two races (a 20-minute Sprint and a 70-minute Feature with two compulsory pit stops) on Sunday.

Teams may complete a single flying lap in each qualifying segment, with the best time in the first two determining the team's position on the starting grid for the flying start Sprint race, and the best time in the second two deciding grid positions for the Feature race.

SABC3 will televise Saturday's qualifying live from 2pm to 4pm and Sunday's races from 2pm to 4.30pm (delayed recording of the Sprint race at 2pm and the Feature race live from 3pm).