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Team Prepares For New A1gp Venue

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 11:02 AM


    Fast & Furious

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A1 Team Malaysia driver, Fairuz Fauzy, will be representing his nation in the next round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, which is set to debut in Gauteng province in South Africa in two weeks time. The Kyalami circuit close to Johannesburg will host for the fist time the fifth round of the 2008/09 season and with neither the team nor Fauzy having raced at the venue the preparation for this event has included a visit to the A1GP simulator in Italy.

The rules of A1GP do not allow in-season testing nor can drivers race at a circuit prior to the event and as with many other racing formulae simulation is becoming increasingly important in order to find a competitive edge over rivals. Fauzy and the team’s chief engineer, Alan Mugglestone, travelled to the highly sophisticated A1GP simulator to focus on preparations for the new challenge of the Kyalami circuit. Fauzy was able to learn the Kyalami track configuration and also work with Mugglestone to develop the car set up for the characteristics of the track.

Fauzy said of his introduction to the South African track, “Although I was driving in a virtual world, there was plenty of realism to the experience. From driving the simulator, I can get an overview of the track layout which saves time when you get to the circuit itself. Once I’d done a few laps of the track I was then able to work with Alan to look at driving styles, braking points, in and out laps for pitstops, and how to get the best out of the car. We then moved on to a programme of car set up options which we wanted to try out. From my first lap to the last we improved the lap times considerably, as well as setting a new lap record for this track on the simulator, which I was really pleased to have achieved. All in all, it was a very productive day.”

Mugglestone believes the simulator is an invaluable resource for the team, saying, “We’d seen the benefits of using the simulator earlier in the season and it has been good to return for further development work. We’re able to combine driver preparation with set up work in a calm, highly focused session. There are no distractions; it’s similar to having an exclusive test with plenty of time to concentrate on areas which we’re not able to devote the time to when we’re at a race weekend. I’m very pleased with the amount we were able to achieve. Now we need to put it into practice in Kyalami. I’m confident that it will help us move forward.”

Fauzy will be joined by Aaron Lim for the South African A1GP event, with Lim taking on his regular driving duties in the Friday morning rookie and developing nations practice session. The race weekend starts on 20 February with the two A1GP races taking place on Sunday 22 February.

Jaime @ AW