Hinchcliffe to lead A1 Team Canada in Holland Montreal, Québec – Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe, fresh off the back of finishing 10th overall and highest ranked Canadian in his rookie Champ Car Atlantic Championship season, now heads to Circuit Park Zandvoort in Holland for the opening round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October.
James (19) will lead A1 Team Canada’s challenge in Round 1 as 24 nations gather at the start of the 13-round A1GP World Cup of Motorsport which pitches nation against nation in identical 550bhp V8-powered A1GP race cars from October through to April visiting the likes of Australia, China, South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Great Britain along the way.
Hinchcliffe’s selection to share driving duties for A1 Team Canada with Vancouver’s Sean McIntosh, who helped steer Canada to victory in Indonesia and 10th place in the Nations Standings in the inaugural season of A1GP, follows an impressive rise through the open-wheel ranks in North America where he finished runner-up and ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship before taking third overall in the 2005 Star Mazda Series with three wins.
This season, competing for Forsythe Racing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Hinchcliffe again demonstrated his talents finishing on the podium on his debut before scoring a win in Portland and pole in Montreal to finish 10th overall. Such performances led to a test with A1 Team Canada in the U.K. back in July followed by his inclusion in the official A1GP pre-season test at Silverstone last month. Stunning the field with his pace, James led A1 Team Canada to the top of the timesheets in only his second outing in the car.
James now heads out to the 4.18km, 11-turn Circuit Park Zandvoort in Holland faced not only with the challenge of learning the historic sea-front track but also the layout of an A1GP race weekend which includes an aggregate qualifying format on Saturday afternoon’s followed by a 20-minute Sprint race and a 70-minute Feature race both held on Sunday.
Looking ahead to his race debut for A1 Team Canada James commented:
“I can’t wait to get to Zandvoort and kick start the season for A1 Team Canada! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to race for my country and to have the opportunity to take the first start of the season is just amazing. Zandvoort’s quite a challenging circuit, the character and atmosphere there is just so different to anything else but I’m confident in the car, pre-season testing went well so hopefully we can translate our form at Silverstone into a pair of decent results this weekend in Holland.”
Friday’s running consists of two scheduled ‘Rookie Sessions’ before a final hour of practice for all competitors. Another hour of practice is set for Saturday morning before the afternoon’s qualifying runs. Sunday’s Sprint race starts at 11am CET with the Feature race starting at 3pm CET.