Team USA adjusting to change in New Zealand TAUPO, New Zealand—On a hot, dry, and sunny day in Taupo, New Zealand, A1 TEAM USA took an opportunity to fine tune their car and break in their new driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The twisting turns of the new Taupo race track tempt every driver to push too hard. As car after car slid off the circuit, Team USA adopted a “slow and steady” approach which helped them in accomplishing the day’s goals.
A new engine was mounted in A1 TEAM USA’s “We The People” car prior to the week’s action, so Friday’s practice began with slow laps to allow Zytek to check the installation and performance. Hunter-Ready was then free to push the car, logging consistent laps with steady improvement. A1 Team USA finished 15th in the first practice and 18th in the second.
“All-in-all, this was a day for me to get re-acquainted with the A1 TEAM USA car,” said Hunter-Reay, following the practice. “We got through a lot of testing – tried several different adjustments - and I think we learned a lot. Unfortunately, I flat-spotted my tires late in the session. When you do that, the wheel keeps locking up in the same spot every time you brake, so you just can’t brake as hard as you’d like. We’re only a couple of tenths off of several race winning cars, so we’re not miles off. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
A1 TEAM USA Owner Rick Weidinger commented, “Actually we had a good day. Although the final practice sheets for today don't reflect it, we got progressively better and better as Ryan and the 'We the People' car got to know each other. The practice times were all very competitive. As a team, we have learned a lot today and will certainly apply that information tomorrow for qualifying. New Zealand is a beautiful country and we have really enjoyed our time here. Its not often you can land a 24 inch Rainbow Trout out of a nearby stream right after lunch. We expect to land another good result at the track tomorrow right after lunch.”
The weekend’s racing action for A1 TEAM USA continues on Saturday, January 20th with the final practice and qualifying for the Sprint race. The week will culminate on Sunday, January 21st with the 20-minute Sprint Race in the morning and the 70-minute Feature Race in the afternoon.
Sunday’s feature race can be watched live or on demand via the A1GP website: