Walker Racing to A1GP? UPDATE I had the opportunity to attend the last A1GP race of the 2007/2008 season at Brands Hatch, where I continued my fact finding mission on the series. I have said before, we have a great deal of interest in the series, and this second event that I attended was very informative.
A1GP has a new Ferrari car coming into the series for the 2008/2009 season, which is powered by a 430 production based Ferrari engine. I think this will elevate the series to a different level and will attract more drivers, franchise owners, and sponsors to the series going forward. Along with Ferrari, Michelin will be the tire and Shell oils will also join A1GP, so three great marquee corporations will be entering into the series as well.
The series itself is very well organized in many respects when you look at all of the assets that it has. One can't help to lament as to how Champ Car in the last few year was never able to get to that level. This may appear to be a somewhat odd statement, but when you look at their television production, hospitality management for their VIP guests, the format of the racing and, needless to say, the cost, they have done a lot of things right in a very short space of three years since their inception.
A1GP is broken up into two entities. The franchise owner, who in most cases is a businessman, who probably knows very little about racing and knows a lot more about money and business. Secondly is the team service provider, which is someone like me who has a race team, equipment and expertise. A1GP tries to marry those entities together and provide 12 events, transportation, racing equipment for the teams, ultimately providing a level playing field, which I think they do a very good job at doing.
The off-season for A1GP is a very short one. They just finished their last race and around the July/ August time frame, they will be assembling these Ferrari A1GP cars at Silverstone in the UK, and then they will have an initial test session before their official racing season starts in September.
Walker Racing's objective going forward is to try to break into the rather cliquey club of mostly Brits and service the team franchises and to become a service provider to one or two team franchises.
Hopefully, we can break into the A1GP club and be competing before the end of the year, which will be fun to do something different. The racing itself is very competitive and I think with the advent of the Ferrari, it will be ever more so. I would expect to see more marquee drivers take a serious look at A1GP. We will keep you posted. You never know, we may be lucky and get a program for the new season. By Derrick Walker03/20/08 The last week and a half has been long and eventful for former Champ Car team Walker Racing. After a very productive and successful test in California with our Atlantic cars, Rob Edwards and I had an opportunity to go down to Mexico City to observe the A1GP race. I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw.
The series itself is a competition of nations, traveling around to different places around the world to put on their races. Each event consists of two races, a sprint race and a main event, which includes two pit stops and very close racing. A1GP will upgrade its car to a Ferrari design, which they will unveil for the first race of the 2008/2009 season. I think this will change the competition as well as the perception of the series and what it represents.
We certainly see an opportunity for Walker Racing and, in the upcoming months, we are going to try to pursue a program. Everybody with the series made us all feel very welcome and gave us a lot of information to go away with and work towards. The goal would be to try and compete in the series in the beginning of their new season which is in September. It was well worth traveling down to Mexico to spend a few productive days. Walker Racing website