Dan Clarke to drive for GB team

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Former Champ Car driver Dan Clarke will race for his nation in New Zealand as A1 Team GBR heads to Taupo determined to move up the championship leaderboard

A1 Team Great Britain is gearing up for round four of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in New Zealand next week, and is pleased to announce that Dan Clarke will join the team for the first time to lead the charge at the Taupo Motorsport Park. James Winslow, who has been an integral part of the British team for a year, will represent the team as rookie driver.

On his debut in Taupo, New Zealand in January 2009, 25-year-old Dan Clarke will become the fifth driver to race for Great Britain in A1GP, following in the footsteps of Robbie Kerr, Darren Manning, Oliver Jarvis and Danny Watts.

A veteran of British Formula Ford where he won the prestigious Formula Ford Festival in 2004, Dan moved up the British Formula Three Championship in 2005 in a team part owned by Kimi Räikkönen – Räikkönen Robertson Racing -and finished fifth overall, taking one win at Castle Combe.

After a series of impressive tests he was signed to drive in the 2006 Champ Car World Series for CTE Racing – HVM. At the Denver event, Clarke finished in third place to achieve his first podium finish as a Champ Car driver. In fact, the Denver result was the first podium finish for a Champ Car Rookie driver in the 2006 racing season. Dan returned to the team for the 2007 season, by then named Minardi Team USA. Clarke had a troubled season, finishing 13th in the overall standings and missing one race at Zolder. He did however record a fine second place at Road America.

Taupo has not traditionally been a happy hunting ground for GBR, with the team failing to score points in the previous two rounds in 2007 and 2008. However, as the team is currently in ninth position in the A1GP standings, there can be no margin for error and the squad is determined to break its duck in New Zealand next weekend.

Dan Clarke: “It's amazing really – a real boost and fabulous surprise. A1 Team GBR is a great team and they have the potential to win every time they compete. I'm here to help and hopefully the relationship can become long term. Firstly I've got to get used to a new car, new team and new track. I’m delighted to be driving for Great Britain – it’s a real privilege, and it'll be great to be back battling with some of my friends and enemies… from Champ Car! I'm fully ready for 2009 and even more determined to win."

Katie Clements, Team Principal: “We have been evaluating our driver options since we knew Danny Watts would be unavailable for this round. Dan Clarke is a British talent that has perhaps been overlooked and, since the demise of Champ Car at the end of 2007, he has been sadly without a drive. I am confident that his experience of high level single-seater racing combined with his thirst to return to the cockpit will produce good results next weekend. We had an unfortunate race day in Malaysia at the last round before Christmas, and it is absolutely vital that we score well this weekend to move up the standings. I would also just like to take this opportunity to congratulate Danny Watts and his partner, Fiona, who welcomed their son Joshua into the world on 15 January."

01/20/09 Rumor has it that former Champ Car driver Dan Clarke will drive the Great Britain A1GP car in this weekend's race in Taupo, New Zealand. We expect an announcement soon.

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