According to a new report from Sky News, a number of heavyweight figures in the world of motorsport are looking to revive the A1 Grand Prix (A1GP), a racing series that existed from 2005 until 2009. In the A1GP, often termed the “World Cup of Motorsport,” drivers compete for nations, rather than for a racing team.
In the report from Sky News, a team including Sir Keith Mills (the founder of Origin Sports Group, a sports investment firm which has played a key role in events such as the America’s Cup World Series and the Invictus Games) is behind the move. Origin was also behind the push for the 2012 Summer Games in London. Another member of the team looking to revive the A1GP is Marcin Budkowski, a former team principal at Alpine F1 team as well as a former director of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s motorsport governing body which oversees numerous racing competitions, including Formula 1.
The group is looking to raise $100 million to fund the series, with an eye towards launching next year. According to Sky News, the vision for the revamped A1GP is to run the series from December until July so as to not completely conflict with F1. Organizers are hoping to have teams from countries including Britain, China, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the USA, and to stage 12 races spread across Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.
With the global growth of F1, there is an idea that motorsport can thrive in previously untapped markets, such as Africa.
Sky News reports that series would rely on open-cockpit vehicles with speeds pushing that of F1. Furthermore, the organizers are seeking to design cars that would run on sustainable fuel.
Another aspect of the new vision is to have two drivers for each nation, an older established veteran along with a younger, up-and-coming driver.
The previous version of the A1GP folded in May of 2009, as a result of the global financial crisis that rocked financial systems worldwide that spring.
The inaugural season of the A1GP came back during the 2005-2006 season, and Team France emerged as the first champions of the series. Team Germany won the 2006-2007 season, with Team Switzerland emerging victorious during the 2007-2008 campaign.
Team Ireland won the 2008-2009 season, which would end up being the final full season of the A1GP.