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New Zealand to test youngsters

NEWS STORY
29/08/2006

Two of New Zealand's most promising motor racing drivers have been given the opportunity to test drive Black Beauty in the lead-up to the second season of A1GP, the World Cup of Motorsport.

More than 20 teams will take part in the Series' official team test session at Silverstone on Wednesday and Thursday.

Former New Zealand kart champions Wade Cunningham, aged 22, and Chris van der Drift, 20, will get behind the wheel during the test session, sharing driving duties with Jonny Reid, Matt Halliday's team mate in the first season of A1GP where New Zealand finished the championship in fourth place.

A1 Team.NZL spokesman Bob McMurray says the absence of Halliday, who is preparing for a V8 race at Sandown in Australia, has given the team a valuable opportunity to broaden their potential driver base.

"It's good to give up and coming Kiwi drivers an opportunity to become familiar with a different class of car and show how fast they are in the A1GP environment," McMurray said.

"Team owner Colin Giltrap is dedicated to helping develop promising New Zealand talent and Chris and Wade are both quality drivers who are making a real impact in their respective series.

"Wade, the 2003 FIA World Karting Champion, is the defending champion in the Infinity Pro Series in the United States and Chris is the overall leader in the intensely competitive Eurocup Formula Renault two-litre single-seater championship."

The testing sessions on the 3.619km circuit at Silverstone will give Super Nova Racing, the New Zealand team's new engineers, the opportunity to become familiar with Black Beauty after running the German and Pakistan teams in the inaugural A1GP season.

The team will have the same chassis and engines as last season, but should do enough mileage at Silverstone to qualify for a rebuilt engine for the first race of the season at Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands on October 1 - a race that has already pre-sold more than 100,000 tickets.

"We were the most consistent team in the championship last season in terms of finishing races, so we clocked up more miles than anyone else," McMurray said.

"It will be great to start the new season with a fresh engine as we strive for podium finishes and endeavour to eclipse last season's overall fourth placing."

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