A1GP Lives On in South Africa!

AFRIX .jpg

The former A1GP Series of cars has found a new home, taking up residence in South Africa for a brand new open wheel racing series set to launch later this year.


For those of you unfamiliar with the A1GP concept, the series ran from 2005 - 2009 as what was branded as the 'World Cup of Motorsport' for open wheel formula style racing cars. With each team running a spec chassis under national team colours, the high performance machines made for a spectacular sight on the race tracks of the world.

Heading into the 2008/09 series, the category moved to a refreshed design and bolted a Ferrari engine to the rear, however that would be the only season the category ran the new cars, as A1GP soon folded and disappeared from the racing landscape.

With a fleet of race ready machines mothballed following the collapse of the category, almost a decade later it looks like the cars will finally see action once again, with a new South African initiative having taken possession of the full grid of cars, rebranded the category AFRIX, secured funding from enough backers to realise the dream, and is now planning a limited number of exhibition races this year, ahead of launching a full championship for the 2020/21 racing season.

Speaking to motorsport.com, AFRIX commercial director Alan Eve was bullish about the prospects of a professional level open wheel racing category in South Africa:

"It has been a long and tough road to find the right operating capital to launch the series.

"Now we have got the right investor in Izak Spies and we are rock solid, so we can now say that we will have the first race at the end of this year.

"Kyalami is probably where we will start off in December, but the Durban street circuit is keen to have an event and still has all the kit to put on a race."

"We talking to Botswana, for example, and they are very keen to do something with us for the future, and so is Cape Town," he said.
Should plans come to fruition to launch the new series next year, it will be a welcome return to racing action for these spectacular and competitive open wheel racing machines, a category that garnered much fan interest during its all too short time under the A1GP banner.

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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

Paul Jeffrey

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Did anyone ever manage to get to a race under the old A1GP rules?

I went to Brands Hatch for the first ever round - damn that was a spectacular weekend of activity! Brilliant concept, shame it never achieved full potential...
 

michelforest

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Did anyone ever manage to get to a race under the old A1GP rules?

I went to Brands Hatch for the first ever round - damn that was a spectacular weekend of activity! Brilliant concept, shame it never achieved full potential...
I never saw any races but the concept of national teams left me cold... I know there was a Team Canada and that Patrick Carpentier raced for it. But I've always liked the fact that race teams were made of people from different countries.

The old A1GP cars look... boring to me, to be honest. I wonder what's the point of having yet another open wheel series. But since this is an Africa-only series, I guess I won't even bother.
 

Motowntom

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I never saw any races but the concept of national teams left me cold... I know there was a Team Canada and that Patrick Carpentier raced for it. But I've always liked the fact that race teams were made of people from different countries.

The old A1GP cars look... boring to me, to be honest. I wonder what's the point of having yet another open wheel series. But since this is an Africa-only series, I guess I won't even bother.
I"ll bet they wouldn't be boring if you were standing trackside as they blew by....or had a chance to see one up close or talk to a driver.
But thanks for letting us know how boring they are.
Cheers
 

Spinelli

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A1GP always had awesome racing. For some reason, the cars - at least the Gen1 cars - seemed to be less affected by dirty air than most open wheel race cars. I wonder if it was because they may have had a high mechanical grip to aero grip ratio due to the big, fat slicks they had. I'm not sure if the Gen2 cars were as good in dirty air as the Gen1; I never watched them during their single year.

They always sounded great. Actually, I think the Zytek engined Gen1 cars sound bloody birlliant. The Ferrari powered Gen2 cars sound good but nowhere near as good as the Gen1s.

Other short-lived series' with awesome cars and good sounds were Grand Prix Masters and Superleague Formula.
 
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michelforest

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I"ll bet they wouldn't be boring if you were standing trackside as they blew by....or had a chance to see one up close or talk to a driver.
But thanks for letting us know how boring they are.
Cheers
I was talking about the look. They look like some generic open-wheelers from that era, like the Superleague formula cars, Formula Masters, etc. As far the racing itself, well, that's another story. It will all depend on the drivers they get to drive these cars.
 

Alex Townsend

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Did anyone ever manage to get to a race under the old A1GP rules?

I went to Brands Hatch for the first ever round - damn that was a spectacular weekend of activity! Brilliant concept, shame it never achieved full potential...
I think I was at the inaugural race at Brands. Even have a DVD of it somewhere
Was actually pretty awesome watching it live and on tv.
I don't understand how anyone can find an open wheel car boring or the races either. Especially if they haven't even seen it live...
 

Spinelli

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I was talking about the look. They look like some generic open-wheelers from that era, like the Superleague formula cars, Formula Masters, etc. As far the racing itself, well, that's another story. It will all depend on the drivers they get to drive these cars.
I agree that the Gen2 A1GP cars definitely loom more generic (not a bad thing for me at all). They remind me of a more serious F3 car. A beefier, wider F3 with tightly sculpeted rear-bodywork.

The Gen1 A1GP cars were definitely not generic looking though. I absolutely love the way they look from their distinctive nose to their small and swoopy sidepods to the rear-wing which has that swept back "motion standing still" look. However, the 2nd Gen cars look more serious and "mature" while the Gen1s looked more toyish. Personally, I like the Gen1s better but the Gen2s are a safer design as I can see lots of people thinking the Gen1s are too small or childish looking.

I personally loved watching the Gen1 A1GP cars in action.


Gen 1
ioiuiuy.JPG

Captgggure.JPG

aa18101.jpg

hulke140762.jpg



Gen 2

gettyimages-805809048-1024x1024.jpg

chen_a1gp_taup_2009.jpg



I like the Gen1 better from the side and 3/4 angles due to it's swoopiness and more interesting & non-generic features. From the back and front, I like the Gen2 better due to it's low and wide look just like open-wheelers should have (reminds me of an early-to-mid 90s open-wheeler from some angles).
 
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michelforest

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I agree that the Gen2 A1GP cars definitely loom more generic (not a bad thing for me at all). They remind me of a more serious F3 car. A beefier, wider F3 with tightly sculpeted rear-bodywork.

The Gen1 A1GP cars were definitely not generic looking though.
I agree with you: the first generation A1GP were very good looking and original.

10 years ago, Swift designed a car for Formula Nippon that I thought looked amazing. Love that front wing:




But for me, nothing beats the F1 cars of 1989-1994... They look so simple compared to now, of course, but those cars were a handful to drive! :geek:


 
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Matt Y

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mod-edit: let's discuss politics at politicsdepartment.com
 
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Ho3n3r

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The 2007 A1GP Grand Prix in Durban, to commemorate it. Nico Hulkenberg a notable name in this.

 

Lesley Buurlage

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Did anyone ever manage to get to a race under the old A1GP rules?

I went to Brands Hatch for the first ever round - damn that was a spectacular weekend of activity! Brilliant concept, shame it never achieved full potential...
Went to the 2009 dutch gp at zandvoort, rain pouring down the whole day but still didn't ruin the fun of the race. Team netherlands did terribly but i still remember everyone in the dunes cheering their ass off when we put the highest top speed at the speed trap before the tarzanbocht :roflmao: