Fairuz Fauzy will lead the Malaysian A1 GP team when the new season gets underway at Zandvoort, Netherlands next week.
Malaysia enters the new season looking for a revival of fortunes after a difficult 2007/08 that failed to live up to Alex Yoong's race winning exploits of the previous year.
Although former F1 driver Yoong has been the team's first choice driver for the last three seasons, it is GP2 Asia race winner Fauzy that will kick off a new era for the team this year having conducted much of the testing aboard the new F1-inspired chassis.
Proving one of the fastest drivers during preliminary testing, former Spyker F1 test driver Fauzy is confident his early progress can be replicated at Zandvoort.
“I'm pleased to be given the nod for the drive at Zandvoort,” said Fauzy, who has ten caps with A1 Team Malaysia. “I really enjoyed driving the car earlier this month and it has whetted my appetite for the season ahead. It's very much a 21st century car; it is a step forward, with improvements all round – brakes, engine power, handling – all the features that a racing driver wants to be top quality.
“I'm sure the competition will also be very strong, with teams fielding highly experienced drivers. With the high level of drivers, a new A1GP car and a grid of battling nations I think we can expect a very competitive season ahead.”
Having spent the season racing in the World Series by Renault, Malaysia chief executive Jack Cunningham believes Fauzy's form in testing makes him the ideal candidate to get their season off to the best possible start.
“Fairuz showed us that he has the motivation and commitment that we need this season and after a highly successful test at Donington, he is the obvious choice of driver for Zandvoort. We have only been allowed two days of testing, so we need to use this experience to our best advantage at the first event.
“Fairuz settled in very quickly on his return to the team, and it was good to see him working so well with Alan and the other team members. Our focus is now on preparing for the first round of what promises to be an exciting season.”