Following a lacklustre first season in the A1 Grand Prix Series, A1 Team USA have signalled their intent to be a challenger this year after announcing their partnership with West Surrey Racing as their technical support team.
Defecting from the New Zealand team they took to fourth place in the championship last season, the fruits of their deal appear to be paying off early after Phil Giebler managed to get the car up to fourth fastest in the morning session of pre-season testing, ending the day with the sixth best time overall.
Indeed, WSR principal Dick Bennetts was delighted to be joining forces with the American team and is hoping that he can transfer New Zealand's success onto his new project.
"I'm very pleased with our performance today working with A1.Team USA. We have an experienced engineer in Greg Wheeler and he and the drivers are working well together and are developing a good rapport.
“I'm delighted that we are continuing our involvement in A1GP and have new and exciting opportunities with A1.Team USA. We showed last year that we have a great reliability record with podium success, which we will build upon for the forthcoming season. With Rick Weidinger's commercial experience and WSR's technical know-how, I'm sure we will be a formidable force on and off the track."
Giebler, adopting a new left-foot breaking technique for the first time, was impressed to be competing further up the field than he expected, but was convinced enough to claim that the team will be competing for wins over the season.
"It's gone really well today and I would have loved to have spent the whole day in the car. I only had one lap on a fresh set of tyres and straight away the times showed. I've been working with my engineer on the left foot breaking technique and I'm starting to become more comfortable with this and gaining confidence. The team is awesome and the combination of people that we have is really good and I'm sure we'll be competing for race wins this year."
Joining Giebler in the car was experienced racer Al Unser Jr., who made the trip to Silverstone to experience the A1 GP car for the first time.
"The session went really well and I'm impressed with the car in terms of its engine performance and chassis. It's a great little package and I'm looking forward to an exciting season."