A1 Team Malaysia is proving to be one of the top contenders in the new A1 Grand Prix series, lying ninth at the halfway stage of the season with its two drivers, Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy.

So what are the ingredients of success for a team like A1 Team Malaysia?

Undoubtedly the two men in the cockpit of the A1 Team Malaysia race car are experienced and skilled racing drivers, but it's also the support network around them that is giving the team an edge on its rivals in the series.

In particular, two individuals within the team are making valuable contributions to the technical operations and providing the specialist engineering guidance that makes a real difference.

These men are technical director Julian Randles (pictured left) and chief engineer Greg Wheeler (pictured right), who bring a wealth of experience that ensures the team is able to perform competitively at each race weekend.

Randles has an illustrious career with many top racing teams and drivers. He started his career with Sid Taylor Racing, fielding a Lola T70 sports car driven by Jack Brabham. After working in sports car racing in the UK for a number of years Randles moved to America, running cars for Jody Schekter and Alan Jones among others. Returning to the UK, he worked with Patrick Tambay, Derek Warwick and Desire Wilson in Formula One before another transatlantic move to USA sportscar racing in the 90s.

There Randles enjoyed developing a natural gas-powered Chrysler Patriot sports racing car for the giant General Motors Corporation, but with the technology some years ahead of itself, the car was never able to run competitively and Randles moved back to the UK to continue his sportscar racing career with British racing teams before joining A1 Team Malaysia in August 2005.

Wheeler's biography also reads like a "Who's Who of Motorsport", with his career including roles with Mitsubishi and the works World Rally team, engineering the Williams Touring Car team competing in the British Touring Car Championship as well as the Williams Formula One Team with Alex Zanardi, and latterly with Jos Verstappen at Arrows Grand Prix and with Verstappen and Alex Yoong at Minardi F1. The breadth of experience that Wheeler brings to the team has also assisted in its ongoing success.

"These two motorsport professionals have been instrumental in the success of our team," confirmed Jack Cunningham, chief executive of A1 Team Malaysia. "Many of the races are held at circuits which are new to the drivers and the team, but through the skills and experience of both Julian and Greg, working with the drivers and mechanics, we have been able to set the car up for the track conditions quickly enabling Alex and Fairuz to concentrate on learning the circuit where necessary and then improving their performance by working with the technical team to optimise the car for the different requirements, for example, the 'flying lap' style of qualifying.

"Every team has had a steep learning curve in this new series and we've been able to accelerate our development programme with the input and direction from Julian and Greg. We're now looking forwards to the second half of the season and are confident that we can continue to improve our race weekend performance in the upcoming races.

"Julian and Greg are also spending a great deal of timing training and assisting our team members where necessary - they are dedicated to passing on the experience they have gained over a collective 50 years or more of motor racing. This is an integral part of our on-going effort as we build the team and try to improve our standard, performance and results," he concluded.

A1 Team Malaysia is one of twenty five teams competing in the new A1 Grand Prix series and has enjoyed strong results in the first half of the season including three fifth place finishes and three eighth place finishes, which have contributed to the overall ninth place in the World Cup of Motorsport standings for this inaugural season.



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