Former Champ Car star Ryan Hunter-Reay is to return to single-seater racing after securing the chance to line up for Team USA in the next round of A1 Grand Prix to be held at Taupo, New Zealand.

Renowned for being the first American rookie to win a Champ Car race in over 20 years when he triumphed at Surfers' Paradise in 2003, Hunter-Reay was without a full-time drive in 2006 after a tough 2005 season with Rocketsports.

However, having signalled his interest to race in A1 GP at the Laguna Seca round last year, Hunter-Reay will be given the opportunity to compete in place of Philip Giebler, who has managed to get USA up to tenth in the standings over the first four meetings.

Although Taupo will be the first time Hunter-Reay has driven one of the Zytek-engined Lola's in anger, he was supposed to compete in the 'rookie' sessions at the Beijing round of the championship, only for the circuit's now infamous tight hairpin to see any hopes of running dashed.

Nonetheless, he is confident he can be in the running for victory come race day thanks to the level playing field the new circuit will represent for the teams.

"I've really been looking forward to driving for A1 Team USA for some time now. It's a unique opportunity in which I can represent my country on a global scale," said Hunter-Reay. "I love the fact that this is a new circuit for all participants. That levels the playing field even more which is perfect for my first race with Team USA."

USA have had a strong start to the season, with Giebler scoring in seven of the first ten races, including a second place finish at Zandvoort. Nonetheless, team boss Rick Weidinger admits he has been trying to get Hunter-Reay a racing opportunity for some time.

"We can't wait to get Ryan in the Team USA car," Weidinger said. "He is a very experienced professional driver--and incidentally some of his biggest successes have taken place in that part of the world, so we are excited to give him this opportunity in New Zealand."



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