A1 Team South Africa has announced the names of the four drivers who will try out for the position of rookie driver at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State on Tuesday.

The team intends to test the four - Kyle Mitchell, Marc Murray, Wesleigh Orr and Leeroy Poulter - in high performance open-wheel cars before choosing two to travel to Snetterton to test the team's A1GP car in the run-up to official pre-season testing at Silverstone.

All four drivers have strong karting credentials and have won national championships, although only Poulter currently races karts on a regular basis now. The 26-year old is the senior member of the shoot-out party, and comes to A1GP as reigning Rotax Max DD2 champion and leader of the European DD2 class with one round remaining.

Mitchell, the youngest contender at just 16, is currently competing in the Asian Formula BMW championship after winning a scholarship from BMW and following in the footsteps of A1 Team South Africa regular driver Adrian Zaugg. Murray, 20, is competing successfully in the British Formula Ford championship, but hopes to follow sister Jennifer in driving the Team South Africa car in A1GP, while 19-year old Orr is a two-time winner of the Rotax Max World Finals and DD2 and Max Challenge class winner in the European Rotax Max Challenge in Genk. He is currently competing in Formula Renault in South America.

"European motorsport has evolved a pyramid of karting and 'slicks-and-wings' formulae that prepare race drivers for the extreme performance categories like A1GP, much
like the standards at school prepare one for university," Team South Africa general manager Mike Carroll said, "Each step up exposes the race driver to an increase in horsepower, tyre size and most importantly downforce.

"Three of our four candidates have, this year, educated themselves in international categories and we cannot overstate to other aspirant young race drivers the importance of properly preparing themselves both in race cars relevant to A1GP and also in the gym."

In a separate announcement, the team has appointed Gugu Zulu as its first commercial manager. In his new position, the 29-year old former racer and current national championship rally driver will be responsible for the commercial side of both the South African team and the South African round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport scheduled for 24 February 2008.

 

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