Sky Sports will become the UK's first broadcaster to screen live coverage of the brand new A1 Grand Prix motor racing series, starting in autumn 2005.

Full coverage from each round of the international FIA sanctioned series, which pits identical single-seater cars against each other, will be broadcast exclusively live, including practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.

Sky Sports Managing Director Vic Wakeling says the company is delighted to be involved with the new series:

"We have been sold on the concept of a genuine test of driving skills which, of course, A1 Grand Prix is designed to provide - and we are delighted to be involved from the beginning," he said. "It has the added attraction of providing us with more international sport - all live - throughout the winter months."

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, the brainchild behind the series, is also pleased at the deal.

"We are pleased and extremely proud to welcome Sky Sports on board as our first broadcast licensee," he said. "Sky's innovative coverage and support will make A1 Grand Prix truly 'must see' viewing in the United Kingdom."

The series will be a World Cup of motorsport with up to 30 franchises available limited to only one per country. Each national team franchise will be represented by a driver native to that country, thereby creating strong local support and presence for the team.

Races take place during the European winter in countries enjoying summer weather conditions such as Dubai, Bahrain, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and South America.

The cars are identical single-seater A1 racing cars built by Lola and powered by a 520bhp A1 Grand Prix V8 Engine.

In addition to a variety of magazine programmes, Sky Sports already shows live coverage of the Indy Racing League, British Superbikes and the Skybet Elite League.



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