Four of the drivers hoping to compete for Great Britain in the new A1GP series have had the chance to impress team principal John Surtees after an evaluation test session at Brands Hatch.

Robbie Kerr, Alex Lloyd, James Rossiter and former F1 driver Ralph Firman took part in the two day test behind the wheel of a Formula 3000 car run by Christian Horners Arden International team, with Surtees and the Arden team now faced with the prospect of deciding which driver will represent GB in the so called 'World Cup of Motorsport.'

The first day of the test saw Firman and Kerr both complete 60 laps of the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in dry conditions, and former Jordan driver Firman said he was thrilled to have taken part in the test.

"This is the first time I have driven a single-seater since I was in the actual A1 GP car, and the first time I have driven at Brands Hatch since 1996," he said. "I love Brands Hatch as a circuit and think paddock is one of the best corners at any racing track. The whole A1 Grand Prix project is exciting and it would be great if I could be in the series racing under the British colours."

Kerr, who has also tested the A1GP car in the past admitted he was hopeful of being selected for the role.

"The last time I raced here in 2002 I won, so I hope I have been able to impress with what I have done in the Formula 3000 car," he said. "The nation versus nation concept is amazing and it is the sort of opportunity up to now we could only dream of."

Deteriorating weather overnight made conditions more difficult for Lloyd and Rossiter who both completed 20 laps in wet conditions before Kerr returned to the track to set a benchmark time.

"The weather was a little bit trickier for me and the team, but as a racing driver I just have to get on and do the job in any conditions," Lloyd said. "The team were great and it made me appreciate why they have won many titles and earned their reputation. I have represented England in the internations karting competition a couple of times, but it is not quite the same as this. In any sport the greatest honour is to represent your country and here we have the opportunity for the first time."

Rossiter, who had come into the test fresh from competing in the F3 Euroseries race in Monaco admitted he was thrilled to work with John Surtees during the session and admitted he was hopeful that his F1 testing experience would aid him in his quest to take the drive.

"John Surtees is a legend in his own right and so for me it is great to be able to work with someone like him," he said. "The weather wasn't on our side, but I actually enjoy driving in the wet as you can slide the car more. While there is a big difference between F3 and F3000, I have experience of more power thanks to having driven in an F1 test. Brands is also a good track for me as I won here in Formula 3 last year. It would be great to represent my country in this championship and so I am now keeping my fingers crossed for the outcome."

At the end of the test, former F1 champion Surtees explained the criteria that would be used for the selection and admitted it wouldn't necessarily be the driver with the quickest lap time who gets the drive.

"I want to make it quite clear we are not just going to look at the times," he said. "We want to see how people gel, and so we want to see how the driver relates to the team. He has not only got to adapt to the car but also get on with the engineers, mechanics and other team personnel. Also I believe motorsport is controlled too much by money. You get drivers like the four we have tested and it comes down to money and not ability.

"We are giving these drivers the chance to get out on the world motorsport stage and show what they can do without the added pressure of having to find finance. It is going to be difficult to make our decision. We have to make this relatively quickly and eventually we may select two rather than just one."

 

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