Although the car has been pounding around Silverstone and Paul Ricard in its national colours, the striking orange livery that will represent the Netherlands in the first 'World Cup of Motorsport' was officially unveiled by Jos Verstappen last night [Monday].

Mirroring the national soccer and cricket teams, the Dutch entry will run a bold orange colour scheme throughout the twelve-round series, which begins at Brands Hatch later this month. Verstappen was joined by 'seat holder' Jan Lammers and second driver Jeroen Bleekemolen for the ceremony at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk, pulling back the covers to reveal the car to the waiting media.

"Wherever you are in the world, the colour orange is clearly recognisable as that of the Dutch sporting teams, so I am delighted to have such a bold car on the grid for the first World Cup of Motorsport," series founder Sheikh Maktoum said.

"To me, it is an honour to have both Jan Lammers and Jos Verstappen involved in A1 Grand Prix. Jos has the largest fan base of any current racing driver and was responsible for making motorsport so hugely popular in the Netherlands. With him driving for A1 Team Netherlands, I am sure we will see a wave of orange as his supporters follow him to Brands Hatch, EuroSpeedway, Estoril and beyond."

Verstappen was drawn to the Dutch A1GP project after his hopes of returning to top-flight action in either Formula One or Champ Cars disappeared at the start of the season.

"I'm very excited about this new series, the races will be very close and I can go to the absolute maximum," the former Benetton, Minardi, Tyrrell, Stewart and Simtek driver said, "There are a lot of very good drivers, racing for good teams.

"A1 Team Netherlands has become very competitive very quickly, especially at our last test session at Paul Ricard, where we finished third. Our motto will be to give everything until the very last lap of the final race! For me, it is an enormous challenge and I hope that a lot of Dutch fans will support me on 25 September at Brands Hatch."

For Lammers, Sheikh Maktoum's brainchild had provided another logical step in the progression of his Racing for Holland campaign to raise the profile of Dutch drivers.

'For us, A1GP is the icing on the cake of the work by Racing for Holland over the past years," he said, "All our guys have worked like lions, and to be able to defend
our country in this wonderful new series is a big honour. That's how we all look at it. The intention to be fast is not enough, it is simply our duty."

Having seen countrymen Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos break into F1 with Minardi this season, Bleekemolen is one of the young Dutch talents hoping that Lammers' vision can lead them to bigger and better things. For now, he is content to be reserve to Verstappen, having spent the last few year campaigning a touring car.

"For me, it is an excellent opportunity to get some experience with single-seaters after my years with Opel in the DTM," he said, "There, I learned a lot and had to push myself against team mates like Heinz-Harald Frentzen, but that effort has been repaid, and the fact that I can be the reserve driver at the level of A1GP is a very big break. Jos, of course, is the ideal example, assisting me in a great way during the tests, and I hope that I can help him collect data for the team."

Series organisers took the opportunity provided by the launch to confirm RTL as the host broadcaster for the Netherlands, with plans to show each A1GP event live across the country.

"I find this series very interesting," director Jaap Hofman said, "It is obvious that it is all about the driver and his ability. That is why I am very happy that Jos and Jeroen are on the team. I am sure Jos will show what he is capable of."

 

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