A1 Grand Prix officials have confirmed that the Canadian franchise has already changed hands, even before the inaugural World Cup of Motorsport kicks off at Brands Hatch.

The team has been one of the quietest in terms of publicity since joining the series, and was yet to attend a test before Monday's late session at Silverstone, despite the opening round taking place this weekend [24-25 September]. It has now been revealed that businessman Wade Cherwayko, one of the seat holders behind Team Great Britain, has formally taken over the franchise.

"The whole programme is very exciting," Cherwayko said, "The nation versus nation concept combined with the equality of the cars will make for great racing. On top of that, it's a fabulous business opportunity. Of course, there's the element of Canadian pride - there are absolutely no F1 teams in Canada, so it's great to give Canada the opportunity to follow a national team."

Despite the plethora of established talent being touted in some teams - names such as Jos Verstappen, Pedro Lamy, Tony Kanaan and, latterly, Dan Wheldon - and the number of prominent Canadians who could provide a draw for the team - Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier and Jacques Villeneuve spring to mind - the Canadian squad has revealed that Formula Renault stand-out Sean McIntosh will be behind the wheel of the red-and-white car at Brands Hatch this weekend.

McIntosh is an acknowledged young talent, having completed a full season in the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Series followed by an invitation from British-based Team Firstair to compete in the Formula Renault UK Championship. His efforts in Britain were rewarded with the series' inaugural Graduate Cup title for rookie drivers in 2004 and he is now a frontrunner in the main series. The A1GP outing should provide an early sighter of the circuit which will play host to his FRenault UK showdown with Oliver Jarvis the following weekend.

"It's a very late call-up but very exciting," McIntosh admitted, "I've had a good season battling for the championship in Formula Renault and it's going to be fantastic to cap the year by driving for my country.

"My first runs at Silverstone yesterday were very positive and I loved the step-up in power from my Formula Renault car, which puts out around 200bhp, to the V8 engine in the back of the A1 Grand Prix car. For a young driver like myself, the series is especially important as it will be a real driver's championship."

 

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