A1 Team Malaysia will return to the track next week at Silverstone for the official A1GP World Cup of Motorsport pre-season test, with the majority of their rivals also due out on track in preparation for the new 13-round season, which starts on September 29 in Zandvoort, Netherlands.

Over the course of the last five months since the final round of the inaugural A1GP season in Shanghai, China, the teams have been preparing for the new season ahead. The A1 Team Malaysia car and team members travelled from China to Kuala Lumpur for promotional duties prior to returning to the A1GP technical centre in June where it's been a hive of activity with all the teams using the 'off season' to inspect their car, stripping it back to check components and rebuilding it.

The A1 Team Malaysia car has already had one outing so far this month, participating in a demonstration run in Manchester, England, as part of the Sky Festival. With guest driver, John O'Hara, the car was put through its paces in front of a 25,000 strong crowd of spectators.

The fun events have finished now though, and the hard work really begins for A1 Team Malaysia. With Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy reunited with their A1GP car and dedicated team of mechanics and engineers, the test session next week will be an invaluable opportunity for everyone to be reacquainted and the foundations put in place for the 2006/07 season.

The two days of testing, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 August, will be used by the team to run through a planned programme of car setup and development. Yoong and Fauzy will share the testing duties evaluating the balance and handling of the car, and working with the engineers to maximise the performance potential of the A1 Team Malaysia car.

In addition, two fortunate young Malaysian drivers will sample the power and performance of the team's car for the first time. Aaron Lim and Nik Iruwan will have turns behind the wheel and, with 550 horsepower beneath the right foot; it'll be the fastest race-car either driver will have experienced.

Yoong, A1 Team Malaysia driver, who scored his first A1GP victory at the last race of the season earlier this year, says of the upcoming testing event: "I'm looking forward to being reunited with the Malaysian car. I really enjoyed the inaugural season. It was a steep learning curve for all of us and, although I've driven many different types of race car, each one has its own characteristics. It took us a little while to get the most from the A1GP car, but by the end of the season we had the measure of it. We need to carry this momentum into testing, although I'm sure all our rivals will be very competitive so it'll be an exciting and challenging two days of driving."

Fairuz Fauzy drove with the team in the first half of the season, switching to the GP2 series earlier this year. He reckons that experience should definitely be of help.

"I'm expecting that my year-long season of regular driving and racing will help me to quickly get back on the pace with the A1GP car," he added. "Although it's been a while since I drove it, it's fairly similar to the GP2 cars, which have been my regular 'wheels' this summer. I'm looking forward to flying the flag for Malaysia on the racetrack again."

Jack Cunningham, chief executive of A1 Team Malaysia, summed-up: "The first season of A1GP was an unknown quantity. We didn't know how competitive it would be, the calibre of drivers we'd be competing against and how close the racing would be. We quickly saw the Series flourish, with some of the most thrilling race action in the world. After a long season of hard work, dedication and commitment from everyone in A1 Team Malaysia, we were very pleased to finish fifth in the overall championship.

"The test next week will be the first chance that we have to evaluate the strength of competition for the coming season. One thing I do know is that it will, undoubtedly, be more challenging than last year! I'm also looking forward to giving two young up-and-coming Malaysians their first experience of their countries' A1GP car. I'm sure it'll give them a goal to aim for as they make their way up the motorsport ladder."



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