A1 Grand Prix founder Sheikh Maktoum has caused a stir on the eve of the series' second season by confirming that he is to sell his stake in the 'World Cup of Motorsport'.

As the national teams reconvened at Zandvoort on the Dutch coast, Maktoum confirmed that he was to quit the series he created to concentrate on other business interests, and 'permit a broadening of the institutional shareholder base ahead of a planned initial public offering'.

"I am happy that I have built the series with fans in mind," the Sheikh said, "I feel like I have fulfilled my promise to them by bringing A1GP from concept to reality and am confident that the World Cup of Motorsport will go from strength to strength.

"I would like to thank all those stakeholders, including Tony Teixeira as first investor, who shared in my vision, enthusiasm and commitment. Having devoted all my efforts to making A1GP the success it is today, this transaction will allow me to devote more time to my Dubai International Holding Company, which currently manages a substantial portfolio of assets and new ventures, and which continues to actively pursue other significant investment opportunities."

It is anticipated that the all-cash transaction will be completed within 30 days, at which point Maktoum will step down as chairman and director of A1GP.

"Without the benefit of Sheikh Maktoum's vision and financial support, A1GP would not be as strong as it is today," deputy chairman Teixeira said, "We send our thanks to him and know that, as a keen motorsport enthusiast, he will continue to support A1GP. He will always be welcome at any event."

After a tricky inaugural season, beset with speculation about its financial security, A1GP linked up with Nomura prior to an initial public share offer designed to support the growth of the series. Leading investment manager RAB Capital plc acted as lead investor, alongside other financial institutions, and committed capital through equity investments and convertible stock to complement the Nomura-led debt-financing deal.



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