Hot on the heels of his podium finish last time out at Brno, Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe is aiming to add to his silverware spoils as the A1GP circus makes its maiden outing around the streets of Beijing.

Round three of the 2006-07 A1GP campaign will mark the first time the Chinese capital has hosted a motorsport event, and as an added challenge the weekend will also be the series' first street race of the season following road course races in Holland and the Czech Republic last month.

Nineteen-year-old Hinchcliffe will be making his third consecutive start for Team Canada, and is relishing the prospect of driving the 550bhp V8-powered A1GP car around the tight and twisty circuit. He faces the same unfamiliarity as the rest of the 23-driver field, however, as the 3.1km track is untested as a racing venue, making it a level playing field for all of the drivers and teams.

Having progressed through the North American open-wheel racing ladder, though, with wins in Formula BMW, Star Mazda and Champ Car Atlantic, the Toronto native is no stranger to the intricacies of street racing and hopes to further showcase his pedigree in Beijing on the back of impressive performances at both Zandvoort and Brno.

Following his second place in the sprint race at Brno, Hinchcliffe was on course to break his A1GP duck in the feature when with just five laps left to run, Malaysia's Alex Yoong nudged the Canadian into a spin and an eventual fifth place finish at the flag. Nevertheless, the team's strong showing opened their points account and heading into this weekend's event in China, Canada sits fourth in the nations' standings.

"I'm really looking forward to what's undoubtedly an exciting visit to a new circuit for both myself and the A1GP series," Hinchcliffe commented ahead of the weekend. "Obviously I'm used to street racing but the track in Beijing is new territory for us all.

"I'd like to think my previous experience with this kind of racing will come into play, not to mention the fact that this will be my third straight start for A1 Team Canada so the continuity factor will hopefully play to our advantage.

"We ran really well last time out in the Czech Republic and I hope we can keep that momentum going throughout the weekend. It was great to get the team's first podium of the new season but the feature win would have been even sweeter. We've proved we can put together a competitive package so I'm hoping for more of the same come Sunday."

 

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