AUGUST 6, 2000
New single seater class to merge F1 performance with football association
A totally new category of international single seater racing designed to blend near-F1 performance with a dramatic new marketing and promotional concept is set to be launched for 2002.
The radical new plan is to link a predominantly European-based Championship for its 4-liter Judd V10-engined Dallara single seaters with support from major football clubs which will see all the cars painted and presented in those teams' colors and liveries. The meetings will have a two race format and the cars will run on slick tires with pit stops for tire changes only.
Titled Premier 1 Grand Prix, the new formula is the brainchild of a small group of experts recruited and funded by SMC Capital investments, a company owned by millionairess Elizabeth Evans and director Colin Sullivan.
Sullivan is the Essex businessman behind the original outside bid for the freehold of Silverstone three years ago and is a longtime acquaintance of F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. It is expected that the plans will be formally submitted by the MSA for approval by the next meeting of the FIA world council in October.
An FIA source commented encouragingly: "The requirement for a new formula is that it should be backed by a national club, and conforms to all the required safety regulations."
Initially it is planned that there will be 12 races in 2002, 11 in Europe and one in South America. They will not clash wth grands prix. "It is a very exciting project which we are tackling with great enthusiasm," said Gianpaolo Dallara.
The participating football clubs - whose colors and livery the cars will carry - are to be selected from a six year analysis of their winning performances in their own European Football League.
Premier 1 Grand Prix opens the door on what promises to be a dramatic commercial cross-over between the two most compelling of global televised sports with motor racing and football fans alike closely identifying with competing drivers and sponsoring clubs in equal measure. A crucial element within the whole television coverage strategy is to maximize the potential viewing audience by providing the necessary broadcast signal for the individual events.
Directors include Graham Kelly, previously Chief Executive of the English Football Association, and Gary Crumpler, formerly a member of the marketing team at Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Additionally legal firm Nabarro Nathanson have been dealing with all the contract negotiations between Premier 1 Grand Prix and the football clubs during the last 12 months.
A total of 30 cars will be built by Dallara, one of the most experienced production racing car manufacturers in Europe which built Honda's Formula 1 prototype machine in addition to cars for the Indy Racing League.
Commented John Judd on the subject of his engine development program for Premier 1 Grand Prix; "We are aiming for power with reliability.
"We believe our 4-liter V10 can develop about 750 horsepower at around 11,500rpm. Most engine designers would agree is a far more efficient way of reaching those sort of power outputs than the present 3-liter F1 engines which run to around 17,000rpm.
"We would be aiming for around 1200 miles between rebuilding the engines."