A1 Team New Zealand driver, Jonny Reid, got his first taste of the Ferrari-engined Black Beauty in a special test session at Taupo on Monday
Reid and the NZ team worked closely with Ferrari and Magnetti-Marelli engineers in the official test which sought to further refine the stop-stall software which caused problems for several drivers, including NZ’s Chris van der Drift, during last Sunday’s A1GP races.
Reid completed 46 laps, which included several simulated race starts as engineers tested various electronic settings.
A1 Team Ireland, whose driver Adam Carroll lost the race lead when the stop-stall system cut in as he left the pits in Sunday’s Feature Race, was also on track, testing fuel system components.
Reid says the new car, effectively a 2006-spec Formula 1 racer with a modified Ferrari sports car V8 motor, is a big improvement over the first generation A1GP car.
‘It’s a really stable car,” Reid said. “The brakes are a lot better (than the old car’s) but we still need to do some more work on them. We went through the clutch test for Ferrari and that went really well. It wasn’t bogging down as much.
“I got straight down to a reasonable time but there’s definitely more there.”
A1 New Zealand says it gave Reid the chance to drive the car because he hadn’t been able to test it pre-season, and the squad’s other two drivers, van der Drift and Earl Bamber have both raced it.
The team says that “in no way was the test a reaction to the disappointing results from the weekend, and A1 Team New Zealand still holds full confidence in all three drivers (who) are nominated to drive Black Beauty this season.”
The team has yet to decide which of them will drive Black Beauty in the next round at Kyalami, South Africa, on February 20-22.