Sky Sports will become the UK’s first broadcaster to screen live coverage of the brand new A1 Grand Prix motor racing series, starting in autumn 2005. Full coverage from each round of the international FIA sanctioned series, which pits identical single-seater cars against each other, will be broadcast exclusively live, with practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.

Announcing the deal, Sky Sports Managing Director Vic Wakeling said: ‘We have been sold on the concept of a genuine test of driving skills which, of course, A1 Grand Prix is designed to provide – and we are delighted to be involved from the beginning.’

‘It has the added attraction of providing us with more international sport – all live – throughout the winter months.’ His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, the brainchild behind the series, said: ‘We are pleased and extremely proud to welcome Sky Sports on board as our first broadcast licensee. Sky’s innovative coverage and support will make A1 Grand Prix truly ’must see’ viewing in the United Kingdom.‘

A1 Grand Prix is a brand new motor racing series which sees identical cars compete against each other in a true test of driving skill. Each team will be a franchise of A1 Grand Prix and the series will marry a unique business model with high speed motorsport.

The series will be a World Cup of motorsport with up to 30 franchises available limited to only one per country. Each national team franchise will be represented by a driver native to that country, thereby creating strong local support and presence for the team. Races take place during the European winter in countries enjoying summer weather conditions such as Dubai, Bahrain, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and South America.

The cars are identical single-seater A1 racing cars built by Lola and powered by a 520bhp A1 Grand Prix V8 Engine The idea is to provide a level playing field with no driver aids allowed.

Each three day racing weekend will have the same format. Day one, a Friday, will be free practice, day two further practice followed by qualifying and day three a 15 to 20 minute sprint race which will determine the grid positions for the longer main event, which will endure for between 50 to 60 minutes. Sky Sports is the UK’s leading broadcaster of motorsport, broadcasting over 1500 hours of action a year. In addition to a variety of magazine programmes, Sky Sports shows live coverage of the Indy Racing League, British Superbikes and the Skybet Elite League.

For further information, please call:

Bobby Morse
Buchanan Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 7802 875 227

Ann Bradshaw
Tel: +44 (0) 1780 781234

Richard Dorfman
A1 Grand Prix
Tel: +44 (0) 7747 628 888

Kate Stevens/ Katie Drew
Sky Sports Publicity
Tel: +44 (0) 207 800 4254