Premier1 Grand Prix is a new motorsport
that has strong ties with football
, created by founding president, the entrepreneur
and property millionaire
, Colin Sullivan
. Both motorsport and football have large global television
audiences, which offers many advantages to corporate sponsors
of both sports, and market research
has shown that 40% of football season ticket
holders have an keen interest in motor racing.
While the style and speed of the racing will be similar, Premier1 has many advantages over it's closest rival, Formula 1. The biggest of these are that all of the drivers will have the same car and engine, and all of the slick tyres will come from a single manufacturer. There will be no traction control, anti-lock brakes and launch control. This will put the emphasis on the driver's skill and teamwork, rather than developing better technology through the use of massive budgets.
The cars will have a 6-speed pneumatic semi-automatic paddle-operated sequential gearbox and a 4-litre V10 engine giving in excess of 750 brake horsepower. The total weight of the car and driver will be approximately 650kg. The chassis was to be supplied by Reynard, whose recent bankruptcy has brought delays to the project.
The inital race calendar was not been finalised but it will take place on 15 first class circuits in locations around the world, including Europe, Latin America and Asia, with dates selected to avoid clashes with other major sporting events, especially Formula 1.
The race weekend will have qualifying on Saturday to decide the starting order of 24 to 30 cars for the first of two races held on the Sunday. There will be two 100-mile, or one-hour races, with a 30 minute break between them. In order to attract all age groups, the race weekend will also feature other attractions, such as music concerts, parties and fun fairs, to draw in people from all parts of the football fan base.
Currently, there are more than 30 major football clubs who have expressed an interest in being in the line up for the starting grid of the sport's inaugural race in March 2004. Countries were selected from FIFA and UEFA rankings, with individual teams being selected based on their performance over the last six seasons, together with their fan base in the Premier1 target areas. Contracts are reviewed after three years to allow the top clubs to compete. Football clubs will choose a racing team from a selection of outfits in each country.
So far, the following teams have signed contracts to race: Anderlecht, Leeds United, Benfica, Olympique Lyonnais, Chelsea, Valencia and Feyenoord.
Big-name drivers are expected to compete because of the finacial rewards and the challenge of racing in a single make series. It is expected that drivers will race for football teams from their native counties. To quote racing driver, Johnny Herbert, "I've been a Chelsea fan all my life and it's no secret that I would love to be considered for the drive." Driver selection will be made by the racing team, the football club and Premier1.
Premier1 has the official sanction of the FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, subject to the coordination of the race calendar with other racing events.
Official web site: www.premier1grandprix.com