We simply must spend more time going over this new A1 Grand Prix racing business. Here's what we do know, so far. 1) Every car uses the same 3.4-liter V8, producing 520hp. Yes, good. We loves us some horsepower, and little V8s give us the tinglies. 2.) Every car uses the same carbon-fiber bodywork, the same aluminium honeycomb chassis, the same six-speed sequential tranny and the same 370/660R13s tires. Seems very democratic, no? No moneybags racing teams buying their way into pole position. Just pure, hot driver-on-driver action, just as Abraham Lincoln would have intended if he could have somehow known auto racing, or autos particularly, would someday exist.
But what may be the best detail about A1 racing is the steering-wheel-mounted PowerBoost system — a feature so latently obvious it'll have videogamers from Boston to Bangalore smacking their foreheads in disbelief. Each driver gets a limited amount of time to use the booster, which temporarily changes the engine's parameters to add 30hp — making near-constant changes in running order likely. For a quick commentary, we turn to one blogger at The Tri Force.
It s a videogame, legitimised, which could only be bettered by allowing some bored drivers to race around the track the wrong way, just to fuck everything up for everyone.
The A1 Grand Prix season starts on Sept 25, with the first race at Britain's Brands Hatch racetrack. [Thanks to Nick for the tip.] [Update: We should point out that a push-to-pass button was implemented over at Champ Car this season, which boosts power by a more potent 50 horsepower. Using that system, developed by Ford-Cosworth, each driver has 60 seconds' worth of power boosts and can use the extra power whenever they want, while a telemetry system allows everyone from a driver's own crew, other teams, spectators along the course, and people watching the race on TV to see how much PtP capability each driver has left.]