Wednesday, February 27 2013
A new Avon Tyres British GT Championship team aims to encourage African people into motorsport and has recruited former A1GP race winner and GP2 racer Adrian Zaugg to drive its Audi R8.
Team Nigeria Racing Eagle is the sixth new team to join the championship this season and is masterminded by Ribi Adeshokan, who has a desire to develop motorsport into an industry for Africa. After initial plans to run a team in the A1GP single-seater championship were halted when the series folded, Adeshokan investigated alternative options for the project.
The team has enlisted crack GT squad United Autosports as their technical partner, but plan to eventually have a wholly African team engineering the R8 LMS, and an upgrade of the car to Ultra-specification is already in preparation.
South African Zaugg's single seater career saw him race with the Red Bull Junior Team and in addition to wins in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, he has competed in Formula BMW, Formula Renault and Renault World Series 3.5 before a switch to sportscars last year. He entered races in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship with Bonaldi Motorsport, taking three pole positions and a win.
Zaugg will be joined by 29 year-old Cameroonian Christian Ebong, who steps up to GTs having raced a Peugeot Spider 207 on the Le Mans Series bill in addition to a Seat Leon in the DTM supporting German Seat Supercopa Championship. He is also a French Rallycross Champion.
Explaining his aims for the project Adeshokan said: "Our vision is to use the British GT platform to engage with people of an African origin who are emotionally attached to Africa and have a sense of belonging and pride in their country. Ultimately we want them to take pride in our team and support us like they would an African sportsperson at the Olympics. We are hugely excited at the prospect of racing in British GT and are focusing all of our energy on making this year a success for Nigeria Racing Eagle and for the African people."
"They're a serious team with an interesting proposition and a lot of energy and desire to succeed," added British GT Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici. "The Audi will allow the team to establish themselves and understand how the series works, and in Adrian and Christian they have a promising driver line-up. Having teams from overseas such as AFCorse, Vita4one Team Italy and rhinos Leipert is a compliment to what we are trying to achieve here in the UK with British GT and Nigeria Racing Eagle brings interest from one of the most diverse continents in the world, something which can only benefit us as we strive to expand awareness of the series."
The Avon Tyres British GT Championship's 2013 season opens at Oulton Park on 30 March/1 April and visits Snetterton on 15/16 June and Brands Hatch on 10/11 August. Tickets are available from £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click the links.