The A1GP series, the self-proclaimed "World Cup of Motorsport," announced its 2006-2007 schedule Friday, as sports fans the world over focused on the conclusion of the soccer World Cup.
A1GP's inaugural season didn't quite draw the crowds (or the TV viewers) of the "real" World Cup, and the venture lost at least $100 million. However, series founder Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai is prepared to ride out the startup phase of his new company, in anticipation of it becoming a multi-billion dollar enterprise down the road.

In competing with established series, A1GP has adopted the "hit 'em where they ain't" business strategy, scheduling its series during its European competition's winter off-season, and targeting new markets eager to enter international motorsports, like India and China. The latter is a perfect example - already host to Formula 1 and MotoGP, China is far from ready to field a team in either of the exclusive international series. But A1GP, with its focus on national teams and its level playing field of equally-prepared racecars is the perfect venue for the newly auto-crazed nation, and the new season sees China getting not one but two A1GP events, in Beijing and Shanghai.

The organizers anticipate fields of 26 to 28 cars for the upcoming season, which opens October 1 at the historic Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands. If the first event is any indication, A1GP can look forward to a strong second season - 100,000 Zandvoort tickets have already been sold.

[Sources: Reuters, A1GP


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