The A1 Grand Prix series, which enjoyed its debut season last year, has announced that it intends to upgrade its one-design racecars to a level closer to that of Formula 1. (The current A1GP Lola/Zytek is shown at right, in last week's group test at Silverstone.)

The current Lola chassis will be replaced by a bigger and more aerodynamic Lola unit, while the Zytek 3.4-liter V8 will get a considerable boost, from the current 520 hp to around 720 hp. With the driver-actuated power boost feature of the A1GP cars, that figure will likely peak at about 750 hp, roughly equivalent to the rev-limited V8 engines mandated by the new F1 rules package.

While A1GP races in the F1 "off-season" - the 2007/2008 series begins October 1 in the Netherlands - there is no doubt that the self-proclaimed "World Cup of Motorsport" will be competing with the F1 championship for the hearts and minds of motorsports fans worldwide.

A1GP obviously has a long way to go to build up a TV audience and international fan base to rival that of Formula 1, but the series' first year boasted big fields and entertaining racing - something that F1 has lately struggled to provide.


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