The contract for engines to be used in the new A1 Grand Prix single-seater series – the brainchild of two SA businessmen and a Dubai national – has been awarded to the company that supplies the FIA Formula 3000 engine.

The contract for engines to be used in the new A1 Grand Prix single-seater series – the brainchild of two SA businessmen and a Dubai national – has been awarded to the company that supplies the FIA Formula 3000 engine.

After six companies submitted proposals, the contract was handed to UK specialist Zytek Engineering for the manufacture of the all-aluminium 3,4-litre V8 powerplants.

The series’ general manager, Stephen Watson, said: "We took several factors into consideration for the final decision on the engine. It made sense to use a V8 rather than taking a V6 to its limits and compromising reliability.”

South African Watson is an ex-Formula 3000 racer and F1 test driver, while Brian Menell, his partner, Tony Teixera, and Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai provided the investment for the A1 Grand Prix.

Thirty cars have been ordered from British manufacturer Lola and the series’ team slots will be sold on a franchise basis to individual countries. The race calendar will span November and February, traditionally known as the F1 “off-season”. The series will be staged in 24 countries, including SA, next year and drivers and sponsors must be indigenous to the nationality of the team.