Firman to Drive for Ireland

Former Jordan Grand Prix driver Ralph Firman will return to single-seater motorsport as Ireland's main driver in A1 Grand Prix

Firman will make his debut for the team at the series next official test session at Paul Ricard, France on August 24-26, when the squad will also announce a reserve driver.

The announcement comes as a surprise, because the 30 year-old was part of the four-driver shoot-out for the British team. However Firman's parentage allows him to represent Ireland, because his mother comes from Newbridge in County Kildare. Firman also helped develop A1 Grand Prix's prototype car.

"I have always been very proud of my Irish heritage," Firman said, "and am delighted to be selected by A1 Team Ireland to represent the country. I know how good the car is to drive and it really does provide a complementary alternative to Formula One. Since driving for Jordan in Formula One, I have been determined to get back into the top of international motor racing."

The Irish team will be run by ex-Jordan and Jaguar marketing chief Mark Gallagher.

"This is a momentous day for Irish motorsport," said Belfast born Gallagher. "The A1 Grand Prix series promises to be innovative and exciting. I have no doubt that motorsport and sporting fans in Ireland and around the world will be fascinated by it. Having worked in Formula One for many years, I have been very impressed with the detailed planning and professionalism that has gone into the creation of A1 and have no doubt that this will be a prestigious world wide event."

The 12 round 'World Cup of Motorsport' begins on September 25 at Brands Hatch.

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