South Africa's A1 GP bid

South Africa has become the latest country to secure an entry for the new A1 Grand Prix series - the winter one-make championship that is due to start next autumn

South Africa's A1 GP bid

South Africa announced it would become the ninth nation to sign up to compete in the new category, created by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, at a launch in Johannesburg which was attended by the President Thabo Mbeki. The man heading up the South African bid is former freedom fighter and businessman Tokyo Sexwale.

"South Africa has a rich motorsport history and I am delighted it is entering the sport again," said Sheikh Maktoum at the launch. "It is a great opportunity for South Africans to showcase their country and sponsors in the World Cup of Motorsport.

"It is a country that loves all sporting events and I am certain as a nation it will be one of the most enthusiastic in supporting its A1 Grand Prix team and driver. From the moment we announced our series earlier in the year it was obvious one of the first seats to be snapped up was going to be South Africa knowing its great history in motorsport."

Sexwale, who announced in London that the car would carry two numbers - 46664 (Nelson Mandela's prison number), and 2010 (the year South Africa will host the FIFA World Cup) said: "A1 Grand Prix is effectively the world cup of motor racing.

"It will create a new patriotic edge to the sport, and add a new dimension to one of the most popular sports in the world. We fully subscribe to the need to spread motor racing away from its traditional European and North American roots and into the developing world."

Other new editions to the list of nations include Australia (whose bid will include input from 1980 world champion Alan Jones and F3 team owner Alan Docking), Canada and Malaysia. More teams are expected to be announced at A1 GP's next national team launch which will be in the Lebanon.

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