Friday, March 8, 2013

Audi-powered Nigerian team sign-up to British GT campaign

British GT Press Release

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship welcomes a sixth new team to the series this year in Team Nigeria Racing Eagle, a new racing project from the African continent, fielding an Audi R8 LMS in the GT3 category.

The project is the mastermind of Ribi Adeshokan, who has a desire to engage African people into motorsport and develop motorsport into an industry for Africa. After initial plans to run a team in the A1GP single-seater championship were halted when the series folded, Adeshokan investigated alternative options for the Nigeria Racing Eagle project.

Based on a number of factors, including the popularity of super cars with Africa’s more affluent community, GT racing and in particular GT3 seemed an obvious choice. This year the team appointed Leeds-based United Autosports as their technical partner, but plan to eventually have a wholly African team engineering the R8 LMS, with a mid-season move to an R8 LMS ultra already in preparation.

Drivers for the season include 26 year-old South African, Adrian Zaugg, and 29 year-old Cameroonian, Christian Ebong. Both drivers are in preparation for the season start at Oulton Park in just over a month on the Easter Weekend (30 March – 1 April).

Zaugg is the more experienced of the pair and comes to British GT following a successful single-seater career that has seen him race in Formula BMW, Formula Renault Cup, Renault World Series 3.5, GP2 and A1GP where he clinched three wins for Team RSA. The South African former Red Bull Junior Team driver is familiar with sports cars having contested five races of the 2012 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship with team Bonaldi Motorsport, taking three pole positions and a win at the last round at the Navarra circuit in Spain.

Ebong has had a number of outings in a Peugeot Spider 207 supporting the Le Mans Series, and regular outings in a Seat Leon in the DTM supporting German Seat Supercopa Championship. Prior to this, Ebong was successful in the French Rallycross Championship, becoming Vice Champion in his first season in 2001, and lifting the Championship title the following year. After a short break from racing to secure finances, Ebong returns to motorsport as a key part of the Nigeria Racing Eagle team.

Ribi Adeshokan, Team Owner:
"Our vision is to use the British GT platform to engage with people of an African origin who are emotionally attached to Africa and have a sense of belonging and pride in their country. We want to introduce these people to motorsport and show those them that there is more to the sport than Formula 1. Ultimately we want them to take pride in our team and support us like they would an African sportsperson at the Olympics.  We’re also working on bringing British GT to African television as week seek to attract corporate sponsors, including international brands with interest in Africa or those wanting to establish themselves further in Africa, helping them to promote and market their brands. We are hugely excited at the prospect of racing in British GT and are focusing all of our energy on making this year a success for Nigeria Racing Eagle and for the African people

Benjamin Franassovici, Championship Manager:
“The arrival of Ribi and the Nigeria Racing Eagle team to British GT has been in discussion for some time now. They’re a serious team with an interesting proposition and a lot of energy and desire to succeed. The Audi will allow the team to establish themselves and understand how the series works, and in Adrian and Christian they have a promising driver line-up. Having teams from overseas such as AF Corse, Vita4one Team Italy and rhinos Leipert is a compliment to what we are trying to achieve here in the UK with British GT and Nigeria Racing Eagle brings interest from one of the most diverse continents in the world, something which can only benefit us as we strive to expand awareness of the series.”

Photo credit: Racing Eagle