2000/01 Season Preview


by Mike Hogg

As a new season of the Internet Amiga F1 GP Championship dawns upon us, further sweeping changes have been made in the rules to ensure grid sizes are kept at reasonable levels by having the Ace and Pro championships race together and at the same race distance.

On paper the Ace Championship looks like it could be very exciting indeed with Jan Svehlik returning to defend the crown against his nearest challenger from last year, Thomas Bodlien. Svehlik has a team mate in ex-Team Ecosse race winner Mike Hogg this year, making it the first time in it's long history that Bolgani has run two cars while Bodlien brings experianced driver Steffen Diener back to the Championship as his team-mate at Power Tech after a year away. The Constructors Championship should be a close run thing between these two teams.

Also returning to the category is Claudio Martino who tested the waters last year with a few outings, ending up on the podium once. Some international flavour is added to the category with the introduction of the Corgi team with Canadian Darren Crawford at the wheel and the German Amiga Racing squad introduce Benjamin Surig.

The Pro series has a promising entry list this year. Reigning Champion Ian Parkhouse returns with his Phoenix team and he will no doubt pick up strong competiton from the ever competitive BCR Hondas of Mario Sarno and Mark Butler. Other veterans in the class who will be in the hunt for wins include 98/99 Champion Olivier Leroy in the Cyberspeed entry and 97/98 Champion Gary Leighton who has resurected the S.RS Turbo team he won that very Championship with.

Robert Wilson and Beginner class graduate Donald Millican also return to the fold. New faces to the category include the French FDE team of Franck Derouault and the exciting addition of a works-backed Lotus entry to be driven by Jim Spratt and Gerard Volders.

#1 Jan Svehlik, Bolgani

Country: Slovakia
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: 1999/2000 Overall Champion 
Overall Wins: 25
Other Podium Finishes: 9
Overall Pole Positions: 21
Total Points Scored: 9039
Notes: Until this season, Jan was the only driver to ever drive for Bolgani.
After a short but promising debut season, he and the team quickly worked
up through the rankings - 3rd, 2nd and finally 1st last year. A consistent
driver, he rarely makes mistakes and is without a doubt the favourite for
the Ace title. The statistic which says it all is the fact Svehlik has 
entered 51 races and won 25 of them.


#2 Mike Hogg, Bolgani

Country: Scotland
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 4th Overall 99/00
Overall Wins: 1
Other Podium Finishes: 2
Overall Pole Positions: 1
Total Points Scored: 2124
Notes: An also-ran in his debut season, Mike was driver of choice for the 
MSP Engine Development team - first driving their own car then the Team 
Ecosse MSP entry last season. Disjointed entries by the team meant he 
missed a lot of races but with the team folding he has joined Bolgani. A 
fast racer, his weaknesses are qualifying and keeping his concentration 
late in races.


#3 Thomas Bodlien, Power Tech

Country: Germany
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 2nd Overall 99/00
Overall Wins: 1
Other Podium Finishes: 13
Overall Pole Positions: 1
Total Points Scored: 3482
Notes: After a troubled and crash strewn rookie season in the 97/98 
championship, Thomas missed a year and returned in awesome form last season
 - pushing Svehlik hard and eventually finishing second. A consistent 
finisher, his staying power and impressive speed will probably make him 
main challenger to Svehlik for the overall crown again.


#4 Steffen Diener, Power Tech

Country: Germany
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 7th Overall 96/97
Overall Wins: None
Other Podium Finishes: 3
Overall Pole Positions: 1
Total Points Scored: 5769
Notes: Possibly the best driver in the IAF1GPC to never win a race, Steffen
showed his form early in his career, taking pole in Japan and 2nd in the race
in his debut year. Broken seasons in 97/98 and 98/99 kept him at the back 
end of the top ten in the final standings but when he did race he was an 
almost certain top six finisher. After missing a year he returns to race
alongside Bodlien at Power Tech.


#5 Mark Butler, BCR-Honda

Country: England
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 5th In Pro Series 99/00
Class Wins: 1
Class Podium Finishes: 2
Class Pole Positions: 3
Points Scored: 615
Notes: BCR proved they had found an exciting new talent last season when
they introduced Mark, who promptly took a win and two podium finishes in 
his three races. With BCR running a full-time two car squad this year he
gets a full shot at the Championship, and who would bet against him?


#6 Mario Sarno, BCR-Honda

Country: England
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 2nd in Pro Series 99/00
Class Wins: 9
Class Podium Finishes: 4
Class Pole Positions: 6
Points Scored: 2766
Notes: One of the reasons BCR has become so competitive, Mario is a scarily
fast driver, only let down by the occasional mistake during the race itself.
His debut season in 98/99 was particularly impressive as he got straight
on the pace and won three races but his championship charge last year was
halted only by BCR's withdrawl towards the end of the season. Without a 
doubt one of the favourites for the Pro Championship and will more than
likely mix it with some of the Ace drivers.


#7 Olivier Leroy, Cyberspeed

Country: France
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Pro Class Champion 98/99
Class Wins: 4
Class Podium Finishes: 8
Class Pole Positions: 4
Points Scored: 2623
Notes: His debut year in the Pro Class turned out to be a happy one for 
Olivier, a mix of improving and consistent race form aligned with a dwindling
number of opponents taking him to the title. It was a harder fought affair
last season but he still took three podiums on his way to 4th in the 
standings. Could threaten for race wins, certainly for podium finishes.


#9 Darren Crawford, Corgi

Country: Canada    
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: Rookie


#11 Ian Parkhouse, Phoenix

Country: England
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Pro Class Champion 99/00
Class Wins: 7
Class Podium Finishes: 7
Class Pole Positions: 7
Points Scored: 2007
Notes: Certainly a case of lucky number 7, Ian romped to the title last 
season in the Pro Class with 7 poles, 7 wins and 7 other podium finishes.
While it's true he was the only competitor in the last few rounds, his 
pace was electric in his rookie year and he stands a very good chance of
keeping his title this year.


#14 Franck Derouault, FDE

Country: France
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Rookie


#15 Benjamin Surig, Amiga Racing

Country: Germany
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: Rookie


#17 Gary Leighton, S.RS Turbo

Country: England
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Semi-Pro Class Champion 97/98
Class Wins: 11
Class Podium Finishes: 12
Class Pole Positions: 14
Points Scored: 3865
Notes: Gary returns to the series for the fifth time this year, reunited
with the team he won the 97/98 Semi-Pro Championship with. His rookie
season the year before had been short but incredible - in his two outings
before the sponsorship cash dried up he took a first and second place. 
In the last two seasons he has made disjointed returns to the series with
a win in Britain last season helping him to 3rd in the final standings.
A dark horse for the championship.


#23 Donald Millican, Coll Oliver Millican

Country: Scotland
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 2nd in Beginner Series 99/00
Class Wins: 1
Class Podium Finishes: 8
Class Pole Positions: None
Points Scored: 1851
Notes: Despite a careful approach to his early races in his debut year last
season, Donald constantly improved his pace through the year to the point
which he beat eventual Beginner Champion Kevin Walker fair and square at
the Hungarian round. Incredibly consistent, he is always there at the 
finish and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the Pro Class.


#25 Jim Spratt, Lotus

Country: GB (Northern Ireland)
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Rookie


#26 Gerard Volders, Lotus

Country: Netherlands
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: Rookie


#39 Robert Wilson, Powerecoil-2000

Country: England
Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 7th in Pro Series 99/00
Class Wins: None
Class Podium Finishes: 1
Class Pole Positions: None
Points Scored: 284
Notes: Robert's true pace in the category is unknown as his forays into the
Championship have been brief due to other racing commitments.


#42 Claudio Di Martino, CiDiMa Bros

Country: Italy
Category: ACE
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 7th Overall 1995 & 99/00
Overall Wins: None
Other Podium Finishes: 1
Overall Pole Positions: None 
Points Scored: 421
Notes: A very successful campaign in the second running of the Championship
back in 1995 with his family team netted third in the Constructors listings
but then the team returned to national Italian competition, Claudio
returning for a couple of races last year before embarking on another
try with the family this year.

#44 Ron Vance, Mopar

Category: PRO
IAF1GPC Titles: None - Best Finish 6th in Semi Pro Series 97/98
Class Wins: 0
Class Podium Finishes: 3
Class Pole Positions: 0
Total Points: 1779
Notes: Ron is a talented racer who in his rookie season showed immense 
promise with the Mopar team, taking a 2nd place, 3rd place and three 4th
place finishes in a season which was one of the Semi-Pro Series most 
competitive. Learning the ropes, he was usually a top 8 finisher until the
team dropped out with a few rounds remaining. A move to Team Ecosse for
the 98/99 series started off okay but after a decent 7th in the US and a
great 3rd in Brazil the Opel engine deal dried up and the team vanished.
 Mopar are back but the car is going to be heavily delayed, Ron expects 
to take on the drive by the middle of the season.


Mike Hogg. October 2000. All details correct at time of going to press.


Last modified: Friday 09 December 2005 - 22:59