Sauber GP project is revived

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SAUBER’S four-stroke GP project is definitely back on – and the bike could be tested again within six weeks.

Development of the GP1, which was given its public debut by Niall Mackenzie in Malaysia last October, will continue following a meeting of Sauber bosses in England last week.

Swiss engine developers Sauber split last month with its Malaysian partner Petronas, who had scrapped their GP plans and teamed up instead with Carl Fogarty and SRT Engineering in a multi-million pound World Superbike deal.

That has left the door open for Sauber to get their GP1 motor ready for the 2003 MotoGP series as was originally planned.

Engine designer Osamu Goto is delighted that his project, which was always intended for MotoGP, is back on track. He said: “I can confirm that we are now back working on the four-stroke GP1 project. At the moment we are trying to work out a business plan to help us get the project back on track.

“As you know, our World Superbike engine project, which we were working on, has now been terminated and Petronas’ investment is now going to development of that project with another company. We must now search out a new investor or customer to help fund our GP1 project. We were in England last week discussing potential options but we have the capability to be back on the track fairly soon.”

The prototype GP1 engine was slotted into a chassis built by Harris Performance in Hertfordshire and tested by Mackenzie. It is thought that Harris will now be asked to produce a mark two version of the GP1 for a new round of tests, incorporating a repackaged cooling system, plus revised exhaust system and swingarm.

Mackenzie said: ” All I can say is that I’ve been asked if I’ll be available at some time in the near future to test the bike again. I’ve not been given any details but it’s clear the project is not dead. There’s a good chance that we’ll see it on track again very soon. ”

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff