In a spectacular event held at the teams state of the art facilities in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool Grand Prix have revealed their new car for the new season: The Liverpool GP Anfield. This car shares many of the same visual cues of the previous season's car, but bears a distinctive new livery, with the Liver Bird prominent on the sidepod and engine cover. This was not the only reveal, as the new generation Vauxhall VXR C20XEF1 engine was revealed to the gathered fans and media, before it was fired up for the first time in public.
The Vauxhall engine is built to the tight specifications required for the F1F Virtual Grand Prix Championship, and produces in excess of 850 horsepower. As promised, it features the iconic Vauxhall 'Red Top', a nod to the road going version of the C20XE which has been fitted to performance Vauxhall's for a long time, and variants of which have been used by Chevrolet in the WTCC. Now, the most iconic of engine names has been borrowed for use in Formula One.
Both drivers were in attendance at the factory, and they took questions from journalists and fans who had come to see the launch.
Karl Beckenbauer was asked about his thoughts for the season ahead, how he sees the car performing and how he is going to look back on the first season: 'I am looking forward to this season greatly, I've seen the car being built from the beginning, and it is very exciting to finally see the culmination of the hard work. I want to get some great finishes this season, perhaps set a target of some podiums and be in the running for victories, and see where it goes from there. Last season, I'm not too happy with. I made some silly errors and made some decisions that ultimately cost me points and, after China, my drive for the remainder of the season. I've spoken to Robert, and he has said he expects better, and I will strive to give him my best. As I was out of the car for the last few races, the team and I decided that I would spend this time in the simulator and testing, which has meant we have made great improvements on the car, particularly towards the end. We hope that going into testing we can get straight onto race runs and generally setting up the car - I know the speed is there.'
Adrien Simon was asked about his chances for 2014, along with his thoughts on the team and again, looking back to last year: 'This year, I want to challenge for the title. Last year, I was part of the leading group at the start of the year, and even though we fell behind in the development race, I still managed to get some good results in the back end of the season. I took two wins, so I know I can get the results I need, and I am fully confident that the car will be capable of taking race wins - the team have done amazingly well with this car, and I've tested the Vauxhall engine out in last year's car, the power delivery is so smooth, and the top vitesse is fantastic. I'm looking forward to this year!'
Team principal Robert Mathershaw addressed the media during the event: 'Last year, we were privileged to gain entry to an elite club. Very few teams get the opportunity to showcase their skills in such an environment of the F1F Virtual Grand Prix Championship. Nic Morley must be applauded for getting this series to such a high profile, and I'm sure this will continue for many seasons to come.
This team have been working since the very start of last season to get this car to the level it is at, and I am immensely proud of them. Nigel Jenkins and his team have worked extremely hard to get the car to perform, and they have optimised it an awful lot, while they have worked with Clive Wilson and his crew to create some innovations in the suspension and chassis department. We have been working with Vauxhall down the road very closely, and this has allowed us to package the car very cleanly, leaving no need for Nigel or Clive to compromise. This excites me an awful lot, but I am just as excited by the work our two race engineers have been doing. Cedric Dumasse will of course be working with Adrien again, and they have been concentrating on the areas Adrien thinks will make him the perfect driver, and we have been able to dedicate some time to creating parts for his car, allowing his smooth driving style to shine through. Niklas Bachmann and Karl have been working hard as well, and they have been concentrating a lot on mentality over the winter months - and I am expecting great things from Karl after this - the speed is obviously there, he got a brilliant pole in Malaysia, and now the mentality is right, we are in a great spot. Due to us taking Karl away from the racetrack and into the development of the Anfield, we have also been able to give him some great developments that will allow him to display his all out style, but we are confident he will perform much better.
Finally, I turn my attentions to 2014. All of last season, we have focussed on this season. 3rd was a brilliant achievement, simply showing how good a job our team did from the very start, allowing us to remain in touch with the front without using any resources developing the car. This year, we have support from Liverpool, something which makes this season all the sweeter, while it allows us to run a much more comfortable operation finances wise. 2014: I want the title, I want the driver's, I want the constructors. We were good last season, we have the potential to be great this season. I believe we were the highest finishing team in the constructors championship last season to have dedicated resources to this year so early, so I hope we can maximise the start of the season before the spending power of Franklin and Team 23 comes through - our financial stability simply makes life easier, we can't use any more than we were allocated last year by the management.
I would just like to say to everyone, I hope you enjoy this season, and I wish all of our competitors the best of luck. See you in Melbourne!