The teams and drivers taking part in the 2006 season of the FIA GT Championship will be back in action at another favourite circuit : Brno ! The 5.4 km circuit, which winds its way through the beautiful Czech countryside, has been described as 'a...
The teams and drivers taking part in the 2006 season of the FIA GT Championship will be back in action at another favourite circuit : Brno ! The 5.4 km circuit, which winds its way through the beautiful Czech countryside, has been described as 'a mini Spa', and is renowned for producing some of the most exciting FIA GT races ever ! The first race of the season saw just how close the various cars are matched, with four different brands in the top four in qualifying, and three different makes on the overall podium : Maserati, Saleen and Aston Martin. The GT2 battle also looks like being fascinating, with six Ferrari 430 GT2 cars up against the numerous Porsche 996 GT3 cars which have dominated the category for the last two years. In G2, the Gillet Vertigo will be competing again. For Brno, the local drivers will be keen to claim a good result. Jarek Janis started and finished the Silverstone race in second place, in the Zakspeed Saleen S7 he shares with Sascha Bert. Knowing Brno extremely well, he will be keen to try and climb up to the top step of the podium, which eluded him in Britain. Vonka Racing missed the first round, but will be in action for their home race in Brno. As well as the drivers from the Czech Republic, the teams from Slovakia and Austria will also be celebrating their nearest race to home. ARC Bratislava Slovakia's Konopka and Rosina will be hoping for a good result on familiar territory, while Race Alliance's two Aston Martin DBR9 cars will be hoping for a better race than in Silverstone, when both cars retired. Renauer Motorsport claimed second place in Brno last year; a repeat performance would be most welcome! As well as the FIA GT Championship, the Brno Supercar 500 meeting will include rounds of the Maserati Trofeo, the FIA Historic Racing Championships, the BMW 1 Challenge and the CP Skoda Octavia Cup.
WHAT THE DRIVERS THINK...
"I think Brno is one of the most technical circuits, where you need to sacrifice your speed into the corners, to get out with the maximum possible speed for the next straight, sometimes uphill, sometimes downhill." Andrea Piccini, Phoenix Racing
"The weather is not always good, but we always put on a good show in Brno. We often see some excellent close fighting unlike any other circuit. It is also an interesting place to visit." Christophe Bouchut, B-Racing Lamborghini Murcielago
"Brno will be my home race and there are always a lot of my fans, family and friends there. I've always started well there, but I've not managed to finish in the top three in the last two years." Philipp Peter, Race Alliance Aston Martin DBR9
"Brno has a lot of up- and downhill sections, which means the track is very hard on the brakes It is very difficult to set up your car as you have very little traction after a few laps. The long corners have the tendency to under steer. Finding the best compromise for the race is crucial," Anthony Kumpen, GLPK Carsport Corvette.
PRESS CONFERENCE IN BRNO
A press conference was held in Brno on Tuesday May 16th, to launch the Brno Supercar 500. The two Czech drivers taking part in this year's FIA GT Championship were in attendance : Jarek Janis, who finished second in Silverstone with the Zakspeed Saleen, and Jan Vonka, who missed the first race, but whose Vonka Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RS will be making its 2006 debut on home ground.
"The car is prepared well and I think that we could stay in front in Brno," Jarek Janis explained. "The only problem is that we have the weight handicap from Silverstone. We have to deal with this. And we are not the only ones with weight handicap. I am really looking forward to driving in Brno, it is my home race, which makes it a bit more difficult for me. Everybody wants to win in front of his home crowd. On the other hand, I will do my best - which I do everywhere. Brno is very fast, there are many long straights, some of them are uphill some of them downhill. I am afraid that the weight handicap will come to light on these ups and downs, but we will push hard. Brno is an aerodynamic circuit, which suits our car. Tyres will be very important here - Saleen is not so aggressive on its tyres in comparison with the Maserati or Aston Martin cars, but it depends on the weather as well. Also pit stops may become crucial."
Jan Vonka commented : "After our start in Silvestone was cancelled because of some technical problems, I am really looking forward to starting the new season in Brno. The track itself is very nice. It reminds me rather of the days when I took part in hill climb races. On the other hand, I am usually quite successful here in Brno. This year I haven't driven many laps on this race track yet. I will have to use all the practices to jog my memory and to try to keep pace with the championship."
A LAP OF THE BRNO CIRCUIT WITH JAREK JANIS
"The first corner is quite long and fast and it is necessary to go fast and be very careful. After this corner there is a long uphill straight and then two relatively fast corners before the downhill straight leading to the Stadium. The first right corner is very difficult, because after the downhill straight it is hard to break. Then there is a quite fast right corner, which is good to drive through on the inner side, because it is followed by a long left corner, where it is necessary to slow down and keep the car on the inner side of the track.
The Stadium is followed by two fast corners: left and right. It is better to concentrate on the right corner here to have a good position for the next downhill straight. After this, there is a long right corner, which is good to pass on the inside and brake relatively late. Then there is a chicane -- in this kind of chicane, the second corner is more important, because after this chicane there is a long uphill straight, where it is necessary to go really fast. On the hill there are the last two corners -- left and right -- and the onto the home straight."