In preparation for the 6th round of the LG Super Racing Weekend series, which will take place between July 24th and 27th at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, a Press Conference was hosted by RACE on July 8th. This was held in the context...
In preparation for the 6th round of the LG Super Racing Weekend series, which will take place between July 24th and 27th at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, a Press Conference was hosted by RACE on July 8th. This was held in the context of an official Test Day for the cars taking part in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, round 6 of the FIA GT Championship. Among those to speak were Marcello Lotti, Promoter of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, Stephane Ratel, Promoter of the FIA GT Championship, and Jean-François Chaumont, of RACE.
The Belgian rounds of the FIA European Touring Car Championship will be held on the Saturday before the start of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. "We are happy with the progress of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, which is now in the second year with the new rules," Lotti said. "After the first five meetings of the new season, the drivers in the top five positions are divided by only ten points, which proves that the balance is correct. We currently have three manufacturers involved, with Alfa Romeo, BMW and SEAT, with others interested in joining next year. For example, Peugeot has homologated the new 307 four-door saloon, and we are also waiting for the new Skoda."
"Two years ago, we had less than 40 cars for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa," Ratel said. "We had 50 cars last year, and over 60 this year. Although the victory has gone to the Vipers in the past two years, this season the Ferrari cars have proved their ability, the Lister Storm finished second here last year, and the Saleen cars are strong and fast. We have both the quantity, the quality, and the sporting interest, with the prospect of an extremely open race." A change this year means that all the cars which are homologated in the FIA GT Championship must be entered in the corresponding category, meaning that all Chrysler Viper cars must run in the GT class, while Porsche 996 GT3-RS cars must run in N-GT, rather than in the National GT Class or the Single Make Series category. What about the future ? "We are coming to the close of the first chapter of this collaboration," Ratel concluded. "When something works well, you carry on with it !"
Jean-François Chaumont agreed with him. "When we moved over to GT cars in 2001, we said that it would take us three years to present a full and well-balanced grid, and I believe we have reached our objectives, both on the quantity - with 61 cars on the entry list, we have reached the limit in terms of numbers for a 24-hours event - and on the quality. Although we may have only gained a few cars compared to 2002, the overall level is much higher than last year, when we only had 13 cars entered in the top category. And if the main makes are the same as in 2002, the battle between Chrysler, Lister and Ferrari looks much more balanced. One of the novelties for this year is the presence of the Saleen, which is in the position Lister held last year, that of the outsider. In more general terms, we have what is uncontestably the circuit's most important meeting of the 2003 season, due to the quality of the grid for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, but also due to an excellent programme, with two rounds of the extremely close-fought FIA European Touring Car Championship, the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup, the Renault Sport Clio Trophy, Mini Cooper Challenge, European Alfa Challenge and both Belgian and European rounds of the Renault Sport Clio Cup, with a field of nearly 70 cars ! "
The test day was extremely well attended, with around 30 cars present at the Belgian circuit. Lister Racing was there with two cars, as was Team Maranello Concessionaires. Both the Graham Nash Motorsport and Konrad Saleen S7-R cars were seen in action, as well as the Henrik Roos and Zakspeed Chrysler Viper GTS-R. In N-GT, both Team Maranello Concessionaire Ferrari 360 Modena cars, and one JMB Racing car were there, as well as the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS. Racing in the National GT Category, Perspective Racing and Rollcentre both had their Mosler cars out on the track.