The Matech Racing Ford GTs show off their performances A few weeks after the first victory of a Ford GT Matech Racing in the FIA-GT3 European championship in the streets of Bucharest, all the protagonists of this competition with a great future...
The Matech Racing Ford GTs show off their performances
A few weeks after the first victory of a Ford GT Matech Racing in the FIA-GT3 European championship in the streets of Bucharest, all the protagonists of this competition with a great future found themselves back on the rectilinear Monza circuit, where engines are on full power for 70% of the distance! As a direct outcome of their success on Rumanian soil, these superb Fords are now fitted with harder tyres, resulting in increasing the lap time by some 7 tenths to a full second.
Thomas Mutsch and Martin Bartek on the one hand, Romain Bera and Stefan Van Campenhoudt on the other, all were fully determined to demonstrate the potential of these muscle cars built and prepared by Matech. Even if the Corvettes quite clearly enjoyed substantial power allowing them to monopolise the top rungs of the rankings as from the free practice sessions, the #43 and #44 beasts progressed with each lap, with Romain Bera finally recording the 8th best lap time with a view to the first of the two morning heats, whilst Thomas Mutsch clinched 6th place on the 2nd start grid.
During the morning heat Mutsch and Bartek were well on their way to another top 10 result when they were penalised with a Stop & Go. "Small mistake within the team," admits Christian Schumacher, who looks after the daily running of Matech Racing. "We had set off our stopwatch a little too soon at the beginning of the race, and Martin Bartek came in as soon as the refuelling window had opened... Unfortunately it was 22 seconds too early, hence the penalty relegating the #43 into 15th place. On the other hand the #44 went off track resulting in small stones becoming lodged in the engine compartment. Seeing the limited time available between the two heats, we checked as much as possible, tested out everything, but as Stefan Van Campenhoudt was going out on to the track for the second heat he noticed that the engine was not revving up. Retirement was unavoidable."
As from that moment Thomas Mutsch and Martin Bartek were Matech Racing's last assets at the end of the afternoon, and very quickly the German was up in 4th place. A performance Bartek had every intention of retaining until the fall of the chequered flag. "After the pitstop Martin found himself in 5th place, and to be honest we were hoping to see the Safety-Car put in an appearance," Christian Schumacher admits. "Our cars are homologated with a 100 litres fuel tank, allowing them to compete in races at an international level, but also in national championships. And we knew that at Monza, with its long straights that the consumption would play a key role. Both the Dodges and Lamborghinis have suffered the same problems." And the height of bad luck for the Ford GT Matech; the precious fuel ran out just as the finish was in sight. "But let's look on the bright side; the performance was there in spite of the harder tyres," Schumacher continued. "Bera clocked the 2nd best time in the race during the first heat and Mutsch the 4th in the second. All this goes to prove that we're on the right track. Let's just say that Lady Luck wasn't with us this weekend."
And as for the rest of the season it will take in a lengthy trip to Brazil for the launch of the national competition reserved for GT3s, and to which the Fords GT Matech have been invited. This will be followed by Brno, in the Czech Republic for the continuation of the European FIA-GT3 competition in September, where this time there will be three Fords present. "And the aim is to create a new strong team, with two Silver drivers", Christian Schumacher concluded. The best is still to come.