GT1 World Champions Honoured at FIA Gala
The FIA honoured the 2010 FIA GT1 World Champions during the FIA Gala in Monaco, surrounded by the other champions from world motorsport. After thirteen successful seasons, 2010 saw the FIA GT Championship become the FIA's newest World Championship, run exclusively for GT1 cars.
Vitaphone Racing Team secured the Teams title with its Maserati MC 12 cars, adding the FIA GT1 World crown to the five successive FIA GT titles the team won from 2005 to 2009 and finishing ahead of Hexis AMR, who moved into the Vice Champions position at the last round by becoming the only team to have both their cars on the podium in a Championship Race in 2010. Three race wins helped secure third place in the Teams Championship for Reiter.
Eight different teams, representing all six manufacturers entered in the championship, claimed either a Qualifying or Championship Race victory this year, with the Drivers' title going down to the final event at San Luis in Argentina, where Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels added the World Championship to the three FIA GT titles they won together in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Thomas Mutsch, driving a Matech Competition Ford GT, claimed the Vice Champions position with the assistance of Romain Grosjean in the first five races and then 2009 FIA GT2 Champion Richard Westbrook for the second half of 2010. Third place in the championship was claimed by Frederic Makowiecki with a double win in a Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9 in the last round in Argentina with fellow Frenchman Yann Clairay.
Michael Bartels said:
"This championship is not comparable with the last few championships. Last year we had one or two teams we were up against but this year we had a top level of drivers and teams pushing us all the time. We had new rules to adapt to, and we had to redevelop the car for the 2010 regulations. In Abu Dhabi and Silverstone we were not so competitive but we kept our minds focused and concentrated and we took our chances when they came. One of the advantages we had as drivers was that Andrea and I know each other so well, we know when to push and when to take it easy and bring the car home. We have a blind understanding between us. No one is jealous of the other when one is quickest and the other way around. We do our job in a very disciplined style and we get the rewards."
Andrea Bertolini agreed:
"It was really long season with two races each weekend. The team was very focused, they check every detail, they are very professional about what they do and this makes the job for Michael and me that little bit easier because we know when we get in the car everything will work the best it can. It's a really exciting format. It's one of the nicest championships I have been involved with; it is a really top-class show. To win this championship with the new format is very satisfying. Even when we had weight like 40 kilos we scored points and kept our challenge going. For me, working with Maserati is like being with a family. They give me the motivation just like I had with my time with Ferrari.
"It has been a pleasure again to work with the Vitaphone team. They are a great group every member of the team is very motivated to do the best job they can. They deserve this championship for being professional for the whole season and doing a great job to have the car well prepared and for their great work in the pit stops."