Longin together with Triple H Maserati and Matteo Bobbi for the world title LEUVEN, 15th March 2010. The countdown to the opening race of the first World Championship in history for GT1 cars has started. On 18th April the GT1s will take...
Longin together with Triple H Maserati and Matteo Bobbi for the world title
LEUVEN, 15th March 2010. The countdown to the opening race of the first World Championship in history for GT1 cars has started. On 18th April the GT1s will take to the brilliant Abu Dhabi F1 track for their World Championship, with amongst other drivers Bert Longin. For 2010 Bert Longin is making the changeover from Corvette, the make with which he clinched numerous successes in his career, to Triple H Maserati. For the World Championship FIA GT1 Bert Longin will be teaming up with the successful Italian driver Matteo Bobbi. The latter previously won the FIA GT championship in 2003 and 2006.
"I have in fact just returned from the test days in the south of France, and my choice was fully confirmed. The Triple H Maserati-team is highly professional and at the same time there is room for that family atmosphere which I set great store by. This initial introduction went very smoothly. It's now a question of waiting for the kick off of this new World Championship FIA GT1. I have just discovered the name of my team mate and when I say that it is Matteo Bobbi then you know that we'll be a fast team. Looking forward to the start of the first race together.... ", Bert Longin commented.
The FIA GT is disappearing and will be making room for an FIA international motorsport federation recognised World Championship. "And in fact there are only four of these in the world: The F1, the World Championship Rally (WRC), the World Championship for touring cars (WTCC) and now also the World Championship for GT cars (WK FIA GT1)", manager Evert Maeschalck explained. "It was evident that we needed to be present in this new World Championship with Bert and that in the best possible conditions. At the end of last year we were already in contact with Michael Bartels (the multiple GT champion for Maserati and team manager) and Maserati and these contacts became ever more intense. Bartels confirmed that he wanted to work with Bert, not only because of his driving skills, but also because of his personality and the image which perfectly blends in with the sporting philosophy of the Maserati team. We were obviously taken with this recognition and brought the negotiations up to a higher gear. With the support of our partners CPL Trans, Groeikracht, CMO, Soottech and Van Reeth we finally reached an agreement. Striking in all this was the fact that it wasn't the budgets, but in fact the entire package of driver, personality and so forth which was the deciding factor for Maserati."
Charles Van Decraen, the managing director of CPL Trans is delighted with the collaboration. "We're thrilled that Bert will be competing for a top team, a team where he'll be able to fulfil his ambitions. He truly deserves this. I also look on this as a sort of pinnacle of our collaboration."
In the meanwhile Bert Longin now has two test days under his belt and these tests produced nothing but positive feelings. "Triple H Maserati is one of the two Maserati teams, next to Vitaphone Maserati, in the World Championship. Both teams work very closely together. In fact the team is highly professional, not without losing sight of the human aspects of the sport. Something which especially struck me was the fact that the entire radar work is built around and in function of the drivers, which implies that as driver you only need to drive and provide good feedback for the engineers. They then carry out everything possible in order to set the car up to perfection. I must admit that I have never worked in more professional conditions than these. I also discovered that family atmosphere whereby everyone goes through hell for each another. And that's close to my heart."
The Maserati MC12 is one of the most successful cars in the history of GT racing. This Italian muscle car has already clocked up twenty victories, amongst which three in the 24 Hours of Spa, and in addition the championship has gone to a Maserati driver four times. "My initial impression of the car was highly positive. The MC12 is a pleasure to drive and I'm convinced that our team will be extremely competitive. It clicked immediately with the car", is how Bert Longin summed up his first introduction.
Michael Bartels: "I'm truly pleased that we were able to come to an agreement with Bert Longin, because Bert is the perfect example of professionalism and success. During the previous seasons he has always recorded good results in FIA and I'm therefore convinced that with him we can go after the title in this new World Championship FIA GT1."
When it comes to the level of this new World Championship Bartels is also pretty clear-cut: "It will be a difficult assignment, as were up against more competitors than in previous years, which on the other hand is a good evolution. But having worked hard during the winter recess we're ready to do battle and we look forward to fighting it out in Abu Dhabi."
There are in fact several additional test days prior to the World Championship GT1 kicking off in Abu Dhabi. In the meantime Bert Longin also came to an agreement with the Belgian WRT team and Audi to compete in the Belgian GT Championship (Belcar) together with Fran