DESTINATION UNKNOWN The FIA GT1 World Championship heads into the relatively unknown this weekend when it descends upon the Navarra Circuit in northwest Spain. The track at Los Arcos is a brand new venue so most of the GT1 drivers and teams ...
The FIA GT1 World Championship heads into the relatively unknown this weekend when it descends upon the Navarra Circuit in northwest Spain. The track at Los Arcos is a brand new venue so most of the GT1 drivers and teams haven't even seen it yet, let alone driven on the circuit.
Navarra is an important event for the Sumo Power GT team, currently sitting in third place in the Team's World Championship and just 10 points shy of second place.
"Our job at Navarra is to take good, solid points finishes in each of the two races," said the Sumo Power Team Principal, James Rumsey. "Second place in the championship is there for the taking. It's hard to predict the outcome for this weekend as we haven't been to Navarra before. We've seen all the usual information so we have a good idea of what we need to do in terms of setting up the Nissan GT-Rs but none of us will know our true pace until Saturday afternoon."
The drivers of the No.23 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R have been very busy since the races at Portimao but for very different reasons.
"I went to Japan to see my wife Kimiko beat Maria Sharapova at the Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament!" said a very proud Michael Krumm. "I also spent time with my Japanese Nissan friends at 'Motor Sport Japan' and did some training in the heat so I will be prepared for the races in South America."
"I think I've done 15 loads of washing, cooked 25 meals, dropped off and picked up the kids from school and nursery every day and built some IKEA furniture," said Peter Dumbreck. "House husband^amy other job!"
The school run must be fun if your dad is a racing driver but Peter and Michael, along with Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes, have a hard weekend ahead of them at Navarra. They need to quickly learn a new track and try to gather the points needed for the teams' championship campaign.
"I've heard that a lot of the corners are second gear at Navarra," said Dumbreck. "This isn't ideal for the Nissan GT-R as it prefers the smooth medium and high-speed corners. Having said that though we have a few things to try out and, as we have been running in the top six at most circuits, I hope we can be there in Spain as well."
Swiss Racing Team will be hoping to get to grips with the Navarra track as quickly as possible and they are definitely well-prepared for the task ahead.
"It has been good to have a break in the schedule since Portimao," explained Team Principal, Othmar Welti. "The cars go straight into freight for South America after the Navarra race so it was important for us to spend time preparing the cars for the final three races as there will be little opportunity for this from now on. Navarra is a new track for the GT1 teams and drivers. We have seen diagrams but we don't yet know how the Nissan GT-R will fare on this circuit. It will be a surprise for us but we're hoping it will be a nice surprise!"
"I've just been reading 'A Lap of Navarra with Christoffer Nygaard' on GT1World.com," said Henri Moser, clearly doing his pre-race homework. "He says he doesn't think the track will suit the Aston Martin, which normally means it will suit us. Who knows though! I've had a look at the track layout and it looks quite slow but you really have to drive it to make a judgement. Slow stop-go corners don't suit us but slow ones where you can go in hard are good for us. It's a step into the unknown so ask me again on Saturday!"
Navarra is a two-day event so free practice, pre-qualifying and qualifying all take place on Saturday with both races taking place on Sunday. A full broadcast schedule is attached to this email.
LUCAS ORDONEZ ON NAVARRA
Spain has seen a huge increase in interest in motorsport in recent years, helped in no small part by Fernando Alonso's successes in Formula One. Although none of the Nissan GT1 drivers are Spanish there is some local talent on the team. Spaniard Lucas Ordonez was the first winner of the Nissan GT Academy and now races a GT4 Nissan 370Z.
"Not many people have raced at Navarra yet," said Ordonez. "But I have to say the layout of the circuit looks amazing. It is very technical and also has some good overtaking points. This is what I know about it:
"The first sector is the fastest part of the track. Turns 1 and 2 are very light and the GT1s will go through these at high speeds. Then there's a right-hand hairpin where you're braking all the way through, which makes this a really difficult corner but it's a good overtaking point. In the second sector the GT1 drivers will find difficult corners like turns 5 and 6, which are blind. The back straight is not too long but again has a hard braking point at the end, which provides an overtaking opportunity. Then, in my opinion, comes the most technical corners where you need to brake late but also have good speed on the exit. The last corner will be also a good overtaking point but you need a lot of traction and speed at the exit for the main straight."