Two fantastic races, two different winners, in each class - the 2005 season is off to a great start. And round three should add yet another dimension to the FIA GT Championship, as the 500 km, three-hour race will be the centenary edition of the...
Two fantastic races, two different winners, in each class - the 2005 season is off to a great start. And round three should add yet another dimension to the FIA GT Championship, as the 500 km, three-hour race will be the centenary edition of the RAC Tourist Trophy, a race with a long and prestigious history.
The FIA GT Championship has raced at Silverstone on six previous occasions, including the very first season in 1997. The last visit was in 2002, when Fabio Babini and Marc Duez were victorious in the Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
However, this time the Championship will run on the shorter International circuit, which is 3. 619 km long. This decision, made by the Silverstone promoters, will ensure an exciting show for the spectators !
Silverstone will also see the Aston Martin DBR9 make its FIA GT Championship debut. As a manufacturer entry, according to the Sporting Regulations of the Championship, the two GT1 cars will not be eligible for points, but the homologated cars will otherwise be fully-fledged competitors for the Tourist Trophy - the UK round of the FIA GT Championship.
To make this round even more special, a photocall and press conference will be held in London on May 10th, with a display of current and historic GT cars in The Mall. It should be an event to remember !
29 cars are due to take part in Sunday's 500 km race. Vitaphone Racing Team will be defending their Championship lead in both GT1 Teams and Drivers classfications, while Gruppe M have a healthy lead in GT2. As well as the two Aston Martin DBR9 and the return of the nr 3 GPC Ferrari of Melo and Belloc, Silverstone should also see two Ferrari 360 Modena cars in GT2, entered by Cirtek and GPC Sport, a Team LNT TVR T400R and Sebah Automotive's Porsche 996. Three Mosler MT900R will compete in G2, including Balfe Motorsport, Cadena GTC and Eclipse Motorsport.
WHAT THE DRIVERS THINK ...
"I've raced on the International circuit many times, and I'm pleased we're using it next week, as I really like it. It's quite a technical little track, with two fast corners at Copse and Bridge and the rest all taken in second or third gear.
There are basically three corners that will be new to the teams who only know the Grand Prix layout, but these require quite a different set-up to the traditional Silverstone one, as it changes it from a fast. flowing track to a tight and twisty one. I really enjoy racing on the International circuit, and I think it should make for a good, exciting race, with relatively short lap times. I would expect the GT1 cars to be lapping around 1:12. In the GruppeM Porsche, we will be aiming for a lap of around 1:20 or 1:21." @_Tim Sugden, Gruppe M Porsche 996 GT3-RS
GT RACING IN THE MALL @Celebrating 100 years of the RAC Tourist Trophy
The third round of the 2005 FIA GT Championship, held at Silverstone on May 15th, will see the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy awarded for the first time in 17 years.
In order to celebrate the centenary of The Tourist Trophy, six cars from the FIA GT Championship will be on display in the centre of London. The Ferrari 550, Maserati MC12, Lister Storm and Porsche 996 GT3 RS will be joined for the first time by the Aston Martin DBR9, which will make its UK racing debut at Silverstone. They will be joined by a number of historic cars as well as the Tourist Trophy itself.
This spectacular event will take place just off The Mall, with the fabulous backdrop of Buckingham Palace, on May 10th, from 11:00 to 12:30. It will be followed by a press conference at The Royal Automobile Club, featuring Stephen Hammerton, the Chairman of the Motoring Committee,The Royal Automobile Club; Stephane Ratel, Chairman of SRO, promoter of the FIA GT Championship, and drivers and team principals from the FIA GT Championship Teams attending.
The History of the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy was first contested on September 14th 1905, in the Isle of Man. John Napier, in an Arrol-Johnston won in the 6 hour race comprising 4 laps, 208 miles, with an average speed of 33.9 mph.
Whilst there were breaks in the Tourist Trophy being contested in the early 20th century and during both world wars, it remained one of the most coveted competitions in the motor sports calendar. Over the years it moved around the country and, in total, has visited 7 circuits: the Isle of Man, Ards and Dundrod in Northern Ireland, Oulton Park, Donington, Goodwood and Silverstone.
The late '50s and early '60s were probably the most significant in the Trophy's history, with some of motor sports' great names winning, including Stirling Moss seven times, Denny Hulme and Tom Walkinshaw four times, Graham Hill and Stuart Graham twice, Innes Ireland, Andrea de Adamich and Derek Bell in the fastest ever race.
In accordance with article 36a of the 2005 FIA GT Championship sporting regulations, it has been confirmed that Aston Martin Racing will be taking part in the Silverstone round.
As a manufacturer entry, the cars will therefore compete in GT1, but will not score points towards the Championship. However, unlike the Maserati in 2004, where the car raced before it had been homologated, the DBR9 is a fully homologated car for the GT1 category.
There will therefore not be a separate overall podium, and should one of the DBR9 cars win, it would be considered the winner in terms of the Championship statistics. Additionally, the overall winner of the race will be awarded the RAC Tourist Trophy, and will have their names inscribed, alongside the likes of Nuovolari, Moss and other great drivers from the past.
ASTON MARTIN TO RACE AT SILVERSTONE
Aston Martin Racing will enter two of their new DBR9 cars in the third round of the 2005 FIA GT Championship at Silverstone. They will run in the GT1 category under numbers 28 and 29.
The car, which won its category in the 12 Hours of Sebring, will be making its UK racing debut in the centenary edition of the Tourist Trophy. One car will be shared by Darren Turner of Britain and David Brabham of Australia, with the second car raced by Pedro Lamy of Portugal and Peter Kox of the Netherlands. All the drivers have prior FIA GT experience, with Lamy and Kox having already competed in the 2005 season. Lamy won the first race of the season at Monza,racing the Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello, while Peter Kox raced for Reiter Engineering's Lamborghini Murciélago.
Darren Turner raced for Team Maranello Concessionnaires in 2003, claiming two class pole positions including the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. David Brabham raced a Panoz in the 1997 and 1998 season for David Price Racing and DAMS. Pedro Lamy is the 1998 FIA GT2 Drivers Champion, having won the title with Olivier Beretta in a Chrysler Viper Oreca. Peter Kox has the most varied career, and the Aston Martin will be the sixth different car he has raced in the FIA GT Championship. He has won races in the BMW McLaren F1 GTR and the Ferrari 550 Maranello, and has also raced a Chrysler Viper, Lamborghini GT and most recently the Murciélago.
A MESSAGE FROM WALTER
"Dear everybody in the FIA GT paddock! Many thanks for your support and all your wishes. I really appreciate and feel very proud to be part of the FIA GT Championship, and after everything, I look forward to seeing you all again soon again. Meanwhile, I will follow all the racing going on and wish you all good luck!
By the way, my doctors and nurses in the hospital have already become big fans of our Championship and watched the last race with me on TV!"
REIGNING CHAMPION FABRIZIO GOLLIN TO DRIVE FOR LARBRE
It has been announced that reigning FIA GT Champion Fabrizio Gollin will be driving for Larbre Competition this weekend, in the nr 11 Ferrari 550 Maranello. Gollin will partner Gabriele Gardel , his regular team-mate Pedro Lamy being in action for Aston Martin during the Tourist Trophy.
Gollin, 30 years old from Italy, won the GT Drivers Championship with BMS Scuderia Italia last year with his long-time team-mate, Luca Cappellari He drove a Ferrari 550 Maranello in 2003 and 2004, accumulating four pole positions and six wins, including the 2004 Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. Prior to that, he raced for Carsport Holland, in a Chrysler Viper. He is currently racing in Grand Am in the United States of America.
The nr 11 car, driven by Gardel and Lamy, won the first round in Monza. For Silverstone, the car will only have 10 kg penalty weight, having lost 30 kg due to its fifth place finish in Magny-Cours. Gardel was Gollin's team-mate at BMS Scuderia Italia last year, when he raced alongside Matteo Bobbi.
"I hope to have a good race, to score some points and to show the Ferrari 550 is still competitive, as we did in Monza," Gardel said.
The FIA GT Championship has visited Silverstone on six occasions - at least five previous winners will be on the grid on Sunday to take part in the RAC Tourist Trophy, the British round of the FIA GT Championship. They include Peter Kox, winner here in 1997 and Pedro Lamy, GT2 winner in 1998 (Aston Martin), Karl Wendlinger, who won in 1999 (JMB Racing), Christophe Bouchut, a winner in 2000 in N-GT and overall in 2001 (Russian Age Racing) and Fabio Babini, winner here in 2002(Vitaphone Racing Team).
PETER KOX / ROBERTO RAVAGLIAvBMW MCLAREN F1 GTR
GT2 : JUSTIN BELL / TOMMY ARCHER - CHRYSLER VIPER ORECA
Rain stopped play back in 1997. Although the Mercedes CLK was leading when the red flags came out, the result was declared at the end of lap 97, which gave the win to the Italo-Dutch pairing of Peter Kox and Roberto Ravaglia. In GT2, Bell and Archer were victorious ahead of the Roock Racing Porsche.
MARK WEBBER / BERND SCHNEIDER MERCEDES CLK
GT2 : OLIVIER BERETTA / PEDRO LAMY - CHRYSLER VIPER ORECA
Webber and Schneider took their first win of the '98 season, in a race led early on by the Porsche AG cars. The DAMS Panoz , driven by David Brabham, led an FIA GT race for the first-ever time. Pedro Lamy and Olivier Beretta were victorious in GT2; the duo went on to win the title that year.
KARL WENDLINGER / OLIVIER BERETTA - CHRYSLER VIPER TEAM ORECA
A 500 mile race around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, for the British Empire Trophy, was dominated by the Chrysler Viper cars, with a one-two-three-four led by the two Chrysler Viper Team Oreca cars. Wendlinger and Beretta went on to win the 1999 Championship.
JAMIE CAMPBELL-WALTER / JULIAN BAILEY - LISTER STORM
N-GT : BOUCHUT / GOUESLARD LARBRE PORSCHE 996
The 2000 race was run in conjunction with the European Le Mans Silverstone round, which was held the day before. Victory went to that year's eventual Champions in both classes, with the Lister Storm winning the GT class, ahead of the Carsport and Paul Belmondo Vipers. In N-GT, Christophe Bouchut and Patrice Goueslard took the victory, ahead of the RWS and Pennzoil teams.
C BOUCHUT / JP BELLOC - LARBRE COMPETITION CHRYSLER VIPER
N-GT : TERRIEN/PESCATORI JMB RACING FERRARI 360 MODENA
A close and incident-packed race saw eventual champions Bouchut and Belloc win in Silverstone, despite carrying 100kg in their Chrysler Viper. They inherited the win after the leading Lister Storm retired due to damage sustained in an earlier accident. The N-GT win went to David Terrien and Christian Pescatori in the JMB Ferrari 360; both the Silverstone winners went on to take the titles that year in the GT and N-GT categories.
FABIO BABINI / MARC DUEZ PAUL BELMONDO RACING VIPER
N-GT : PESCATORI/MONTERMINI JMB RACING FERRARI 360
Unusually, the race was held on the Saturday evening, finishing in the dark, to the delight of the spectators. Babini and Duez put in a fine performance from 8th on the grid to take the win ahead of the Lister Storm of Knapfield and Verdon-Roe, the long-time race leading Carsport Viper having suffered a broken prop shaft. . In N-GT, JMB Racing repeated its win from the previous year, with Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini claiming the win ahead of the Autorlando Porsche of Toto Wolff and Johnny Mowlem.