Belgian Racing are pleased to announce that Vanina Ickx will make a one-off appearance for the team in the Belgian round of the GT1 World Championship, which takes place at the Zolder Circuit on 10th April.
The collaboration with Belgian Racing will see Ickx, a former class winner at the prestigious 24 Hours of Spa, race a Ford GT in both the GT1 qualifying and championship races, alongside one of the team's regular drivers.
"The people behind the Zolder circuit were very keen to see me race the Belgian round of the GT1 World Championship, but I didn't think it would be possible until Belgian Racing offered me a one-off drive in their Ford GT," commented Ickx.
Ickx will drive the Belgian Racing Ford GT for the first time at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, during a scheduled test day ahead of the first GT1 World Championship race, which takes place at the same circuit on 26th March.
"It's been a long time since I've driven a GT car; I'm curious as to how I will find it when I test the car for the first time in Abu Dhabi next week. Before I test the car it's difficult to say what my expectations are for the Zolder weekend, but the team is an experienced one, we know the car is competitive, so I hope we will be able to run near the front of the race. GT1 races are thrilling and always great to watch, so the challenge of racing at Zolder is one I'm definitely looking forward to."
For Belgian Racing's Laurence Hanssen, one of the very few female Team Managers in the world of motorsport, working with a woman driver at Zolder won't be a new experience.
"I've worked with women drivers before, but not with a driver of Vanina's standing," said Hanssen. "But, for me, it doesn't matter whether we have a woman or a man driving for the team, our aim is always to get the best from the car and the driver, and I'm sure the same is true of Vanina."
"I met Vanina for the first time yesterday, but I think we have already developed a good working relationship that will give us a head start when she tests our Ford GT for the first time during the Abu Dhabi test day. I hope that together we can secure a good result in Zolder, to show some of the women watching the race that there are opportunities in motorsport for everyone, regardless of gender."
The deal to put Ickx behind the wheel of one of Belgian Racing's Ford GT cars at Zolder was brokered by the circuit's General Manager, Thierry Deflandre, as part of the circuit's initiative to attract more women to motorsport.
"This year we are introducing a number of initiatives to attract more women into motorsport," explained Deflandre. "Having Vanina Ickx driving a car for a Belgian Team managed by Laurence Hanssen is a perfect scenario for us, as our plans come to fruition over the GT1 weekend."
"At the GT1 event we will launch the first of our Glamour Days; a new concept within the racing environment. In our special Glamour Village, located in the heart of the paddock, we'll be adding jewellery, fashion, gourmet food and champagne to the traditional motorsport attractions. Entry to the GT1 race and the Glamour Village will be free to all women who register on the circuit website, with registration set to open on Thursday 17th March."
-source: belgian racing