Intl GT: Series Imola preview

2009 International GT Open To Kick Off With "Passione" In Imola * Fourth edition of the series ready to start in one week * Costs controlled, more show and better visibility: key objectives for 2009 * Over 30 cars expected in first event The...

2009 International GT Open To Kick Off With "Passione" In Imola

* Fourth edition of the series ready to start in one week
* Costs controlled, more show and better visibility: key objectives for 2009
* Over 30 cars expected in first event

The 2009 edition of the International GT Open is ready to take off: in one week time, on 17-19 April, the fourth edition of the now well-established continental pro-am series for GT2 and GT3, will start its engines, in Imola. The recently modernized `Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari' near Bologna, will host the season-opener event and is included for the first time in the GT Open calendar. There could hardly be a better location to kick-off the 2009 season, as Imola is at the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, which is the cradle of Italy's motorsport tradition and industry and the homeland of the most passionate tifosi.

The International GT Open will continue to offer in 2009 what is possible the best cost / return ratio in GT racing, something which is of crucial significance in the current economic context. The changes introduced this year (the "Super GT" label for the GT2 category, a Saturday race extended to 70 minutes and including a refuel; the possibility for drivers to race alone; and split Super GT and GTS races on Sunday whenever the number of entries allow it) are all designed to enhance action and show in the track and visibility for each category.

The series will also benefit from a premium TV coverage across Europe, thanks to live coverage on Eurosport 2, and extensive delayed summaries on Motors TV, with additional live coverage in key countries such as Italy (Nuvolari), Spain (Canal +) and Portugal (Sport TV).

The official entry list for the Imola GT Open will be released early next week, after the Easter break. It is expected that over 30 cars will be present, an encouraging figure for a season's first event. Teams are actively preparing the cars and closing their deals, while testing activity has been intense, including earlier this week in Imola.

Needless to say, the 2009 season will see again a close duel between Ferrari and Porsche in the Super GT category. The Cavallino Rampante will be represented by teams of the like of Advanced Engineering, Edil Cris, Trottet Racing and others, while the Stuttgart camp will see its forces increased, with IMSA Performance joining Autorlando Sport and Drivex. The Sun-Red GT car will continue to provide a technical exotic touch.

In GTS, we can anticipate a very open fight between the Lamborghinis, the Aston Martins, the Dodge Vipers, the Ferraris and the Porsches, with a number of new teams joining the championship.

-credit: igto

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