2007 IN PERSPECTIVE Further to the publishing of the 2007 calendar of the FIA GT Championship by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, SRO, promoter of the Championship, is pleased to give some additional information on the next year. After much...
2007 IN PERSPECTIVE
Further to the publishing of the 2007 calendar of the FIA GT Championship by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, SRO, promoter of the Championship, is pleased to give some additional information on the next year.
After much consideration, and having taken into account the result of various meetings held with the GT1 and GT2 teams, the decision was taken to postpone the planned overseas rounds of Interlagos and Buenos Aires. Therefore, we have returned to a mainly European calendar, with the only exception being the opening round in Zhuhai, China.
This European calendar has been built around circuits which are keen to promote the FIA GT Championship, and which can attract good numbers of spectators, in response to the wishes of the teams participating. The events will also concentrate on a full, exciting package of support events, including the FIA GT3 European Championship, which proved a great success in its first season, and the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula Three International Series, which will join the meetings on at least three occasions, giving a full range of on- track competition.
Apart from the calendar, the main evolution for next season will be the reduction of the events to two days, while the duration of the races will be reduced to two hours, including two mandatory pit stops, with the obvious exception of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa.
This should allow for a substantial cost reduction, adding to a limited number of carbon brake discs for GT1, restrictions on the gearboxes and a reduced number of tyres per weekend. This last point will be discussed fur- ther at the next meeting of the GT Commission before approval by the FIA in December. Also to be discussed at that stage will be a proposal for a Gentleman Driver Cup in GT1, limited to eight events (excluding Zhuhai and Spa), selecting drivers according to the same criteria as for the FIA GT3 European Championship.
Our next commitment to the teams is now to finalise the provisional TV coverage which, further to the meetings held at Sportel during the last two days, promises to mark a significant progress in comparison with the 2006 season. It is certain that the two-hour format is easier to place with TV broadcasters.
We are convinced that the reduction of the overall running budget, especially in the GT1 class, the combination of better promoted events and enhanced TV coverage, in addition to the now confirmed success of the balance of performance procedure, best proven by the close and extremely exciting race in Adria last weekend, will boost the grid of the FIA GT Championship and make 2007 a new step in its progress.
The calendar for 2007 will be as follows
1. 24th & 25th March - Zhuhai - China SRO first brought international motorsport to China in 1994, and the circuit has remained a key part of our calendar since then. After the success of the previous two years, the promoter has succeeded in securing the presence of a title sponsor, allowing for a strong promotion, which is already underway. The circuit, with a reinforced management team, should see a full house in terms of spectators, an excellent way to start the 2007 season.
2. 5th & 6th May Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Silverstone, Great Britain This historic race, which celebrated its centenary in 2005, has become a much valued part of the FIA GT Championship, and the aim of seeing their name alongside the eminent names on the Trophy has become something for the drivers to aim for. This event will also mark the first race of the 2007 FIA GT3 European Championship.
3. 19th & 20th May - Bucharest Romania After the disappointment of 2006, the legal problems surrounding this event have now been solved, and the 2007 race will be officially launched on November 5th, with the presentation of some GT1 and GT2 cars, in the presence of the Mayor of Bucharest. The 2007 event, which promises crowds of up to 80,000, will be a full SRO event, where the FIA GT3 European Championship and the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula Three International Series will also be part of the show.
4. 23rd & 24th June Monza Italy A welcome return to Monza, a traditional fixture of the FIA GT Championship and one of the favourite tracks of teams and drivers alike. This event will also see races from the FIA GT3 European Championship and the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula Three International Series.
5. 7th & 8th July Oschersleben Germany The FIA GT Championship was the first international series to race at Oschersleben, and the German circuit has featured on the calendar nearly every year since then. The 2007 event should see an exciting programme, including the soon-to-be-launched ADAC GT Masters series, based on the FIA GT3 regulations.
6. 28th- 29th July Proximus 24 Hours of Spa Belgium The summer highlight of the FIA GT Championship since 2001, the Spa week will include a full support pro- gramme, likely to include the Ferrari Challenge and the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series. The 24-hour grid will be reinforced by a relay-race of GT3 cars, running for the Coupe du Roi as a non-Cham- pionship event.
7. 7th & 8th September Adria Italy This past weekend captured the imagination, showing that the Adria Raceway could attract spectators and put on an amazingly close race, the nature of the circuit favouring tight racing and plenty of overtaking. For 2007, an innovative night race on the Saturday evening has been planned, in the context of an unusual event featur- ing a rock concert and other items, to provide a complete entertainment experience.
8. 22nd & 23rd September Brno Czech Republic Building on the performance of Jarek Janis, one of the shining stars of the 2006 season, and looking for rein- forced Czech presence in the FIA GT Championship, we will be returning to Brno, where the promoters have assured us of a strong promotion. The FIA GT3 European Championship will also be part of the meeting.
9. 30th September or 7th October Nogaro France The FIA GT Championship will visit the circuit of Nogaro, in the south-west of France, for the first time. The circuit, which boasts some of the highest numbers of spectators of any of the French circuits, is undergoing a refurbishment programme, with a new pit lane and pit garage complexe, allowing FIA GT teams to work in their usual comfort
10. 20th & 21st October - Zolder Belgium Thanks to the support of Toine Hezemans and Paul Kumpen, owner of the GLPK Team, the season finale for the 2007 FIA GT Championship season will take place in Zolder, in the meeting shared with the very popular final round of the Belcar series. This event traditionally welcomes a very large number of spectators, which will doubtlessly be even stronger with the presence of the FIA GT Championship.
On 2nd and 3rd November 2007, the FIA GT3 European Championship will replace the GT1 and GT2 cars in Dubai, for the one of the most challenging and popular events.
The combination of exciting circuits, shorter meetings and enhanced television coverage should help to make 2007 an exciting tenth anniversary season for the FIA GT Championship.