Bert Longin to miss South American events

Following a strong season in the FIA GT1 World Championship with the Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati MC 12 Bert Longin takes stock of his season. "For me my participation in the FIA GT1 World Championship is a high point in my career; let's not...

Following a strong season in the FIA GT1 World Championship with the Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati MC 12 Bert Longin takes stock of his season. "For me my participation in the FIA GT1 World Championship is a high point in my career; let's not forget that I only started off in motorsport at the age of 30 and that I have never driven a single-seater and yet this season I was able and fortunate enough to measure up against the world's top drivers. I have to thank a host of faithful sponsors for this opportunity, but unfortunately due to the previous economic downturn one of my sponsors, Thenergo, can no longer meet its commitments. I deeply regret this and would have loved to have seen it differently. With the other sponsors, amongst whom Charel Van De Crean of CPL Trans, Johan van Reeth of Van Reeth fuels and Fred Vandijck of CMO, the collaboration is still running perfectly. For which I am grateful."

Bert Longin has also made a thorough analysis of the sporting facts:

"I thoroughly enjoyed myself this year in the FIA GT1 World Championship, notwithstanding that it was a season with lots of ups and downs, with in addition an extra sports problem which means that I won't be making the trip. One of the lesser sides is the driving style in the FIA GT1 World Championship, where everything seems to be possible and allowed. It looks more like Cup racing, but then with cars which cost a great deal of money. During my last race in Navarra I was nudged several times in the opening lap and the final nudge was one too many, with retirement as the outcome."

"The FIA GT1 World Championship is an edifying and highly competitive championship, but this also implies that it brings major concerns with it. It's not pleasant to have to explain to your partners that a race incident resulted in an early retirement from the race. The World Championship has multiple problems. In the first place these 60 minutes races have now become sprint races, which means that you have insufficient time to make up for a poor start, unlike the FIA GT from the past with races of 2 or even 3 hours. On top of that tyre warmers are banned, which means that you are on cold tyres during the first few laps and more especially have problems trying to work out the braking distances correctly. It is unheard of that such a high ranking technological championship should forbid this... The rolling start is another problem, because they keep the lights on red as long as possible resulting in the entire field queuing up bumper to bumper, whilst even with a standing start there is always at least 10 meters between the cars. And last but not least, there is the Balance of Performance. This system works perfectly when it comes to qualifying; the cars are well matched and that is good, however the way in which they adapt the cars to one another is different for each car. The Maserati MC12 received small air intakes, which means that our cars are no longer fast on the straight, but thanks to good aerodynamics do retain fast speeds in the bends. On the other hand with the Ford or the Lamborghini especially the aerodynamics were trimmed, resulting in the speed of these cars on the straight remaining very high, but then losing out on speed in the bends. This means that between two bends you arrive at an accordion effect; we are faster in the bends and then they are superior on the straight. But then just before the bend everything comes back together, with the necessary crashes as outcome.

Undoubtedly a great spectacle for the spectators, however the frequency of crashes is far too high. If you take a stroll through the parc ferme after a race you hardly ever see a car without any damage and over a period of time this is financially untenable."

On the other hand the sporting level of this championship is unbelievably high and I learned a great deal this year. The Maserati team is and remains an incredibly professional one and the top reference in the modern racing world. The professional manner in which Michael Bertels' troops work is almost maniacal and is worthy of F1. As a driver this season I learned to fight for the last fractions of a second and very often that just makes the difference."

"The Maserati MC12 is driven more like a single-seater, as compared to the GT cars I had raced previously. I don't have any experience in other disciplines contrary to quite a few other drivers who are competing today in the World Championship. I'm therefore delighted that I managed to compete on a good level and cherish my fourth place in the legendary Tourist Trophy at Silverstone. I'll definitely be making use of the extra baggage gained this season in the coming years. Together with my partners and management I have decided not to take part in the two remaining races, namely in Brazil and Argentina."

Bert Longin clarifies that decision: "The South American section was an option in my contract and would be activated in the event that at the end of the season I would still be in a position to fight for the world title, which is not the case. With sadness in my race heart I am therefore defaulting on this long trip where in fact two years ago in San Luis I managed to clinch a brilliant victory."

-source: bert longin

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Bert Longin