Eurosport season preview newsletter

GT CHAMPIONSHIP PIRELLI TESTS IN VALLELUNGA Tyre manufacturer Pirelli recently conducted a two-day test at the Italian track of Vallelunga, during which Carsport Holland ran both their Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars. Mike Hezemans set the fastest ...

GT CHAMPIONSHIP

PIRELLI TESTS IN VALLELUNGA
Tyre manufacturer Pirelli recently conducted a two-day test at the Italian track of Vallelunga, during which Carsport Holland ran both their Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars. Mike Hezemans set the fastest time, with a lap of 1:10.57, with new team-mate Anthony Kumpen four tenths of a second slower. “ This was a test for the tyre manufacturer, and we were mostly interested in giving them solid, workable feedback,” Kumpen said afterwards.“ We know we will have the best tyres available this season, so this testing is very important.”

TWO CARS FOR PAUL BELMONDO RACING
“ Everything is going well, and I think we will have a very strong team this year,” team owner Paul Belmondo said, confirming that Paul Belmondo Racing would enter two Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars in the 2002 season of the FIA GT Championship. The team, which has been competing in the Championship since 1999, finished in fourth place in last year’s Teams’ classification. “ One car will be driven by Claude Yves Gosselin and myself,” Belmondo continued. “ The other will be driven by two fast drivers.” Contracts are still being finalised, but the team hopes to make further announcements shortly.

PRODRIVE FERRARI TO BE ENTERED BY PRIVATE TEAM
A private team will be appointed to race the Ferrari 550 Maranello built by Prodrive, which took part in five races during the 2001 FIA GT Championship, winning both the Austrian and Spanish rounds. The identity of this private team has not yet been announced. However, Prodrive will be present at all rounds of the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend™ Series, as they are running the two Volvo S60 cars entered in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, one of which will be driven by Rickard Rydell.

UPDATED VIPER FOR TEAM ART
“We are delighted to be doing another season in the FIA GT Championship,” said Guy Orgeval, the team manager of Automotive Racing Team. “ The Chrysler Viper GTS-R has been updated with all the latest additions : a new engine from Caldwell, and various items from Oreca, including a new, lighter exhaust system, which saves us six kilos, and a new axle.” The car, with its unusual modern art livery, by contemporary artist De Rosa, will be in the hands of Jean-Pierre Jarier, who competed in 136 Formula One Grands Prix, and François Lafon. “ I am sure the Viper can be competitive again this year, and that it will be a very good season,” Orgeval continued.

The team is currently busy working on the car, which will run for the first time in March.

N-GT CHAMPIONSHIP

NEW 2 LITRE N-GT CATEGORY
From January 1st, 2002, a new 2-litre category was created within the N-GT class. It is open to cars with original engine capacities between 1700 and 2200 cc. However, the maximum racing engine cylinder capacity is limited to 2000 cc, without air restrictors; the bore, crankshaft and connecting rods may be modified in order to achieve this capacity. The minimum weight is 850 kg, with a maximum of 9” by 17” wheels.

Eligible cars in this range include the Hommel Berlinette RS, the Lotus Elise and Exige, the Opel/Vauxhall Speedster, and the Renault Spider. The class will be introduced in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, and its inclusion in the N-GT Championship will be requested from 2003 onwards. There will be no separate podium or classification for this category.

HIGH SPEED RACING TO COMPETE IN N-GT
Italian team High Speed Racing is planning to enter a Ferrari 360 Modena in the 2002 season of the FIA GT Championship, in collaboration with Cannes Ferrari dealer Auto Palace. The team took part in the Challenge Ferrari West series in 2001, finishing first and second with drivers Ange Barde and Max Blancardi, who also finished third in the Ferrari World Final. The team will take delivery of the new car from the Michelotto factory on February 15th, and will start testing with Gianluca De Lorenzi at the Italian track of Fiorano. “ We are very pleased to be taking part in the FIA GT Championship,” team-owner Edo Berto explained. “ We want to win, and that is what we will be aiming for.” The drivers for the full season have not yet been finalised, although De Lorenzi, who competed last season in the FIA European Super Touring Championship for GDL Racing, is likely to be named.“ There is a lot of interest, and we have to look very carefully,” Berto concluded.

ORTELLI CONTINUES WITH FREISINGER
German team Freisinger Motorsport will be entering two Porsche 996 GT3-R cars in the N-GT class in 2002. “ A third car might be entered for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa,” team manager Ietoshi Kaneko explained. “ So far, the only driver we can confirm is Stephane Ortelli.” 31-year old Frenchman Ortelli has been competing in the FIA GT Championship since 1997. Last season, he helped to take Freisinger Motorsport to third place in the N-GT Championship, claiming four second-place finishes, including the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa.

JÜRGEN VON GARTZEN RETURNS WITH TWO CARS
Jürgen von Gartzen is planning to enter two Porsche 996 GT3-R cars in the FIA N-GT Championship, one of which he will drive. “ We are still talking to sponsors and drivers about the new season, and discussions are going well,” he said. The German driver started the 2001 season in a Larbre Competition Chéreau Porsche 996 GT3-R, setting the N-GT pole position at Monza and finishing third at Brno. Later in the year, he returned with his own team, Klober JVG Racing, and a Porsche 996 GT3-R. The team scored points in the German and Portuguese rounds, placing in eleventh place overall.

-fia/eurosport-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Anthony Kumpen , Mike Hezemans , Jean-Pierre Jarier , Paul Belmondo , Jurgen von Gartzen , Max Blancardi
Teams Larbre Competition