Pre-season newsletter 2005-03-04

2005 - A FANTASTIC SEASON AHEAD ! FULL SEASON ENTRIES CLOSE When entries closed on February 28th, the FIA had received 21 full-season entry forms, to be confirmed in a week, upon receipt of payment. Added to a high number of expected ...

2005 - A FANTASTIC SEASON AHEAD !
FULL SEASON ENTRIES CLOSE

When entries closed on February 28th, the FIA had received 21 full-season entry forms, to be confirmed in a week, upon receipt of payment.

Added to a high number of expected race-by-race competitors, SRO hopes to be able to present a grid of between 26 and 30 cars, which will be among the most competitive seen in the FIA GT Championship since the days of the old GT1 category in 1998.

The grid should include up to five Maserati MC 12 cars, which will face strong oppostion from five Saleen S7, five Ferrari Maranello (three Prodrive-built 550 models and two 575 M cars) , one Corvette C5R, one Lister Storm and possibly a Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT.

In the GT2 category, up to eleven Porsche 996 GT3 cars are awaiting the con- firmation of their traditional opposition from a Ferrari Modena; they will also be challenged by cars coming from the Group 2 category, such as the Mosler MT900.

Stephane Ratel, chairman of SRO, Promoter of the FIA GT Championship, com- mented : "The FIA GT Championship is continuing its increasing professionalisa- tion. It is clear that very few teams and drivers are entering the series for fun - everybody is there to win, in what promises to be a very exciting season."

"I trust the FIA to provide the essential balance of performance system which, after evaluation during 2004, will be put into full operation in 2005," Ratel contin- ued. "This should guarantee some extremely close racing in the coming season. These races will be spiced up by the appearance of the Aston Martin DBR9, which will make its debut at Silverstone, as well as the Nissan 350Z, which should appear at a later stage. I have no doubts that 2005 will be a fantastic season. "

GPC GIESSE SQUADRA CORSE TO ENTER TWO FERRARI 575 M MARANELLO - DELETRAZ AND PICCINI TO DRIVE

It was announced today that Italian team GPC Giesse Squadra Corse will be entering two Ferari 575 M Maranello cars in the 2005 FIA GT Championship. The cars will be supported by Pirelli.

The first car will be driven by long-time duo Jean-Denis Deletraz and Andrea Piccini, returning to Ferrari after two years with Lister and Lamborghini. The Italo-Swiss duo raced for BMS Scuderia Italia in 2002, and were the first to give the team a win with the Ferrari 550, climbing to the top of the podium four times that year, and fighting for the title.

GPC Giesse Squadra Corse is a relatively new team, which only came into being in early 2004. Owned by GiamPaolo Coppi, the team had an extremely successful first season, finishing in second place in the GT Teams classification behind BMS, and third in N-GT behind the two Freisinger teams. Moreover, they scored two wins in N-GT, and a fine second place at the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa.

The team's two Ferrari 575 M Maranello cars are likely to be the only ones of this kind on the 2005 grid, and will make a most welcome addition to the fine grid which is falling into place as teams makes their announcements.

The drivers for the second car will be announced in the near future

LARBRE COMPETITION SIGNS BRYNER & CALDERARI AND AIMS FOR VICTORY IN PROXIMUS 24 HOURS OF SPA

After announcing last week that it would enter two Ferrari 550 Maranello cars in the 2005 season of the FIA GT Championship, Larbre Competition completed its line-up this week by signing Lilian Bryner and Enzo Calderari to compete for the team. They will drive the second car alongside fellow Swiss young driver Steve Zacchia, the 2004 LMES GTS Champion. "Our main aim with this car is to win the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa," team owner Jack Leconte explained. "It is wonderful to have Lilian and Enzo drive for us, and we will do all we can to help them to retain their crown in Spa."

Larbre has a strong record in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa; the team was victorious there in 2001 with a Chrysler Viper, when the event was run as part of the FIA GT Championship for the first time. They went one better in 2002, finishing first and second with their two cars, and claimed a podium finish in the GT class in 2003.

Lilian Bryner's achievement in the 2004 event was equally historic : she became the first female driver to win a major 24-hour event - and on the Swiss National Day as well ! With her long-term partner Enzo Calderari, she has competed on a regular basis in the FIA GT Championship since 2002, finishing joint 3rd in the Drivers classification in both previous years.

The Ferrari 550 Maranello proved in 2004 that it was able to win the classic endurance event, putting up strong opposition throughout the event to its main rival, the Ferrari 575 M Maranello entered by GPC Giesse Squadra Corse, in what was the most closely fought running of the race since it became part of the Championship.

As announced last week, the team's first car will be driven by Pedro Lamy of Portugal and Gabriele Gardel, of Switzerland.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Pedro Lamy , Jean-Denis Deletraz , Stéphane Ratel , Gabriele Gardel , Enzo Calderari , Lilian Bryner , Steve Zacchia , Jack Leconte
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Larbre Competition