PROSPEED COMPETITION EXPANDS FIA GT PROGRAMME Works Drivers Collard, Westbrook Join Lead Porsche Team ProSpeed Competition today announced it will expand its involvement in the 2008 FIA GT Championship from one car to two. The entry for...
PROSPEED COMPETITION EXPANDS FIA GT PROGRAMME
Works Drivers Collard, Westbrook Join Lead Porsche Team
ProSpeed Competition today announced it will expand its involvement in the 2008 FIA GT Championship from one car to two. The entry for Finnish drivers, Markus Palttala and Mikael Forsten, will be joined by a second Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for works drivers, Emmanuel Collard and Richard Westbrook. Parallel to the two GT2-class cars, ProSpeed Competition will also field two Porsches 911 GT3 Cup S in the European FIA GT3 Championship. The lead car in this championship will be driven by ProSpeed Competition team boss, Rudi Penders, and long time co-driver, Franz Lamot, while the drivers for the second car are still to be decided.
For Rudi Penders, the agreement between ProSpeed Competition and the two Porsche works drivers confirms the professionalism of the Liège-based outfit which is only in its third year of existence. "It had always been our aim to become a front-running Porsche team," Penders said, "only it has now come sooner than we could ever have hoped for. We won the Belgian GT Championship in our first year in 2006, and had our first successes on an international level last year, with a third overall in the Dubai 24 Hours and class podium finish in the Spa 24 Hours. At last year's FIA GT finale in Zolder, we had our first direct collaboration with Porsche Motorsport when we ran Marc Basseng and Marc Lieb in support of the title candidate Porsche of Manu Collard. This year we want to fight for the GT2 title."
To do so, ProSpeed Competition can count on the support of Porsche Motorsport and Michelin but certainly also on the immense talent of both new drivers. For double Porsche Supercup Champion, Richard Westbrook, 2008 will be his first foray as a Porsche works driver in an endurance championship, while Emmanuel Collard a former double Sportscar World Champion, double Le Mans Series Champion and Supercup champion will race in his fifth consecutive FIA GT season. "I'm really looking forward to 2008," Collard said. "It is the first time I'll be racing for a Belgian team, but I have only heard positive things about Rudi's people. Their support at last year's Zolder FIA GT race when ProSpeed were asked to evaluate tyres for our team was as valuable as it was methodical and that is exactly the approach a team needs to be successful in a top-level championship like the FIA GT series. I'll be travelling to the team's new workshops shortly to meet with everybody."
Crewing the second 911 GT3 RSR in the FIA GT Championship are two Finns who, like Richard Westbrook, will also be attacking their first full sportscar season at an international level. Markus Palttala has been racing in single-seaters in Japan before making a name for himself in the Belgian `Belcar' GT Championship, while Mikael Forsten is the ultimate all-round athlete, with titles and victories in fields as varied as downhill skiing and equestrian show jumping. Both debuted with ProSpeed Competition in the Dubai 24 Hours earlier this year. ProSpeed Competition will start testing in earnest as soon as the two new cars are delivered to the team and will be present at the official FIA tests at Monza in Italy and Nogaro in France. The first FIA GT race will be at Silverstone on 20th April. Apart from the two FIA championships, ProSpeed Competition is also looking at entering a car in the Zolder 24 Hours, the main race of the Belgian GT Championship, in August.