FIA GT Championship - Round 2 - Silverstone Test Sessions WELCOME The FIA GT Championship continues its long association with Silverstone this weekend, visiting the British circuit for the sixth time. However, this year the three-hour, 500 km...
FIA GT Championship - Round 2 - Silverstone
The FIA GT Championship continues its long association with Silverstone this weekend, visiting the British circuit for the sixth time. However, this year the three-hour, 500 km race will be held on Saturday night, starting at 6pm and finishing after dark.
Thursday started bright and sunny, but cold. The sky gradually clouded over, and it started to rain during the afternoon test sessions.
The fourth round of the 2002 Championship was held at Silverstone, and Christophe Bouchut and Jean-Philippe Belloc regained the lead in the Drivers Championship, despite an extra pit stop when their Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R suffered a puncture in the final hour--the Lister Storm GT of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Tom Coronel, which had been in the lead, stopped just eight minutes from the end with a broken steering arm--Carsport Holland were second with the Bleekemolen father and son pairing of Michael and Sebastiaan; the second Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper, which had claimed pole position stopped on lap two with a broken alternator--Christian Pescatori and David Terrien drew level on points at the top of the N-GT table in their JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena after winning for the second time--Fabio Babini and Luigi Moccia were second in the ART Engineering Porsche.
29 cars are due to line up for Saturday's evening race; 15 in the GT category and 14 in the N-GT category. In GT, PSI Motorsport returns to the Championship with their nr 25 Porsche 996 Turbo, driven by Belgian Kurt Mollekens and Finnish driver Marcus Palttala. Cirtek Motorsport GB are entering a Chrysler Viper GTS-R, to be driven by Neil Cunningham, Peter Cook and Carl Rosenblad. Cirtek also have a second car running in the N-GT category, to be driven by young British driver Adam Jones and Slovakian driver Jirko Malcharek. MAC Racing also returns to the Championship, with brothers Francesco and Michele Merendino at the wheel of the nr 66 Porsche 996 GT3-R. New to the Championship is Sebah Automotive, a British team, entering a Porsche 996 GT3-R for father and son Hugh and Bart Hayden.
Due to the altered timetable for this weekend, the FIA GT teams had a total of four hours of testing on Thursday, replacing the usual free practice. The GT and N-GT cars were running on the track in separate sessions, giving each car a total of two hours of running. The timetable will revert to normal for the third round of the series at Brno, Czech Republic, on May 17-19.
NEW MOTOR FOR LARBRE COMPETITION CHEREAU
The nr 1 Larbre Competition - Chereau Chrysler Viper GTS-R has been fitted with the new engine and sequential gearbox that was already in place in the nr 2 Larbre car at Magny Cours. This weekend, the car will be driven by Christophe Bouchut, David Terrien and Vincent Vosse, as the team's second car is unavailable. Vosse's regular team-mate, Swedish driver Carl Rosenblad, will drive the Cirtek Motorsport Chrysler Viper GTS-R with Neil Cunningham and Peter Cook.
MOWLEM TO DRIVE FOR AUTORLANDO
Johnny Mowlem, who drove the RWS Porsche 996 GT3RS at Silverstone last year with Luca Riccitelli, finishing in third position, has joined the Autorlando Sport team for this round, to drive the nr 58 Porsche 996 GT3-R alongside Toto Wolff. The Englishman replaces Philipp Peter for this race only.
Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer will start the second round of the FIA GT Championship at Silverstone with 40kg of ballast. Anthony Kumpen and Mike Hezemans will have 30kg in their Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, while reigning champion Christophe Bouchut, sharing with David Terrien, will carry an extra 20kg, having finished third at Magny Cours two weeks ago. Pescatori/Montermini have an extra 20kg on their nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, while the nr 60 JVG Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R will carry 15 kg extra and the nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena will carry 10 kg.
LISTER STORM RACING FASTEST IN FIRST SESSION
Three different makes of car featured in the first four overall places during the first test session on Thursday morning, a Lister Storm heading two Chrysler Viper GTS-Rs with a Ferrari 550 Maranello claiming fourth fastest time. Jamie Campbell-Walter set fastest time of the session in his nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm shared with Nicolaus Springer. The championship leader lapped the Silverstone circuit in a time of 1m46.922 seconds.
Mike Hezemans was second fastest in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper, but he was nearly two seconds down on Campbell-Walter's time. The team's second car, driven by Luca Capellari and Fabrizio Gollin was third fastest, just three-tenths of a second faster than the BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz.
In N-GT, the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R set the fastest time of 1:53.958, followed by the nr 50 and 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena cars, nearly a second slower.
LARBRE COMPETITION CHEREAU LEAD SECOND SESSION
Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien made the most of their revised Larbre Competition Chereau Chrysler Viper GTS-R to set fastest time in the second practice session. Bouchut's time of 1m47.470s was less than a tenth of a second faster than the leading Lister Storm of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield while the Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Paul Belmondo and Claude-Yves Gosselin was third fastest, with a time of 1m49.273s.
Ni Amorim and Stephane Ortelli headed the N-GT time sheets in their Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3RS, setting a time of 1m5.059s. The JMB Ferrari 360 Modena team was second fastest despite spending the session working on set-up, but suffered a blow when Andrea Garbagnati suffered an engine failure at the end of the final N-GT session. The resulting oil spillage forced the session to be stopped, and was not re-started.
David Terrien, nr 1 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Larbre Competition -- Chereau: "We have got the new gearbox and engine now and I drove them for a few laps around the short circuit at Magny Cours before coming here. The gearbox is lighter than our old one and I like it because the change is more like the Ferrari 360 Modena that I drove last year. At Magny Cours, Christophe went from fifth gear to second gear and crashed, but you cannot do that with a sequential gearbox."
Mike Hezemans, nr 3 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Carsport Holland: "I did a few laps and the splitter fell off. We repaired it as best we could, but it fell off again so we put on the old one and I set my time. Anthony will do the qualifying this weekend; it is an agreement that we have, so he will have the new tyres. It is going well, but I think that the Lister is faster."
Luca Capellari, nr 4 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Carsport Holland: "This is totally different to last year, when I was driving the Racing Box Chrysler Viper. If we want to change tyres, or an engine, then we can. The Pirellis are good on the car, the team is good, the engine is good so we have taken at least three steps forward!" Gollin was driving the car during the second session when a problem occurred with the engine, which will be changed before Friday's first qualifying session.
Dieter Quester, nr 7 Porsche 996 GT3RS, RWS Motorsport: "We have a set-up problem and we are working on it. I have understeer in the slow speed corners, and oversteer in the medium to high-speed ones, so basically we have no balance!"
Fabio Babini, nr 12 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Paul Belmondo Racing: "We have changed the differential and changed the engine since Magny Cours. There we had a problem with understeering that we don't have so much here. I was losing a lot of time, but this configuration is very good."
Enzo Calderari, nr 22 Ferrari 550 Maranello, BMS Scuderia Italia: "We have not had time to do more testing since Magny Cours. The car has been back to England since then and we have not had a chance to test it. We were hoping to get a day before Brno, but the schedule is very tight. The car is lovely, but they have changed the circuit since the last time that I was here in 1995. The infield section [after Bridge corner] is very slow."
Andrea Piccini, nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello, BMS Scuderia Italia: "The Lister is just so fast. I tried to follow it down the straight, but he drove away from me, and he is very good in the tight corners too, so there is no chance for us. Still, the team is still learning about the car and we are getting everything sorted. We cannot keep up with the Lister, but against the rest, we are right there."
Kurt Mollekens, nr 25 Porsche 996 Turbo, PSI Motorsport: "We are five seconds off the pace of the Chrysler Vipers, which we thought that we would be this weekend. The directional changes around the track really hurt us and there is a lot of roll in the car. We are just trying to be the fastest Porsche. We will be going to Anderstorp, Oschersleben and the Spa 24 hours, and I think that we will be better there."
Christian Pescatori, nr 50 Ferrari 360 Modena, JMB Racing: "We are working on the set-up of the car. There is a lot of work to do, it is very hard on full tanks, but our goal is to be able to do just one stop this race. It is possible, we did it last year and the important thing is that we do it again this year."
Adam Jones, nr 64 Porsche 996 GT3RS, Cirtek Motorsport: "Rob has been on at me for a long time to drive with him. I did four races last year at Silverstone, Croft, the Spa 24 hours and Donington, but I have not driven a Porsche for nearly 10 months so I had a few cobwebs to blow away. I only had one flying lap on new tyres, and made a mistake on another one, running wide, but the time was good enough for third in class."
Bart Hayden, nr 65 Porsche 996 GT3RS, Sebah Automotive: "This is our first FIA GT event, and we have to work out the protocol, find out how things work compared to other series. I think that we are doing OK, but we have a lot of understeer which I dialled out this morning. We should have it sorted now, but the weather has meant that we cannot test it. Last year we were able to do 90 minutes on a tank of fuel, but I don't know about that around this track. I suppose we will find out!"