With Bouchut and Maassen to FIA GT MERCHTEM. As previously announced last week, the Selleslagh Racing Team will this season be taking part in the entire FIA GT championship. The drivers on duty are the multiple - FIA and LMS- champion ...
With Bouchut and Maassen to FIA GT
MERCHTEM. As previously announced last week, the Selleslagh Racing Team will this season be taking part in the entire FIA GT championship. The drivers on duty are the multiple - FIA and LMS- champion Christophe Bouchut and the Dutch single-seater hope Xavier Maassen. Following on from several seasons in single-seater racing Maassen is now moving over into the GT-racing world. Team manager Patrick Selleslagh is in fact delighted with the promotion up to the FIA GT, but remains realistic when it comes to his objectives:
"I want to prove that we can hold our own at this level, but I'm thoroughly conscious of the high level of the competition we're up against. But with these drivers, a brand new Corvette C6.R and an experienced team we're aiming at a few highlights and podium places. Anyhow I'm 200% motivated to make the most of this new step to the top. I want to thank my partners, Michelin en Pratt & Miller on the one hand and my drivers on the other for their trust and truly hope that 2008 turns out to be a fabulous sporting year. "
It was on the books; but the final completion of the negotiations only came to fruition this week. All parties concerned are looking forward to their debut during the FIA-test days scheduled for the middle of March at Monza. The C6.R of SRT will be making the acquaintance of the Italian asphalt on 13th and 14th.
March and both drivers as also the team can get themselves prepared for the season ahead. The 27-year old Dutchman Xavier Maassen, who lives in Lanaken (Bel), the Belgian Limburg, has built up a pretty full race-CV. He started his career in karting and in 2000 had his first taste of single-seaters. Following on from titles in FF 1600 and numerous podium places in the Dutch, North-European and European FR 2000-championships, this fast young man competed in he World Series by Renault 3.5 in 2007, driving for Prema Powerteam.
He personally explains why he opted for the GT-racing world "As a young driver you have to remain realistic and everyone knows that it is very difficult to work on up to F1. So you start looking for alternatives, and one of these reputable alternatives is endurance racing, more specifically the FIA GT. You then come across a package that includes a Corvette, SRT and Christophe Bouchut, and you realise that this is the choice in which to excel and give you career a new orientation."
The 41-year old Frenchman Christophe Bouchut is undoubtedly one of the most successful and talented GT-racing drivers of this last decade. Bouchut won the FIA GT-championship twice (2001 & 2002) and was the LMS GT1- champion in 2004. However this is not his debut with SRT:
"I have known Patrick for a few years and competed with him in the FFSA GT, where we clinched numerous podium places. Another excellent memory was the victory we achieved together with Jan Heylen in the one Belcar-race in Spa. For me this is the logical step-up with the team. I reckon that we'll be coming up with a few pleasant surprises this season."
Bouchut is especially looking forward to the 24 Hours of Spa, a race he previously won in 2001 and 2002 with Larbre.
The FIA FT test days will be held on 13th and 14th March at Monza, after which SRT will be heading off for the first FFSA GT-race in Nogaro (22nd & 23rd March). The opening round of the FIA GT-championship is being held at Silverstone on 19th and 20th April.