ETCC: Eurosport season preview newsletter

FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP BMW TEAM GERMANY TO RACE IN ETCC BMW have announced that they are& ...

FIA EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

BMW TEAM GERMANY TO RACE IN ETCC
BMW have announced that they are“ stepping up their involvement in the FIA European Touring Car Championship in 2002”. BMW Team Schnitzer - the Bavarian manufacturers’ longstanding works team - will therefore be entering two BMW 320i cars in the FIA ETCC, under the name of BMW Team Germany.

“ We do not regard our participation in the European Championship as a classic factory involvement,” BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger explained. “ However, the targets have been raised by the entry of other manufacturers.” Possible drivers cited are BMW factory drivers Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller of Germany, as well as Fredrik Ekblom of Sweden, all of whom drove for BMW Team Schnitzer in last year’s successful American Le Mans Series campaign.

ALFA ROMEO AND BMW TEST AT MISANO
A two-day test session was held at the Italian track of Misano, which saw the first direct confrontation between cars complying with the Super 2000 regulations.

N.Technology, Alfa Romeo’s motor sport division, was present with an Alfa Romeo 156 GTA, which was driven by reigning FIA European Super Touring Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and his teammate Nicola Larini. “ I am very positive after this test,” Larini said, having set a time of 1:41.8. “ The car proved to be very easy to drive and quick enough already. We are still at the beginning of the development, but we know that we have a good basis to work on.” Ravaglia Motorsport was also present, with a BMW 320i E46 for the 2001 FIA European Super Production Champion Peter Kox and former Spanish Touring Car Champion Jordi Gené. The car was an interim version, and did not fully comply with the Super 2000 regulations:“ Our tests were not very conclusive, and it is difficult to say where we stand,” Peter Kox explained.“ The car was the one driven by Norman Simon last year, and although some modifications have been made, there is still a lot of work to do. Carly Motorsport has made some changes to the engine, but we do not have the new front splitter or wing yet, so it is very difficult to judge. However, I am sure that in the end, it will be good– BMW has a reputation for always having a good car. We will continue to work and test and by March we should have a proper Super 2000 car.”

MICHELIN TESTS AT VALLELUNGA
Four manufacturers have confirmed that they will attend Michelin’s test session at the Italian track of Vallelunga, from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th February.

Alfa Romeo will be represented by N.Technology, with two cars for Larini and Giovanardi. BMW will also have two cars present, one run by Ravaglia Motorsport, and one for Schnitzer– its first outing with the FIA ETCC car. Rickard Rydell will be driving the Prodrive Volvo S60, while Nissan will be represented by RJN, who will have a 2001 Super Production car upgraded to Super 2000 specifications for Tommy Rustad.“ Approximately fifteen Michelin personnel will be present, bringing around 700 tyres, including wet and dry compounds,” revealed Gérard Bombled of Michelin Compétition.“ The plan is mainly to test the 17” slick tyres in order to decide on the type that will be supplied to the FIA ETCC teams for the 2002 season. We have a choice between eight different new types, which will be compared to our reference type, an evolution of the BF Goodrich used in the British Touring Car Championship. The wet tyre has already been chosen, but if it rains, we will test five different new types of tyre.”

SAFETY FUEL TANK FOR SUPER PRODUCTION CARS
With safety always a priority, the FIA Touring Car Commission, which met in Paris earlier this week, has voted to introduce the safety fuel tank for the Super Production cars which will take part in this season’s FIA European Touring Car Championship. These safety fuel tanks, which are part of the specification for the new Super 2000 cars, are not mandatory for the Super Production cars racing in the national Touring Car championships. This change to the technical regulations will be submitted to the next meeting of the FIA World Council to be held in March for final approval.

-fia/eurosport-

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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Norman Simon , Jorg Muller , Peter Kox , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene , Tommy Rustad , Peter Champion
Teams BMW Team Schnitzer