ETCC: Eurosport Super Racing newsletter 2002-03-28

SUPPORT EVENTS Three single-make series will race alongside the FIA GT and European Touring Car Championships as part of the 2002 season of the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend series. The Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup will return for a second year,...

Three single-make series will race alongside the FIA GT and European Touring Car Championships as part of the 2002 season of the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend series. The Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup will return for a second year, with the Renault Sport Clio Trophy also joining the series, racing at all the rounds except Brno and Pergusa. The Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy, a single-make series using the Lamborghini Diablo GTR, will run as part of the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend series for six events. The Supertrophy is scheduled to race at Magny Cours, Silverstone, Jarama, Oschersleben, Pergusa and Estoril.

A number of national series will also join the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend program, with the British GT and Formula Three Championships running at Silverstone, and a round of the Volvo S60 Challenge taking place during the Swedish round at Anderstorp. This series is run in Sweden with cars very similar to the S60 that will compete in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, using 2.3-litre turbocharged engines.

A two-day official test for the cars entered for the 2002 season was held on March 26th and 27th at the French track of Magny-Cours, which will also host the first event of the season on April 21st. Fourteen cars from the FIA GT Championship, two cars from the FIA European Touring Car Championship and four cars from the Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy took part. Bright sunshine and dry conditions gave the teams plenty of time to work on their set-up for the first race of the season.


With no private testing allowed on the circuits used during this season's Championship after April 1st, the teams taking part in the 2002 season of the FIA European Touring Car Championship have been continuing the work on their Super 2000 cars before the first race. News follows from a number of the teams that will be taking part in the Championship this season.

Former Formula One driver Gianni Morbidelli has been signed by Carly Motors to complete its three-car line-up in the 2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship. The Italian driver, who is 27 years old, will drive a BMW 320i car alongside Dutchmen Peter Kox and Tom Coronel. "I am really looking forward to the season, after the disappointments of 2001," Morbidelli explained. His only win in the 2001 FIA European Super Production Championship took place in the final round, when he pushed his CiBiEmme BMW 320i past the Carly Motorsport BMW 320i driven by Tom Coronel. "That is all in the past now, and Tom and I are good friends. He called me as soon as he knew we were to be racing together. I have the feeling that we will be one of the best packages for the 2002 season. The team has proved that it is very competitive, and all its drivers are potential race-winners."

The Alfa Romeo N.Technology and Ravaglia Motorsport teams continued their test program at the Italian track of Magione, situated near the town of Perugia. Both teams used their laboratory cars for technical development. N Technology tested for two days with Fabrizio Giovanardi and Nicola Larini, before giving Romana Bernardoni her first drive in the new Alfa Romeo 156 Gta on the third day. Giovanardi set the fastest lap with a time of 1:16.2, while Larini concentrated on long stints to check performance and reliability over a full race distance. Bernardoni then took over the car, completing a number of laps and continuously improving her times. Ravaglia Motorsport was at the track on the final day, with Fabrizio De Simone testing set-up options on the BMW 320i, with a best time of 1:17.1.

BMW Team Germany, run by Schnitzer Motorsport, had a successful two-day test at the Spanish track of Jarama this week. "After the crash we had in Vallelunga two weeks ago, this was our first opportunity to complete a number of laps with a car that fully complies with the new FIA ETCC technical specifications," team manager Charly Lamm explained. "We ran for two days without having any major problems, and that helped us to learn a lot about this new car." Jörg and Dirk Müller shared the car, but wet weather meant that they did not set any significant lap times. The team continued its test program at Magny Cours, sharing the track with cars from the FIA GT Championship. Jörg and Dirk Müller continued the test program, and were able to take advantage of the cool but dry and sunny weather.

The Nissan Primera that RJN Motorsport will enter in the FIA European Touring Car Championship ran for the first time last Friday, at the British track of Donington Park. Norwegian driver Tommy Rustad took the wheel for the first test. "We are quite pleased, because everything worked properly straight away," team manager Bob Neville said. It took the team over a month to upgrade one of the Super Production Primera cars to fully comply with the Super 2000 specifications. "We did it with the kit we have produced in our workshops. Now we are working on the second car, and hopefully we will be able to test again with the two of them around mid-April," Neville explained. RJN tested at the Donington Park National circuit, and was therefore unable to compare times with similar cars from the British Touring Car Championship. "The only reference we had was a Super Production Renault Clio that shared the track with us. We were four seconds faster, which is where we expected to be. However, Rustad's reaction to the car was more important than the time. He feels that the car has good potential, and he is normally a good judge of such things."

Rickard Rydell and James Hanson were testing the Prodrive Volvo S60 at the French track of Magny Cours on March 26th and 27th. "During the Vallelunga tyre tests, the car just ran and ran, but we had a variety of small problems at Magny Cours. However, it was much better to have those problems now than during the first race," Rydell explained. "We managed to achieve most of what we wanted to do, and were happy with the times we set, which were almost the same as the BMW 320i." The Volvo S60 was one of the cars that the team will run during the first round. "There are still some items to be changed, including some suspension elements, but basically the car is nearly as it will be for the season. We will test again in Great Britain in two weeks' time, with both of the 2002 cars. I am really looking forward to the first race; I think it will be very good, with Alfa Romeo, BMW, Nissan and Volvo taking part, and some excellent drivers."


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Series General
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Peter Kox , Rickard Rydell , Gianni Morbidelli , Nicola Larini , Charly Lamm , Tommy Rustad