Raging bulls to lock horns at Silverstone. Following the opening round of the 2002 Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy at Magny Cours two weeks ago, marking the start of another exciting chapter in the history of this prestigious one-make series, the ...
Raging bulls to lock horns at Silverstone.
Following the opening round of the 2002 Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy at Magny Cours two weeks ago, marking the start of another exciting chapter in the history of this prestigious one-make series, the Lamborghini camp moves on to Silverstone this weekend, May 4/5. And, as the raging bulls take to the track for the one and only UK round, they will be joined by 5th Gear presenter, Tiff Needell and double TVR Tuscan Challenge Champion and respected motoring journalist, Mark Hales. The pair will compete in Lamborghini's own VIP guest car, a 590bhp V12-engined Diablo GTR.
Selected as one of the major support series for the recently renamed LG Super Racing Weekends, fans of the championship will be able to follow the fight for the Overall Champions' and Gentlemens' titles at no less than seven race weekends this year with highlights of the races being televised on Eurosport. The Supertrophy also features a host of changes this season ensuring it stays firmly on the international racing calendar.
New for 2002
* Support series to LG Super Racing Weekends
* US to host season finale
* 3-hour endurance race
* Revised points system
* Updated brakes package
This year's Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy calendar sees the field of V12 590 horse-powered Diablo GTRs featuring alongside the FIA GT Championship and the FIA European Touring Car Championship at a number of the European LG Super Racing Weekends.
In addition to Silverstone this weekend, these will include Jarama (June 1/2), Oschersleben (13/14), Ennea Pergusa (Sep 21/22) and Estoril (Oct 19/20). Round 7, the season finale, is scheduled to take place in November in the United States.
Whilst the majority of the race weekends will adhere to their traditional format of two, fifty-minute races with either one or two drivers in each competing car, Round 6 at Estoril will take the form of a 3-hour endurance race with up to three drivers per car permitted. Reliability and durability will be the key factors in this feature length race.
2002 also sees a revised points system. In previous years, points have been awarded to teams of drivers but this year, they will only be allocated on an individual basis.
A further welcome addition to the championship is a revised ABS braking system for all cars as a result of Lamborghini's constant efforts to review and update the Diablo GTR's safety features as well as its racing prowess.
The Teams & Drivers
The fight for the 2001 Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy went right down to the wire last year with the Gianni brothers, Michele and Pietro just pipping fellow Italians, Vittorio Zoboli and Vincenzo Tirella to the Overall Champions title. Tirella and Zoboli return to the GTR Supertrophy this year, no doubt to exact revenge. And whilst the pair currently lead the standings after the opening round at Magny Cours, they aren't the only ones after the coveted title. There is plenty of competition out there this year - not least in the form of the 2001 Gentlemens' title-holder, Briton, Lee Cunningham.
Cunningham proved himself the black horse of the championship last year and after a season-long battle with the fast Frenchman, Lang-Willar, he not only claimed the Gentlemen's title but finished in overall fourth place against the more experienced "professionals". 2002 sees the Surrey driver now classed as a "Pro" and consequently he has teamed up with fellow Brit and Gentleman driver, Rory Passey.
Despite mixed results at the opening round, the MRi-Racing backed pair are expected to be a force to contend with, especially as they are run by experienced GT specialists, Reiter Engineering. Newcomers to the championship, Reiter Engineering is the latest in an already prestigious line up of teams to enter the GTR Supertrophy including Autovitesse, Team Corona, Mig Power and Fortec Team Italia. Founder, Hans Reiter was responsible for the Lamborghini GT 6L that ran in the 2000 and 2001 FIA GT Championships with the team claiming a stunning fifth place finish at the 2001 Estoril round with Oliver Gavin and Peter Kox. The team has high hopes and extensive experience of working with Lamborghini and, as such, has been chosen to run the Lamborghini VIP Diablo as its second car.
Also returning to the fray for 2002 is Team Corona with Franck Sevin and sportscar specialist, Jean-Marc Gounon. The French pair took the first chequered flag of the season at Magny-Cours and after finishing fifth in race two, they lie just two points behind the Mig Power pairing of Zoboli and Tirella. Belgian crew, Cedric Lorent and Luc De Winter pair up once again for Autovitesse and they too lie closely behind with just four points separating the top three crews.
Whilst there are a number of new drivers this year, 2002 also sees the return of several other familiar faces. Long-term supporter of the championship, Philippe Charriol (Riverside) drove alongside Michel Mhitarian at Magny-Cours two weeks ago whilst double Le Mans winner and former F1 Team Manager, Gerard Larousse drove solo. Alexander Frei and Leaseplan Manager, David Velay (Autovitesse) got their season off to a good start by taking a third place podium at round one and they currently lie fifth in the overall points behind Riverside newcomers, Stanislas De Saedeler and Mauro Casadei.
VIP Guest Drivers Announced
Television presenter, Tiff Needell (5th Gear) and double TVR Tuscan Challenge Champion and motoring journalist, Make Hales have been announced as the VIP Guest Drivers for this weekend's round of the 2002 Lamborghini GTR Supertrophy at Silverstone.
Whilst both drivers are newcomers to the V12-engined Diablo GTR, both are experienced enough to handle the power and might of the VIP car and are certain to be strong challengers this weekend. And to add to their strength, Needell and Hales will have the benefit of Reiter Engineering, the team nominated to run Lamborghini's VIP car this year.
Only a select few are invited by the Sant'Agata based Automobili Lamborghini SpA factory to drive the Lamborghini VIP car. The pair will follow in the footsteps of other renowned sportsmen such as Wayne Gardner, Michele Alboreto, Rene Arnoux, Troy Corser, Luc Alphand and Patrick Tambay.