The FIA GT Championship opened its eleventh season with the 2006 Championship-winning teams claiming pole in both categories – although for both drivers, it was their first FIA GT pole position !
2003 Champion Thomas Biagi placed the nr 1 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC 12 at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s race, while FIA GT newcomer Dirk Müller gave AF Corse Motorola its first GT2 pole position with the nr 50 Ferrari 430 GT2. Zhuhai saw the start of a new qualifying system, with fifteen minutes for GT1 followed by fifteen for the GT2/G2 cars.
BIAGI CLAIMS HIS FIRST-EVER FIA GT POLE
Thomas Biagi, the 2003 Champion, has finally claimed the statistic he was missing and set his first-ever FIA GT pole position. Racing this year alongside 2006 Champion Michael Bartels in the nr 1 Maserati MC12, the Italian emerged ahead of two Corvettes in an extremely close 15-minute qualifying session, setting a time of 1:31.339. "This pole was one of my goals this season, so now it is done, I feel more relaxed," Biagi said. "The race is going to be really tough, and with the new two-hour format it is going to be interesting."
He was just five thousandths of a second ahead of Mike Hezemans, in the nr 5 Carsport Holland Corvette C6R, and 25 thousandths faster than Anthony Kumpen, in the PK Carsport Corvette C5. "The car just worked fine, we were in the top three all the time, and it is important for tomorrow as the race is going to be tight and we do not know how the conditions will be," Hezemans explained.
His former team-mate Kumpen was equally pleased : "We have one of the oldest cars, but we are still in the front. Our team did a great job during the winter, as they completely rebuilt the car, we have to thank them because with their hard work we are in third position today. I hope it will continue this way."
Fourth place went to FIA GT newcomers Scuderia Playteam Sarafree, with the nr 11 Maserati MC 12 in the hands of reigning Champion Andrea Bertolini. Placing the PSI Experience C6 in fifth position, Philipp Peter confirmed the speed of the Corvette cars around the Zhuhai circuit.
The leading Aston Martin was sixth, Fabio Babini setting a time of 1:32.304 in the nr 23 Aston Martin Racing BMS DBR9, just ahead of Karl Wendlinger in the nr 33 Jetalliance Racing DBR9. The top seven qualified within one second of each other. The nr 7 All-Inkl.com Lamborghini Murciélago was tenth, meaning all the different makes were in the top ten.
The 15-minute session saw Hezemans take provisional pole position early on, only to be demoted by his former team-mate Anthony Kumpen. Hezemans retaliated and regained the pole, just two hundredths separating them. Half-way through the session, Biagi set his time of 1:31.339, narrowly taking provisional pole.
DIRK MÜLLER PLACES AF CORSE MOTOROLA ON POLE
AF Corse Motorola will start from the front two places for tomorrow’s GT2 grid, Dirk Müller having claimed the category pole position with the nr 50 Ferrari 430 GT2, while Gianmaria Bruni took second place with the nr 51 car. Andrew Kirkaldy, who claimed eight pole positions last season, had to be content with third position, putting an end to the run of ten consecutive poles for Scuderia Ecosse.
Müller, returning to his endurance roots after a number of years in the FIA European and then World Touring Car Championships, was delighted with his result. "One – two for AF Corse, and my first pole position for Ferrari : I’m really happy," he said. Bruni was equally pleased with his starting position for his first race out of single-seaters, and thanked his experienced team-mate, double FIA N-GT Champion Stephane Ortelli : "He has so much experience and a very good career in GT racing, so he is helping me a lot, and gives me good advice. I have to thank him."
Kirkaldy made up another all-Ferrari top three, on the first time out with Pirelli tyres. "We are going to have a hard fight in GT2 this year; it is going to be great ! This session was close, we worked hard with Pirelli. They did a great job for us. We are learning with them, they are learning with us, and we are moving forwards together."
He was closely followed by Emmanuel Collard in the BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche 997 GT2. Fifth in the session was the second Scuderia Ecosse car, which had broken its engine in the first free practice session. Due to this, its times were cancelled and the car will start from the back of the grid. This promoted the Ebimotors Porsche shared by Busnelli and former GT3 race-winner Marcello Zani to fifth. Tech9 were sixth on their GT2 debut, ahead of Felbermayr-Proton’s Porsche 996 car.
The session started with Collard on provisional pole, with a time of 1:35.896. His time was overtaken by that of Bruni, in the nr 50 Ferrari, who was in turn displaced by Kirkaldy; at this stage, the top four were within five tenths of a second. Eight minutes into the session, Dirk Müller set a lap of 1:35.113, which proved good enough for pole.
QUALIFYING - Amended 2007 FIA GT Championship Zhuhai Circuit Length = 4.3180 km. Start: 16:25 End: 17:40
FIA GT first race in ZHUHAI - CHINA
Two new pole men for the FIA GT Championship ! Thomas Biagi claimed his first FIA GT pole position in the first round of 2007, setting a time of 1:31.339 in an extremely close qualifying session around the 4.318 km Zhuhai International Circuit. The Italian driver weiter >>
With the rain continuing in Zhuhai, the teams were faced with a largely wet second free practice session. However, conditions dried towards the end, and times fell as some teams ventured out on slicks. The best lap was set by Philipp Peter in the nr 19 PSI Corvette C6, with a time of 1:34.432, 1.7 seconds ahead of the C weiter >>
The first 80-minute practice season of the year was close and varied, with rain showers and a wet track making things even more interesting, with slick, intermediate and wet tyres all being used. Four different makes led the session, with Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati and finally Corvette all taki weiter >>
The teams and drivers have gathered in Zhuhai for the first round of the 2007 season. One of the latest teams to be announced was PSI Experience, the team owned by Philippe Tillie. Their Corvette C6 will be driven in Zhuhai by FIA GT regular Philipp Peter, and newcomer Luke Hines, runner-up in the British GT Championshi weiter >>
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP 2007 PREVIEW ROUND ONE – ZHUHAI (CHINA)
All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini was present with three cars for the media launch of the FIA GT Championship (22-23 February 2007) in Monza, Italy. Jos Menten was the only driver behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT #8.
His fellow countryman Peter Kox was unable to att weiter >>
– FIA-GT-Saisonauftakt am Wochenende im chinesischen Zhuhai
– Montag Le-Mans-Test in Paul Ricard
In 19 Rennen rund um den Erdball – Stefan Mücke ist am Dienstag (20. März) aus der deutschen Hauptstadt zu seiner motorsportlichen Weltreise in der Sportwagen-Szene aufgebrochen. Der Berliner, der von 2002 bis 2006 in den Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (D weiter >>
SKY SPORTS AND ITV’s MEN & MOTORS ADD TO STELLAR LINE-UP
With the combination of a prime-time programme on leading British sports network Sky Sports, and up to 47 hours ofmlive television on ITV-owned Men and Motors, the FIA GT Championship is heading for its best-ever distribution on British television. Along with the continuation of the 26-minute highl weiter >>
Matech Racing has announced their plans to enter three Ford GT cars in the 2007 season of the FIA GT3 European Championship. This project is in the hands of Martin Bartek, owner of the Matech Concepts Company, located in Switzerland. The Swiss team has called on Christian Schumacher, of Belgium, to prepare the Ford GT cars for their homologation with the FIA.
Andreas Hain weiter >>
Team AutoGT Racing France launched the new Morgan Aero 8 in Paris this week, with the goal of taking part in the FIA GT3 European Championship with three cars.
Former Formula One driver, Jacques Laffite should race with his daughter Margot. Margot Laffite is used to racing on ice, in the Andros Trophy, but this will be her first full season on tarmac ! Frédéderic Makowie weiter >>
Over two days, a number of FIA GT3 European Championship teams were in Nogaro for the second official test session: Tech9 Motorsport was present with one Porsche 997 Cup, BMS Scuderia Italia with two Aston Martin DBRS9, JMB with one Ferrari 430 GT3 and Apex Motorsport with the new Jaguar XKR GT3.
For Tech9, BMS and JMB, those test sessions were a good opportunity to try o weiter >>
Aston Martin Racing BMS has signed up two exciting young drivers, fresh from single-seaters, to drive the nr 22 Aston Martin DBR9. We spoke to them in Nogaro ...
Ferdinando, this season is going to be your first season in the FIA GT Championship, what did you do before?
FM : "I raced in F3000 in 2004, then I did two years in GP2, one of t weiter >>
Following a recent decision by the FIA, the Lister Storm GT is now eligible to compete for a further two years in the FIA GT Championship.
A statement from Lister Racing explained : "Looking at the times set at the recent test in Monza, and comparing them with Tom Coronel’s times in the Storm, set two years’ ago in similar conditions, the car will still be very competiti weiter >>
Starting with the 2007 season, the team formerly known as Racealliance will be renamed Jetalliance Racing. This is due to the new majority shareholder, the Jetalliance Group.
The Austrian Aston Martin Importer Karner Holding remains a partner with a strategic 10% share. Katharina Lichtner-Hoyer, sister of majority shareholder Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer, has been named as CEO. weiter >>
After a successful test in Monza, the Scuderia Ecosse team were out on track a little closer to home, taking advantage of being based near to Knockhill Circuit. Tomas Enge, Tim Mullen and Andrew Kirkaldy were on driving duty; this was Tomas’ first run with the team so a chance for everyone to get acquainted.
The serious business of the day was to test various Pirelli tyre weiter >>
Monday night saw the PK Carsport season officially get underway in the Versuz discothèque in Hasselt. Drivers Anthony Kumpen and Bert Longin will be driving the team’s Corvette C5-R in the FIA GT Championship, as well as racing a Corvette Z06 in the Belcar.
"Due to the change of the regulations we had no choice and we had to go from three to two drivers" said Anthony Kump weiter >>
Barwell Motorsport’s Jonathan Cocker, who will make his GT1 debut in Zhuhai, has been named as one of the 20 finalists for the Motor Sport Association’s new British Race Elite programme.
David Brabham was one of those with the task of selecting the 20 drivers, aged between 16 and 25, who would go through to the next stage. "We tried to cover as many racing categories as weiter >>
2006 Champions AF Corse, to be known as AF Corse Motorola for the 2007 season, will be returning to defend their title with two Ferrari 430 GT2 cars and four top drivers ! For 2007, the nr 50 Ferrari 430 GT2 will be driven by Toni Vilander and Dirk Müller, while the nr 51 car will be in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni and Stephane Ortelili.
Returning to the team after racing weiter >>
Michael Bartels has announced that Vitaphone Racing fully intends to defend their titles in the GT1 category - including aiming for three-in-a-row in the Teams title, which it won in 2005 and 2006.
The German team will enter two Maserati MC 12 cars, shod this year with Michelin tyres. "It will not be easy to achieve our goals," Bartels admitted. "The competition will be e weiter >>
The cars will soon be loaded into the plane, and will set off for Zhuhai, China, where the first event of the 2007 season will take place. The first in a new era of two-hour races,with two obligatory pit stops including driver change - ten years after the first FIA GT race took place in 1997.
The entry grid for this first race is impressive, and with so many top driver li weiter >>
2007 FIA GT Championhsip Round 1 - ZHUHAI CHINA
1 Vitaphone Racing Team GER Michael Bartels GER Thomas Biagi ITA Maserati MC 12 GT1 GT1
2 Vitaphone Racing Team GER Miguel Ramos POR Christian Montanari RSM Maserati MC 12 GT1 GT1
4 GLPK Carsport BEL Anthony Kumpen BEL Bert Longin BEL Corvette C5R GT1
5 Carsport Holland NED Jean-Denis Deletraz weiter >>
This week saw the GT4 European Cup get underway at the Paul Armagnac circuit in Nogaro, France, with the first performance balancing tests of some of the cars due to take part in this year’s series.
Four different models of car were presented for testing : the Ford Mustang FR 500 GT, Nissan 350 Evo, Lotus Sport Exige and Aston Martin Vantage N24. They were put through th weiter >>
The Ford GT lands up in the FIA-GT3 championship !
This time the information is official; the Ford GT, worthy successor of the mythical GT40, will as from 2007 appear in GT3 version. And on top of that it will be competing in the European FIA-GT3 championship, all thanks to the initiative of an in weiter >>
Pos Car Class Car Thursday Friday Fastest
23 Aston Martin Racing BMSGT1 Aston Martin DBR9 1:46.622 1:45.504 1:45.504
33 Race Alliance GT1 Aston Martin DBR9 1:47.292 1:46.420 1:46.420
3 Phoenix GT1 Aston Martin DBR9 1:46.837 1:46.837
8 All-Inkl.com Racing GT1 Lamborghini Murciélago 1:47.802 1:47.802
The 2007 season of the FIA GT Championship got underway in Monza, with a press conference and test session around the powerful circuit.
Three sessions took place on track for the GT1 and GT2 cars, with a total of 20 cars taking to the track. The best time of the day was set by the nr 23 Aston Martin Racing BMS weiter >>
2007 FIA GT Championhsip
3 Phoenix Racing GER Giorgio Mondini Emmanuel Collard FRA Matteo Malucelli ITA Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
7 All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini GER Christophe Bouchut FRA Stefan Mücke GER Marc Basseng GER Lamborghini Murciélago GT1
8 All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini GE weiter >>
New team Spectrum Motorsport, led by Dana Brewer, is planning to enter two Saleen cars in the 2007 season of the FIA GT Championship. One car will be entered in the full season, and will be driven by two as-yet-unnamed American drivers, while the second car, to run in the Citation Cup, will weiter >>
The Spanish RSV Motorsport team makes sure its attendance to the new season of the International GT Open and de National GT Championship, and it takes responsibility of carrying out with the scheduled sportive programme for this year 2006. They are also going to take part in the prominent 24 Hours Spa in t weiter >>
ASL Team Mücke – Motorsports in FIA GT Championship
A new challenge is waiting for Stefan Mücke. From 2002 till 2006 the Berlin racer drove a Mercedes-Benz at the German Touringcar Challenge (DTM). For the coming season 2007 he will race in the FIA GT Championship for the ALL-INKL.COM weiter >>
Teams and drivers contacting the SRO London offices might have noticed that there’s a new face in the Team Relations department. Meet Paolo Callea, who has joined SRO to work on the FIA GT team relations.
Paolo has been actively involved in Motorsport since an early age. He had previous experience directly in karting, before moving to cars with Volvo and BMW. After he gra weiter >>
The 2006 edition of the FIA GT Championship book
- which also includes photos and reports on the inaugural season of the FIA GT3 European Championship
- is now available from Belgian publishers Apach.
The book, which is 144 pages long, has over 200 colour photos, and costs 42 euros.
For more information, or to pla weiter >>
Up until recently, the only way to get on-board camera images from a racing car or motorcycle was to transmit the images to the TV Compound via a helicopter hovering above the race circuit. However, following the introduction of digital microwave links around five years ago, Gigawave engineers set out to exploit the benefits offered by digital technology and eliminate the need fo weiter >>
French team First Racing is planning to run a team of Lamborghini Gallardo cars in the FIA GT3 European Championship this season. The First Racing workshops, in Magny-Cours, will take delivery of the three cars in mid-February. Fabien Giroix and Hans Reiter once worked together in the context of the DTM, resulting in this latest collaboration.
The Lamborghini Gallardo rac weiter >>
Aston Martin Racing BMS and Pirelli undertook two days of testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit on February 9th and 10th. Fabio Babini and Jamie Davies, who have been confirmed as the drivers of the nr 23 car for 2007, completed extensive testing of the Pirelli tyres, and worked on further development. The cars were also driven by
two young single-seater drivers, Alessa weiter >>
Monaco-based team JMB Racing has announced its racing plans for 2007. This includes entering two Maserati MC12 cars in the GT1 category of the 207 FIA GT Championship. The team will also enter three Ferrari 430 GT3 cars in the FIA GT3 European Championship, and will run two Maserati Trofeo cars in the GT4 European Cup.
JMB last ran Maserati MC 12 cars in the 2005 season, weiter >>
Bert Longin, driver with the GLPK Corvette for the last two years and threetimes race winner, has signed a two-year contract with his sponsors, Johnson Controls.
"I am really pleased with this," Belgian driver Bert said. "I think this is recognition of what I achieved last season. For me, it is a sign that I am doing my job. I have never had a two-year contract before; no weiter >>
The 2006 British and FIA GT3 European Champions, Leo Machitski and Sean Edwards respectively, have come together for 2007 to take the next step in GT racing, when they will race the Tech9 Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR.
The team undertook a shakedown onm February 7th at Brands Hatch. "The target was simply to put 200 km on the car and bed everything in," commented team ow weiter >>
The full range of Aston Martin racing cars have been testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit.
As well as the Aston Martin DBR9, which runs in the FIA GT Championship, the test included the DBRS9, a race-winner in the FIA GT3 European Championship last year, and the N24, which is one of the potential cars for the new GT4 European Championship.
BMS Scu weiter >>
After three intense days of testing in Adria on February 6th, 7th and 8th, Scuderia Playteam-Sarafree has announced the names of the drivers for their two Maserati MC 12 cars for the 2007 FIA GT Championship.
One car will be in the hands of 2006 Champion Andrea Bertolini and 2006 runner-up Andrea Piccini. The other car will be driven by Giambattista Giannoccaro and Alessa weiter >>
For 2007, RS Line and Reiter Engineering will be coming together under the banner All Inkl.com Racing to run two Lamborghini Murciélago cars in the FIA GT Championship, under the lead of All-Inkl.com’s René Munnich.
One car will be led by 2006 All Inkl.com driver, and triple FIA GT Champion, Christophe Bouchut. His team-mate is yet to be announced. "I am very happy to wor weiter >>
The 2007 season of the FIA GT and FIA GT3 European Championships will get underway on February 22nd at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, in Italy, with a two-day FIA-sanctioned official test session, including a media day and press conference on the first day.
Teams due to attend the test days include All-Inkl.com with the Lamborghini Murciélago cars, Race Alliance and As weiter >>
FIA GT Championship Neue Herausforderung für Stefan Mücke
Der Berliner fährt 2007 im Lamborghini Murciélago in der FIA GT Meisterschaft
Eine neue Herausforderung steht Stefan Mücke bevor: Der Berliner Rennfahrer, der von 2002 bis 2006 in den Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) jeweils mit ei weiter >>
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP 2007
After making his début in the international arena in the Le Mans Series in 2006, Jos Menten moved his ambitions to a full-season entry in the FIA GT Championship. The 25-year old talented Dutchman inked a deal with All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini. Together with his fellow countryman Peter Kox he will spur a Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT spec weiter >>
With the growth of the FIA GT Championship and the reduction of the race length, SRO is delighted to confirm a very significant increase of the TV coverage for the 2007 season.
This includes a deal with DSF in Germany to show all the events either live or same-day delayed. DSF is Germany’s leading sports network, present in over 90% of German homes.
In Belgium, an weiter >>
For 2007, SRO will take a step towards re-establishing the balance between professionals and non-professionals with the formation of the Citation GT1 Cup. Running within the GT1 category of the 2007 FIA GT Championship, the Citation GT1 Cup will involve a separate classification and podium for the eligible cars. It will be open to non-professional drivers, using the same criteria weiter >>
2007 SRO Motorsport Group extends its activities for 2007
The SRO Motorsports Group will be extending its activities in 2007, with the creation of four new series as well as taking over the running of a fifth. This expansion will involve setting up three new offices, as well as those established in London and Paris.
SRO Motorsports Gro weiter >>