Galatasaray's Orient Express ready for Superleague Formula

Galatasaray's Orient Express ready for Superleague Formula

06.03.2008: Galatasaray's Orient Express ready for Superleague Formula

Superleague Formula has already travelled the globe unveiling the colours of the world's leading football clubs, but today, the new motor racing championship spanned two continents with its most spectacular launch to date.

The red and yellow Galatasaray SK car was unveiled on the club's very own island – situated in the middle of the Bosphorus straight in Istanbul between the continents of Europe and Aisa.

The historic city of Istanbul has previously been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires – now the fans of Galatasaray SK have their sights set on reigning over this new motorsport championship which will feature the colours of the world's leading football clubs.

Galatasaray SK's entry was revealed today by club president, Ozhan Canaydin and manager Karl Heinz Feldkamp along with the entire Galatasaray SK squad.

With the Bosphorus Bridge as a backdrop, the car was revealed by releasing hundreds of balloons that previously cocooned the 750 horsepower, V12-powered machine.

Joining the management and players was Galatasaray's newest signing – Italian race team, Scuderia Playteam – the squad that will represent the Turkish club when Superleague Formula kicks off in August.

Scuderia Playteam, in turn, also brought along two potential signings to Istanbul, former Italian GT championship winner and Scuderia Playteam regular, Italian, Alessandro Pier Guidi; plus Turkish local hero, GP2 racer Jason Tahincioglu.

The duo recently were part of the group that took part in a evaluation testing session for Scuderia Playteam aboard Formula 3000 cars in Italy.

"We are delighted to have Scuderia Playteam as part of the Galatasaray family and thrilled at the great selection of racing talent that the team has been testing of late – we are confident that Galatasray will be well and truly prepared for this great challenge," club President Mr. Ozhan Canaydin said.

"We welcome the potential drivers to Istanbul and wish them the best of luck – we are looking forward to one of them earning the honour of driving the Galatasaray car in our first race in Superleague Formula."

After graduating to Superleague Formula from major international and domestic GT championships around the world, Scuderia Playteam is leaving no stone unturned in preparation the football-themed championship – having recently hired ex-Minardi and Toro Rosso Formula 1 technical chief Gabriele Tredozi as its new Technical Director.

"We are working on producing a high level racing and entertainment package for spectators around the world," Team owner and founder Giambattista Giannoccaro said.

"I’m sure the Galatasaray SK fans will follow the launch of our Superleague team closely, and hopefully cheer for us this week during the car’s unveiling at the club's home ground, and later in the year when the season gets underway."

Giannoccaro and the two drivers were joined at the launch by Scuderia Playteam general manager Graziano Semiani.

Today's island launch was attended by local media and club corporate supporters. This Saturday, the local fans get their opportunity to see the car and meet the potential drivers when the car is revealed prior to Galatasaray SK's match against Kayserispor – a vital match for the home team which is looking to reclaim top spot on the Turkish league table.

Superleague Formula President and CEO Alex Andreu believes Galatasaray's entry into Superleague Formula could become one of the most popular teams in the competition.

"The fan and media reaction from Istanbul has been incredibly strong and it appears Scuderia Playteam are certainly putting in a very significant effort to ensure they can challenge for the front of the pack," Andreu said.

"We have had the chance to see and hear the Superleague Formula prototype in action for the first time this week in testing in the UK and I can assure the Galatasaray fans – they are going to love the sight and sound of their colours on the track.

"The Orient Express used to arrive in Istanbul from Paris – now I think Galatasaray's Superleague Formula car could earn the same nickname.

"We are also proud and very thankful to the club for arranging such a spectacular setting for our launch – spanning two continents is a unique moment for our championship."

Galatasaray will join other leading European clubs AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, Olympiacos, FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund, FC Basel, RSC Anderlecht, Sevilla plus Brazilian rivals Flamengo and Corinthians on the 20 strong grid.

Each club will fight it out for 1 million Euro prizemoney at each of the six championship rounds. Each round will feature two races – one with a complete reverse grid.


- Paul Ryan-  photos Superleague copyright


06.03.2008 / MaP

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