RJN Motorsport will enter their Nissan 350Z in the N-GT category at Zhuhai. Last seen in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, the car will be driven in China by Neil Cunningham and Ben Collins, a top line-up ensured thanks to a joint commercial package with Jonathan France, whose Company EFS Group Total Metal Solutions is promoting Chinese business opportunities. Team Boss Bob Neville commented Although the car is still very new we would like to end the 2004 season with a solid performance at Zhuhai.
Missing the second part of the season, 2000 FIA GT Champion Lister Racing has announced that it should be back in 2005. \"This year\'s experience has made us decide one thing,\" the team\'s 2004 review said : \"In 2005, the Lister team will compete in the FIA GT Championship with two professional drivers in one of the cars. We are sure to race at least one, new, 2005 specification Storm and we will challenge for the Championship honours once again.\"
Michael Mallock will line-up alongside Chris Goodwin in the No. 8 Saleen at Zhuhai, China on 14th November for the eleventh and final round of the 2004 FIA GT Championship. An impressive performance at this years Spa 24 Hours led to the teams decision to partner Michael with Chris for the final event. The No. 7 Saleen will feature the regular line-up of Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos.
The first information on the TV coverage of the 11th round of the FIA GT Championship, in Zhuhai, has just been announced. A large number of TV channels will show a three-and-a-half live broadcast of the event, as well as a delayed broadcast and highlights. These includes the China Satellite Travel TV, which covers 68% of China, and Jiangsu TV, Guangxi TV, Guangzhou TV, Shenzhen GT and Zhuhai TV. There will also be delayed broadcasts on other networks and numerous other TV channels in China, too many to mention, will also broadcast highlights. This is as well as the usual one-hour highlights programme on Eurosport on the 14th November.
Melbourne-based Coopers Racing team has entered its exotic Ferrari 550 GT Maranello in the inaugural GT Festival Bahrain, to be run on November 24-26, on the Arabian Gulf kingdom\'s brand new grand prix circuit.
The 610 horsepower (455 kW), V12 Ferrari will be raced by ex-pat Australian sportscar star, David Brabham, and locally-based Dane, Allan Simonsen, in three, 35-minute qualifying races and a one-hour endurance final with a driver change.
In the context of the Bahrain GT Festival, in which a number of cars from the FIA GT Championship will take part between November 24th and 26th, an official press launch took place last week. This coincided with the launch of the official bahraingp.com web site . The President of the Bahrain International Circuit, Sheikh Fawaz al Kalifa, was in attendance. Karl Wendlinger was also there, with a JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena car, and he gave the President a VIP ride in the N-GT car.
The provisional calendar for the 2005 season of the FIA GT Championship was published following the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, which met in Paris on October 13th. The Championship is due to return to 2004 tracks such as Monza, Magny-Cours, Brno, Spa, Oschersleben, Dubai and China, with a return to Silverstone planned for May, and new locations added such as Istanbul, Bahrain and Japan. A number of dates and locations are yet to be determined, with others provisional on ASN confirmation.
The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on Wednesday October 13th, and a number of decisions were taken concerning the FIA GT Championship , with the homologation of the Maserati MC 12, the new names for the categories, and information on the technical regulations. Read on for further details :
\"It has been a really perfect weekend for us,\" Matteo Bobbi said. \"We set the best lap in the free practice, were ahead in qualifying and now we\'ve won the race. We had a really bad season this year, and today we proved that we are able to win once we have a weekend without any problems coming up. I had to push really hard in my stint, then Gabriele got into the car and he did a really good job. It was maybe the best race of his career. I\'m so proud for the team and would like to thank everybody as well. My ex-teammate [Thomas Biagi] is here this weekend as well - it seems that whenever he\'s with me, I\'m having good races, so I have to thank him as well!\"
Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr claimed their third successive win in Dubai today, crossing the line ahead of Ortelli and Collard in the nr 50 Porsche, and keeping the Championship battle alive until Zhuhai. \"The heat was really bad! Lucas was coming in early and was totally shattered, and I had to end my stint earlier than planned as well because I wasn\'t feeling all that good as well Sascha said . Lucas did a fantastic job, though. He wanted to have the main part of the work here in Dubai, both in qualifying and during the race, and I\'m really thankful for that! For the Championship, things don\'t look so good. So far, both Porsches have finished all the races and never had a technical problem, and I don\'t expect that to change during the final race.
With a tremenuous performance in the action-packed penultimate round of the FIA GT Championship, Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel in the nr 1 BMS Ferrari scored their second victory of the season in the oppressive heat of Dubai. The nr 43 AF Corse Maserati had been leading until five minutes before the end of the race, when they dropped back to second position after a final pit stop. The nr 3 Care Racing Ferrari finished third, ahead of the nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen, which had had fought its way to the front runners from the last grid position, following an engine change after Free Practice. In N-GT, the nr 99 Freisinger Porsche took the win from its sister car nr 50 and the pole-setting nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari.
The nr 34 AF Corse Maserati MC 12 of Johnny Herbert and Fabrizio de Simone, which will be starting from second position in this afternoon\'s race, clocked the fastest time in the warm-up session in 1:56.613. The pole setting nr 1 BMS Ferrari finished second on the time sheets, with the nr 24 DAMS Lamborghini claiming third in the last seconds of the session. N-GT Championship leaders Ortelli and Collard in the nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Porsche lead in their class in front of their title rivals, the nr 99 Freisinger Porsche. The nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari was third in the N-GT classification.
07/10/2004: Bobbi and Pescatori on pole in Dubai Matteo Bobbi claimed his second pole position of the season in a thrilling second qualifying session in Dubai. Despite the boiling afternoon heat, the times continued to drop, and the nr 1 BMS Ferrari set a fastest lap of 1:56.182 half an hour into the session. The two AF Corse Maseratis finished second and third, with the nr 34 of Herbert and de Simone in front of its sister car, which had been leading the morning session. There were no changes in the top positions of the N-GT classification, the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari ahead of the Freisinger Porsches nr 99 and nr 50.
After the first qualifying on Thursday, the AF Corse Maserati MC 12 nr 33 of Mika Salo and Andrea Bertolini is on provisional pole position, setting a fastest lap time of 1:56.714 early in the session and staying in the lead until the chequered flag fell. The nr 1 BMS Ferrari set the second fastest time of the morning, only three hundredths of a second behind the leading car, with the second Maserati finishing in third position. The nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari was once again setting the pace in N-GT, followed by all the Freisinger Porsche cars.
The afternoon practice session on Wednesday saw Maserati take the lead again, the nr 34 AF Corse of Johnny Herbert and Fabrizio de Simone going fastest with a 1:58.152, almost one second ahead of their sister car nr 33. The BMS Ferrari nr 1, which had been leading the morning session, finished in third position as the chequered flag fell after battling with the two Maserati cars for the lead for most of the session. The nr 62 GPC Ferrari continued to lead in N-GT, followed by all three Freisinger Porsches.
In the sizzling heat of Dubai, the nr 1 BMS Ferrari 550 Maranello of Bobbi and Gardel set the fastest time of the first free practice session, their 2:00.509 more than seven tens of a second quicker than the nr 8 RML Saleen on second position. Bertolini and Salo in the nr 33 AF Corse Maserati took third place. Ferrari was on the pace in the N-GT class as well, with the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena taking the lead in front of the Freisinger Porsches nr 99 and nr 50.
With the first-ever motorsports event being held at the brand-new Dubai Autodrome, a 30-minute shakedown session took place on the Tuesday afternoon. 20 cars took part in this session, which saw the two AF Corse Maserati MC 12 cars set the fastest times, followed by the Saleen S7 of Konrad Motorsport and Graham Nash Motorsport. In N-GT, the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena car of Christian Pescatori set the best time, the Freisinger Porsches not going out.
01/10/2004: A lap of Dubai with David Terrien David Terrien, the 2001 N-GT Champion, runner-up in 2002 in GT with Larbre Competition and a driver for JMB Racing last year, knows the Dubai Autodrome well, as he is working there in preparation for the weekend\'s race. He described the circuit in detail: \"You might expect a circuit in the desert to be flat and uninteresting, but this is anything but ! The track goes up and down and is great fun to drive; there should be plenty of opportunities for overtaking ...\"
01/10/2004: Vitaphone looks forward to Dubai Vitaphone Saleen drivers Bartels and Alzen are confident and looking forward to the next round. \"We have had again bad luck at the last race in Oschersleben, but Michael and I will do our best to get on the podium.Our ambition will never get broken by such bad luck. We will fight to finish on the podium in the last two races,\" Alzen commented. \"I am very excited to drive on a new track and modern circuit like the Dubai Autodrome. It will be a new experience for all teams and an interesting atmosphere around the circuit,\" Bartels agreed
After an excellent weekend in Oschersleben, where the nr 28 Graham Nash Saleen qualified third and ran in the top group until it suffered problems towards the end of the race. For Dubai, the team will have a strong, all-Italian line-up, with team regulars Paolo Ruberti and Gabriele Lancieri joined by Rocky Agusta, who previously drove in the Championship in 1997, with a Callaway Corvette. \"I am so excited to be back in the FIA GT championship and in such a competitive front-running car. I am lucky to be sharing with two ver talented drivers,\" Agusta said.