26/04/2010 EVENT PREVIEW: On the GT Ladder to Success

Rounds 1 & 2 - Silverstone - 30th April to 2nd May 2010 

Now in its fifth year the FIA GT3 European Championship has continued to attract teams and drivers from across the world resulting in large grids and action packed racing on Europe’s leading race circuits. Although present in all the major national GT Championships, the GT3 pinnacle remains the FIA GT3 European Championship and has proven to be an excellent proving ground for drivers on the way to the top of GT racing, the FIA GT1 World Championship.  On the GT1 World grid this weekend are two GT3 champions – Christopher Haase (2009) and Henri Moser (2007) – and three GT3 race winners from last season – Christoffer Nygaard, Frederic Makowiecki and Maxime Martin – who will all be competing alongside some of the best GT drivers in the world.

The 12 race, 6 event championship takes in some of the best circuits across Europe including Silverstone, Brno, Jarama, Paul Ricard, Algarve and Zolder. The GT3 teams also have the opportunity to contest the Spa 24 Hours at the end of July. 

There are new cars, new teams and new rules for 2010.  Joining the grid for the first time is the BMW Z4 GT3 prepared and raced by the Need for Speed by Schubert Motorsport team.  Three of GT3 Europe’s regular teams – Mühlner Motorsport, Prospeed Competition and Trackspeed - will race the new Porsche 911 GT3 R, while the Marc VDS Racing Team have been developing the Ford Mustang Marc VDS GT3.  Argo Racing are also joining the GT3 grid with the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560.

The FIA GT3 European Championship has received thirty-four full season entries and in these tough economic times that is an impressive number.  2009 FIA GT3 European Team Champions Hexis AMR are defending their title with the Aston Martin DBRS9, while last year’s Driver’s Vice Champion Thomas Accary, who will be racing with new co driver Luc Paillard this season, hoping to make the step up to the top spot in 2010.  The nr 1 Aston will be driven by Frederic Makowiecki and Manuel Rodrigues, with Makowiecki having the double challenge of racing in the GT1 World Championship races as well as GT3 for the French team.

Danish driver Christoffer Nygaard also has a double workload this weekend when he competes in both GT1 and GT3 at Silverstone, but unlike Makowiecki, who will be racing an Aston Martin in both championships, the Dane will be racing a Ford GT in GT3 with Finland’s Mikko Eskelinen and an Aston Martin DB9 with Stefan Mücke in GT1 World.

The Audi R8 proved to be the car to beat in 2009, helping Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase to the driver’s title and, thanks to a new rule that allows GT1 teams to enter a 2-car team in GT3 even if the maximum of six cars for each model has been reached, no less than eight Audis will be seen on the grid in 2010.  Sainteloc-Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg are back for another season and are joined by new teams United Autosports from the USA and Black Falcon from Germany.

Six Corvettes Z06Rs will also be on the 2010 grid with 2007 Team Champions Callaway Competition joined by Graff Racing from France and Swiss team Toni Seiler Racing.  The BMW Alpina B6 made its first appearance in 2009 and towards the end of the season the results started to come with a podium finish in Zolder.  Team S-Berg Racing from Austrian will be hoping to continue the upward performance of the car in 2010.  British team Chad Racing are also competing on the European stage this season with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia.

In a change for 2010 the FIA GT3 European Championship is adopting the new Formula One style points where the top ten cars and drivers are awarded points from 25 for a win down to 1 for 10th place.  Both of the two 60-minute races score full points so the maximum a driver and team can score from a weekend is 50 points.  Success ballast is also added to the top three cars at the next meeting, with 20kg for a win, 15kg for 2nd and 10kg for 3rd.

The FIA GT3 European Championship can also be seen live on television across Europe on Motors TV and Bloomberg television, with all the races streamed live on the championship website.

CLICK HERE for entry list for Rounds 1 & 2 at Silverstone

CLICK HERE for event timetable