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Sep 21, 2012 - 05:34 PM
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Monza GT Open Preview 1
Posted by: newsla on Sep 21, 2012 - 05:29 PM
Sports Cars
Monza GT Open Preview 1

The International GT Open enters the final fouth of the season, composed of its two most traditional (and generally, best-attended) events: Monza and Barcelona. The legendary Autodromo Nazionale is celebrating this year its 90th anniversary and the GT Open could definitely not miss visiting it in such an occasion!


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As always, andrenalin levels are growing when heading to Lombardy, as things start to become serious for the title battles. This is partciularly true this year, with gaps tremendously close at the top of the standings following the Budapest round and the rejection of the Ricard’s appeals by the FFSA Court of Appeal. In the overall standings, Gimmi Bruni-Federico Leo on the AF Corse Ferrari 458 are leading, by only one point (149 to 148), over the Manthey Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Marco Holzer-Nick Tandy. Worth of noting is that Gimmi Bruni will continue to be at the wheel of the AF Ferrari #4 bidding for the title, despite his initial WEC commitment.

Behind the two leaders, the outsiders are still in perfect contention as the Villois Racing Aston Martin of Matteo Malucelli-Alvaro Barba (130), the aabar Villorba Ferrari of Andrea Montermini-Cochito López (113) and the V8 Racing Corvette of Raffaele Giammaria-Miguel Ramos (101) have still plenty of cards to play. Four different constructors in the top five prove the level of competition reached this year.

The situation is pretty open also in the GTS category, where Daniel Zampieri-Michael Dalle Stelle (Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 GT3) lead by only 3 points over of Stefano Bizzarri (AF Corse Ferrari) and by 8 over the Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 R of Marco Mapelli-Archie Hamilton.

Monza is always synonimous of a good entry and interesting additions, and so it will be this year too. The official entry list (which should reach the 30 units) will be released on Monday, but it is already confirmed that AF Corse will bring an additional 458 in the SuperGT category, entrusted to India’s Vimal Mehta and Brazil’s former F1 driver Enrique Bernoldi, who will make his debut in the series. Another former Grand Prix star is also back: Alessandro Nannini returns to the series, together with his friend Gianni Giudici, at the wheel of the Lotus Evora seen at the beginning of the season.

In the GTS category, as expected the Lapidus Racing McLaren MP4 12C of Klaas Hummel-Adam Christodoulou, a fresh winner of the Barcelona 24 Hours, rejoins the GT Open for the reminder of the season, while Kessel Racing confirms the additional car of Gattuso-Zanuttini seen in Hungary. There will also be at least another Mercedes SLS, alongside GDL Racing’s one, entered by Austria’s Lechner Racing Team for Walter Lechner and Mario Plachutta, while the Swiss Team Maserati Granturismo MC3 of Gabriele Gardel-Alessandro Pier Guidi will make its second outing of the season. Other additions will be confirmed on Monday.

From a tecnical point of view, the most interesting novelty will undoubtedly be the Montecarlo BRC w 12, the first-ever car using alternative fuels taking part to the GT Open. The man behind the project is Fulvio Maria Ballabio (57), who in parallel to his career as a driver, which brought him in F.1, Sportscar and Indycar, has worked as an engineer and constructor since 1983, when he founded Montecarlo Automobiles, which soon after produced its first supercar, the Centenaire, the first GT car entirely built in carbon. The car that will compete in Monza, developed together with eco-friendly engine specialst BRC, fits an atmospheric w 12 engine of Audi origin, and is exclusively powered with LPG gas (liquified petroleum gas). Ballabio, who will share the wheel with Monaco’s Frédéric Lajoux, also know as the organizer of Ever, the Eco-friendly Motorshow in Monaco, is planning to campaign the car in the GT Open in 2013, after switching to an hybrid version.

As usual, the European F3 Open and the FIA Formula 2 will complete the exciting racing programme, which also includes the F.Abarth Euroseries, the F.2000 Light and the Italian Prototype Championship. The GT Open will enjoy the usual exhaustive TV coverage, live or slightly deferred, offered notably by Motors TV at pan-European level and key national broadcasters such as Raisportdue (Italy), Sport1+ (Germany), Teledeporte and Canal + Deportes (Spain), Sport TV (Portugal) and Orange Sport TV (Poland), to name just a few.

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