An Anglo-Argentine team is targeting success in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this season. Chad Racing will field the Ferrari 430 with which José Manuel Balbiani and Juan Garriz plan to fly the flag for Argentina in the 13-round championship.
Balbiani's appetite for British GT was whetted at Knockhill last year when he deputised for Paul Warren at the wheel of a Chad Racing Ferrari. Partnered by Chris Hyman, Balbiani helped secure the team's sole podium finish of the season.
José hopes for further silverware in the coming season: "I won't say the championship is my target because there are many factors required, but for sure I hope for the top three. We are not planning a series of 17-hour flights just to hang around and see what happens: we want to score as many points as possible."
Thirty-two-year-old Balbiani talent-spotted Garriz, 19, in Formula Metropolitana single-seaters at the Mouras circuit in Argentina. "I saw that Juanchi was really reliable and finished all the races, then we tested at Snetterton and he went well."�Garriz is backed by his home town of Chascomus.
"Probably it is the first time an Argentinian team has tried British GT, and we will use our national racing colours of blue and yellow, which is a design dating back to the Fangio days. Our car is not the latest model but the British tracks are made for drivers, or at least drivers count and it rains a lot, so we believe that a great team and good drivers can make a difference."
Balbiani won the Ferrari Cup in FIA GT3 in 2008 and was selected by BMS to drive the team's GT2 Ferrari 430 in FIA GT2 at the last three rounds of the 2008 championship.
Chad team manager Piers Masarati added: "Chad has expanded over the winter in all areas and we have recruited the best people possible with Ferrari experience. This is a large program in 2010 and we are really happy that we have found a space for José and Juan. It is also nice that we have drivers who have been attracted to our team from outside the UK.
"We know José well from last year and he was the quickest driver in the wet at Donington last year in the same car, so we know he has the pace. Juan tested our GT2 Porsche in November and did a good job; he will have a lot to learn but before the first round will have tested at Snetterton, Oulton and Silverstone. This is a 2008-spec 430, so not a Scuderia, but the car is nimble and in the longer races this could be the car to have.
Chad announced last month the pairing of Chris Hyman with talented youngster Daniel Brown in an STP-backed Ferrari 430 Scuderia.
"We will announce Chad's third driver pairing next week, and this pairing will be in the team's second Scuderia... It's going to be a long hard season but the time is right for us to challenge for honours and this year will certainly be more competitive than 2009. The field looks very strong."
British GT, the opening rounds of which are scheduled for Oulton Park at Easter, is sponsored by UK tyre manufacturer Avon Tyres and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and The Independent.