The Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil plays host to the penultimate round of the FIA GT1 World Championship this weekend. And with the season drawing to a close at San Luis in Argentina next weekend, both the Drivers and Team championships are finely balanced in the FIA's newest world championship.
The championships debut season, which got underway in Abu Dhabi back in April, has had just about everything that you could wish for from motor sport, close racing, stunning drives, bucketfuls of daring overtaking and a few high speed supercar crashes.
With just the two legs to go, Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati MC12, head the drivers and team standings. However, the Ford GT of Thomas Mutsch, and his race partner Tim Westbrook, will be looking to push them hard in the drivers championship.
The Maserati MC12 has been magnificent all year and the ultra professional Vitaphone team will be hoping to edge closer to the winning post at Interlagos. Andrea Bertolini though is wary about taking anything for granted just yet. “Winning the drivers’ championship at Interlagos will be difficult for Michael and myself because of our car weight. The Ford GT’s have a lighter car than us and I think that Thomas’ car will suit the circuit’s long straights and elevation changes better than that of the Maserati.”
In the team championship the Reiter Lamborghini squad, who had a double win in Navarra at the previous round, are closing up behind Vitaphone with Britain's Sumo Power Nissan GT-R team in third spot - a remarkable achievement in their first season as a race team.
The squad only came together last winter after a very late agreement was reached with Nismo. Sumo-Power's team principle James Rumsey reflects the mood of the team as they begin their South American odyssey, “It has been a good year so far and, although we have made a few mistakes, I believe that we have performed well and grown as a team - and certainly better than anyone had expected. The fact of the matter is that there are 114 team-points available from the last two rounds and a maximum of 66 driver-points available. Mathematically we can still win the teams’ title and see four of our drivers finish in the top five. Make no mistake: this is what are aiming for.”
Vitaphone though will be looking to secure both championships over the two remaining weekends and Bertolini is certainly up for the challenge. “I really hope Vitaphone Racing Maserati can win the teams’ championship, if not in Brazil then in Argentina a week later. The whole team has worked really hard to fight the very strong battles from the other teams and drivers and they deserve the title this year.”
Qualifying Saturday, Nov 27 11:00am
Qualifying Race Saturday, Nov 27 16:30
Championship Race Sunday Nov, 28 17:00
All session can be watched live at www.independent.co.uk/gt1Reuse content