What started out as a dominant performance by Aston Martin, crossing the finish line 1-2 during Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Silverstone, unraveled after the race and promoted third place finisher Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes in the Sumo Power Nissan GT-R to the top spot on the podium.
First came the news that the the #9 Hexis Racing DB9 of Frederic Makowiecki and Thomas Accary had covered more than three laps before serving a drive-through penalty, promoting Sumo Power to 2nd place. Then an hour later came the news that #7 Aston Martin of team Young Driver was being excluded for excessive plank wear. Post-race inspection showed that a few millimeters too much had been shaved off the #7 DB9′s belly plank from running too aggressively over the corner rumble strips. The Young Driver AMR team is appealing this ruling, but for now at least the official race victory belongs to Sumo Power‘s Campbell-Walter and Hughes.
This may not be the way Nissan or Sumo Power GT wanted to win their first race in the FIA GT1 World Championship, but it certainly does not take anything away from the impressive pace the Sumo Power GT-Rs displayed throughout the Silverstone weekend. Meanwhile, the Swiss Racing Team GT-Rs couldn’t quite match the pace of the Sumo Power Nissans, the #4 SRT GT-R finishing 9th and the #3 GT-R finishing 17th.
It will be interesting to see how the Aston Martin appeal unfolds in the days and weeks before Round 3 of the Championship, May 21-23 at Brno in the Czech Republic. For updates on the series and for live video feeds from each race, visit the official FIA GT1 website at http://www.gt1world.com
The complete Nissan press release from Silverstone and a collect of photos are available after the jump.
05.02.2010 , FRANKLIN, Tenn.
VICTORY FOR NISSAN GT-R AT SILVERSTONE ROUND OF THE FIA GT
Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes took the first ever FIA GT1 race victory for the Nissan GT-R at Silverstone raceway this weekend. In an astounding turn of events the two Sumo Power drivers now find themselves the proud winners of the RAC Tourist Trophy which is historically awarded to the winners of the Silverstone round after taking third place on the track.
The two cars that finished ahead of the Nissan GT-Rs on the track were penalized after the checkered flag fell. The winning Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Tomas Enge was excluded for a technical infringement and the second placed Aston Martin of Fred Makowiecki and Thomas Accary received a time penalty for taking too long to come in for a drive-through penalty.
This result means that Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes’ names will be forever listed alongside names such as Stirling Moss, Tazio Nuvolari and Graham Hill on the Tourist Trophy.
Hughes got a great start to the race, moving up to fourth place immediately. Michael Krumm didn’t fare so well as he was pushed wide and had to drop back to ninth to avoid an accident. The Swiss Racing Nissan GT-Rs also lost out at the start with Seiji Ara running in 14th and Karl Wendlinger in 19th. At the end of lap two the Safety Car came out while a stricken and burning Corvette was removed from the side of the track. This held the cars at a steady pace until the start of lap seven when the Safety Car came in and racing resumed.
By lap 10 Hughes was still running strongly in fourth place, Krumm was up to eighth after passing a Corvette and Ara and Wendlinger were also making good progress.
Just before the pit stop window opened, Krumm was locked into a great battle with Andrea Bertolini’s Maserati. The pair was having a good fight but then Oliver Gavin’s Corvette joined in and three-into-one just wouldn’t go. The net result was Krumm and Gavin going off into the gravel at Vale.
“At the start I was pushed wide onto the grass by Bernoldi so I had to lift to avoid an accident,” said Krumm. “I then couldn’t make up any positions as we were behind the safety car for a long time. Once we were racing again I was having a good fight with Bertolini in the Maserati. I knew that Gavin was behind us but I was concentrating on the Maserati. The next thing I knew I was in the gravel. It’s a shame as the car is really quick now. Hopefully we can show this at Brno.”
Hughes then dived into the pits to hand over to Jamie Campbell-Walter, who was immediately pitched into battle with a Maserati.
“My stint was pretty exciting,” said Campbell-Walter. “We pitted quite early so I went out into a load of traffic. I had a great fight with a Maserati; we were swopping places so much it was like a rollercoaster ride. Once I got past him for the last time I set off after Kechele in the Lamborghini. We were well matched over the whole lap and I decided that the only place I would be able to pass him was into Copse, as he kept braking early there. I went for it, I don’t think we touched but it was pretty close.”
The Swiss Racing team endured a difficult weekend but salvaged a top ten finish in this afternoon’s championship race. Soon after the pit stops Henri Moser went off at the fastest part of the track, resulting in a lot of damage to the No.3 Swiss Racing Nissan GT-R and a trip to the medical centre for Henri.
“It’s hard to know what happened really,” he said. “I was passing a Lamborghini at the end of the Hangar straight and suddenly I’m spinning off into the tires. It’s a shame as the car was perfect. My stint had been tricky up to that point as I was in a lot of traffic. I knew once I was past the Lamborghini I would have a clear track in front of me and would be able to go a lot quicker. It was a clean move so it’s disappointing to end up in the barrier.”
“That was a very hard weekend for Swiss Racing Team,” said Technical Director Erich Kolb. “The race was not too bad for Seiji and Max though. Max joined the race in a lot of traffic, which immediately put him under pressure but he quickly settled into a rhythm and started to put in very good lap times. It was very good to see him take a top ten finish after such a difficult weekend. Henri’s accident caused a lot of damage to the car but luckily Henri is okay. All in all it was a tough weekend but we’re happy we have started to score points and happy for Sumo for their fantastic result.”
The final word has to go to Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes, the winners of the RAC Tourist Trophy and the men who took the first FIA GT1 win for the Nissan GT-R.
“That’s amazing!” said Hughes. We were happy with third and then we were told it might be second so to get the call to say we won is incredible. I was actually giving the trophy envious glances during the press conference, thinking it would be nice to have my name on there, so this is a great result for us. I’m genuinely delighted to have the win as this is a great result for the championship.”
“For a British driver it’s a massive honor to win the Tourist Trophy and to be the guys who take the first FIA GT1 win for Nissan is incredible,” said Campbell-Walter. “I have to express my condolences to Darren and Tomas though as they did a great job today and it can’t be nice to have this taken away from you as a driver. When I won the FIA GT race in 2000 here at Silverstone I was presented with the Tourist Trophy but my name was never engraved on it as it wasn’t an official Tourist Trophy meeting. I feel like I’ve won it for a second time now but this time my name will go on there so that’s great. This is a fantastic result for Nissan and for the Sumo Power team.”