AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
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.
As reported in Autosport Magazine, the two Nissan teams competing in the new FIA GT1 World Championship have threatened to boycott the next round and to launch a protest unless the weight penalty heaped on the GT-R ahead of the Abu Dhabi series opener is removed.
The first race of the season took place last weekend (April 17th/18th) at Abu Dhabi’s F1 masterpiece Yas Marina Circuit, where the FIA held a controversial test session prior to the race in an effort to equalize performance between the varied machinery being campaigned. Former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen took each of the six types of cars in the series for a few hot laps, but rather than taking the planned 10 to 15 laps in each car it has been reported that he took fewer and that those were unevenly distributed amongst the six types of cars that compete in the series (Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ford GT, Aston Martin DB9, Maserati MC12, and Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV).
The result of Frenzen’s testing was 66 lbs of penalty weight being added to the Nissan GT-Rs (the stiffest penalty of the bunch, with the Maserati receiving a 55 lb penalty and the Corvette and Lamborghini taking on 22 lb each), which turned out to render them uncompetitive during the season opening race.
Both teams campaigning Nissan GT-Rs argued that the test done by the FIA was unfair, citing the limited time Frentzen spent in each car and the varying track conditions during the tests. There were also allegations of gamesmanship leveled at the Ford, Chevrolet and Aston Martin teams. The Ford GT, which went on to win the main race, apparently did not break the 2-minute 10-second mark during the FIA test and yet lapped in the 2-minute 7- to 8-second range during the race.
GT-R runners The Swiss Racing team stated “We will not go to Silverstone under these conditions. We cannot be a grid filler.” The other GT-R squad, British-based Sumo Power, stated “We have to go to Silverstone because it is our home event. We have tried to argue our car with facts and figures, but we are prepared to put our money down and protest.”
For highlights of the Yas Marina 2010 FIA GT1 Championship opener, watch the video after the jump.