The British GT will have an Argentinean duo racing for the season, as Piers Masarati's Chad Racing add a second Ferrari for their 2010 campaign.
The car, running in traditional Argentine racing colours of blue and yellow, will be shared by Jose Manuel Balbiani and Juan Garriz for the 13 race season.
Balbiani made his British GT debut last year when he partnered Chad Racing regular Chris Hyman for three races, including the Knockhill weekend when they scored a third place, Chad's best finish of the season.
However, even before that Balbiani had Ferrari experience having run a handful of races for GT2 squad BMS Scuderia in 2008 alongside an FIA GT3 campaign which saw him pick up the laurels as half of the best Ferrari pairing while driving for Kessel Racing.
Joining him is Juan Garriz, also known as 'Juanchi'. The 19-year-old was spotted by Balbiani himself running in the single seat Formula Metropolitana series in Argentina.
“I saw that Juanchi was really reliable and finished all the races, then we tested at Snetterton and he went well,” says Balbiani. “Probably it is the first time an Argentinian team has tried British GT. 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.”
“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.”
“Chad has expanded over the winter in all areas and we have recruited the best people possible with Ferrari experience” says team manager Masarati. “This is a large program in 2010 and we are really happy that we have found a space for JosÃ© and Juan. It is also nice that we have drivers who have been attracted to our team from outside the UK.”
“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.”
The announcement of the Argentine pair comes after last months confirmation that South African Hyman and Daniel Brown will campaign an STP-backed 430 Scuderia machine and Masarati says the team still intend to field another for the year, another Scuderia with the driver pairing to be confirmed “next week”.