Former Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean has become the latest name to join the FIA GT1 World Championship ahead of its inaugural season.
The 23-year-old Frenchman joins the successful Matech Competition squad campaigning a Ford GT, a car that fits the brand new GT1 regulations at the centre of the new SRO promoted World Championship. He will join German Thomas Mutsch in the no.5 car, with the all-female pairing of Natacha Gachnang and Cyndie Allemann in the sister no.6 car.
“Like any driver, I am happy when I have a wheel in my hands,” said Grosjean. “The fact that the GT1 received the World label represents a great challenge that I look forward to with great motivation. I know the team has worked a lot on the Ford GT1 for this new championship, and I hope that between Thomas and myself we will aim for the podium. We will put all our efforts to this.”
“The arrival of Romain Grosjean brings great value to our team. Romain is young and has already accumulated victories and titles in all disciplines of racing cars, results that led him to F1,” says team principal Martin Bartek His experience and his speed, combined with the qualities of Thomas Mutsch will allow us to see the future with eager anticipation.”
This week also saw British drivers Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes confirmed as the second driver pairing at the Nissan GT-R fielding Sumo Power team.
Unlike their new teammates, Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck, who both have strong connections to Japanese racing through the Super GT series, both Hughes and Campbell-Walter come from recent posts in prototype racing, Campbell-Walter in particular having been a stalwart of the privateer Creation Autosportif team for a number of years in a career that also includes winning the FIA GT series in 2000 in a Lister Storm.
The new cars and teams will have to fight against the established cars carried over from the GT series of previous years, led by the Maserati MC12 which will be campaigned by a pair of teams, reigning champions Vitaphone and Triple H Racing, the latter this week naming Bert Longin and Matteo Bobbi in the second car, Longin promising the two Maserati teams will “work very closely together” seemingly united under Michael Bartels' leadership.
Longin finished third in last year's series driving a Corvette, but has been brought across to the Italian marque alongside 2003 champion Bobbi, who drove for the a Vitaphone team last season.
The series begins on April 5, with a visit to the Yas Marina facility in Abu Dhabi, with points being awarded under the F1 points system, with 25 points being awarded to the winner, down a single point for tenth place.