Dane Allan Simonsen will return to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in 2012, once again co driving with Hector Lester in a Ferrari 458 GT3.
The pair – and Rosso Verde team – have been championship regulars in Ferrari equipment for several seasons, though they and their Ferrari 430 Scuderia were outpaced in the first half of the 2011 season by the new 458.
The team fielded one of the new Ferraris for the final two rounds of the championship – Donington Park and Silverstone – though BTCC driver Gordon Shedden took Simonsen's place alongside Lester on both occasions.
“I have always enjoyed racing British GT,” said Simonsen, “with so many great manufacturers on board, and now that Rosso Verde has upgraded to the latest spec Ferrari 458 GT3, I feel we can once again push for the wins.”
“Clearly the 430 Scuderia was showing its age last year against more modern machinery, but we still did well with what we had at the time.”
The announcement comes as Simonsen prepares for the Bathurst 12 Hours in which he will get he will drive a GT3 Ferrari 458 for the first time, sharing with Dominik Farnbacher, John Bowe and Peter Edwards. He has previously driven the GT2 and VLN-spec versions of the 458, which was launched onto world race circuits last season.
He explained; “the transition from 430 to 458 is not hard at all since I’ve spent the 2011 season in at LMS spec car along with doing the 24 Hours of Le Mans and NÃ¼rburgring.”
“In December I had a test day [at Bathurst] and took two seconds off the outright lap record, on the new Maranello Motorsport 458’s first outing, so this race should be valuable GT3-spec experience , that I can bring to the team.”
The 2012 British GT Championship begins – as is traditional – at Oulton Park on the Easter weekend.