With two months until the March 26 season opener in Abu Dhabi the first hints of the grid for the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship are coming together, with both Aston Martin squads making driver announcements.
Young Driver AMR have confirmed that Tomas Enge will return to the German run team for a second season. Enge, together with co-driver Darren Turner were in contention for the drivers' title, only for a sluggish weekend at the finale at San Luis to leave them short of the title, falling to fourth in the final standings. The pair took one win the Championship races during the season, at the Nurburgring, and looked to have won the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone in May, before the car failed the post race technical checks.
“I am very pleased that I am going to continue in the FIA GT1 World championship with Young Driver AMR team and Aston Martin DB9 car,” said Enge. “I do not know now who will be my team-mate. It is still open who will be second driver. Both the team and I have the same aim for the upcoming season – to finish in the front. However, we had the same aim last year but unfortunately we had some troubles in some races but we all learned from it. The most important is to have consistent results all the time and pick up points everywhere.”
Currently only Enge is confirmed for the Young Driver sponsored squad, but Hexis AMR – their French run Aston Martin stablemates have confirmed a full complement of four drivers.
Clivio Piccione is the only driver to stay with the team for the second season of the series and will share a car with 21-year-old Dutchman Stef Dusseldorp. The move is Dusseldorp's first in GT racing, with his career so far solely in single seaters, most recently in the ATS Cup – the domestic German Formula Three series.
The second car will be shared by Andrea Piccini, who raced six times in the Gt1 World Championship in 2010 for the Phoenix Carpsort Corvette squad, and Christian Hohenadal. The German, as reigning champion in the FIA GT3 European Championship, is one of the best prospects in GT racing and joins the team after winning the title in a Corvette.
He is, however, not an entirely new name to the Hexis squad, having driver for them in the ADAC GT Masters series in 2008, scoring a win and three further podiums with the team.
The French team ended 2010 on a high, scoring a 1-2 in the final GT1 race of the year and finishing second in the teams championship, and with a busy test program scheduled between now and March are intent on improving on that standing.