Already at round five the FIA GT1 World Championship will reach the UK this weekend, christening the new pit and paddock complex at Silverstone.
While an important round of the championship itself, the Silverstone weekend has a prestige all of its own as the GT1 field races for the RAC Tourist Trophy. It took a pair of post race rulings to crown the winners of the Trophy in 2010 and Sumo Power – the winning team – and both of the winning drivers are due to race in the two one-hour races this weekend.
Jamie Campbell–Walter has been part of the regular team, paired with sportscar star David Brabham in the no.21 car. JCW's 2010 teammate Warren Hughes is also on the provisional entry list, filling the void left by Ricardo Zonta in the no.20 entry alongside Enrique Bernoldi.
The Sumo Power team and their sister squad JR Motorsports are the only British based teams in the championship, and though their four Nissan GT-R have some of the best drivers in the series, their season to date has been troubled.
JR Motorsports' all-German team of Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr scored the brand's only win so far this year in round three in Portugal.
“Of course to win the Tourist Trophy would be very special, but I don’t think we need any more motivation than we already have,” says JR Motorsport man Peter Dumbreck. “We need to push very hard in every race and score as many points as possible, because it’s a long year with the title of “World Champion” at the end of it for the best performing team and drivers.”
Heading the championship points after four rounds are the Hexis AMR team of Christian Hohenadel and Andrea Piccini, who moved ahead of early pace setters Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng with a win in the most recent round at the Sachsenring.
The Lamborghini Murcielago has been, perhaps, the best car so far this year, but technical problems have blighted Winkelhock and Basseng's All–Inkl.com teammates Nicky Pastorelli and Dominik Schwager, who after qualifying well for the opening two races had their weekend's ruined by crashes at the first corner in the Qualifying Race of both weekends.
“We're looking forward to Silverstone,” Pastorelli said, “because in theory it should suit our car a little bit better than the Sachsenring. I hope we can do well there – after all the bad luck we have had, we were very happy to get the result in Germany. We really have to catch up a little bit if we are to get a good position in the championship, so I hope our form can continue at Silverstone.”
Third in points at the Young Driver AMR pair, Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke. The team – and Turner in particular – will want to avenge the events of the Tourist Trophy weekend one year ago. Turner, then paired with Tomas Enge, was hit with several penalties over the course of the 2010 event, losing them an almost certain in the Qualifying Race, before their Championship Race win was taken from them by scrutineers after the race, and after the duo had lifted the Tourist Trophy.
Timetrial Qualifying takes place at 11:30am on Saturday with the Qualifying Race following at 4:15pm. The Championship Race – the main event of the weekend – is at 2:45pm on Sunday.