British GT podium finisher Abbie Eaton will step up to her biggest challenge yet as she joins Spirit Of Race for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup opener at Monza.
In an all-AM entry with Davide Rizzo and Alex Demirdjian in a Ferrari 488 GT3, Eaton will be competing against 53 other GT3 machines on the Italian circuit, in what is one of the biggest grids for SRO’s long-distance GT series.
The Yorkshire racer won’t be without experience of Italian GT machinery though, as she finished second in the Pro/AM class in British GT last year in a Maserati she shared with Marcus Hoggarth.
She said: “It’s going to be a steep learning curve but I’m excited to get stuck in and am confident we can get a decent result. It’s a well needed break after struggling to find budget to do anything this year so I’m hoping that some good results will put me on the GT3 radar. At the moment it’s only for the first round but, if we get a solid result, who knows: we might be back!
“I really enjoyed myself at the test but there wasn’t much time to get to grips with the car so I knew I had to get stuck in as soon as possible. The main thing I had to get my head around was the braking pressure I needed to apply to get the car stopped. It was really impressive just how stable the car was thanks to all the extra downforce in comparison to a GT4 car, too.”
Eaton, who was a race winner in GT Cup and took the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup title in dominant fashion in 2014, will be fulfilling a long-held dream when she gets behind the wheel of the AF Corse engineered machine.
“I’ve always wanted to race a Ferrari and especially the 488 GT3 as it’s such a formidable car. Plus it was my first time driving at Monza, which has such a fantastic atmosphere that’s similar to Spa-Francorchamps – it really is a special place,” Eaton said. “A massive thank you needs to go to Alex, Spirit of Race and Piers Masarati for the brilliant opportunity.”
The first race of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza gets underway on Saturday 22 April with The Checkered Flag providing coverage of all the action.