EVENT – FIA GT3 ZANDVOORT, FREE PRACTICE
Last weekend the Zandvoort racetrack in the Netherlands hosted the final two rounds of the FIA GT3 Championship. With 20 drivers and 7 teams still in the chase of becoming the 2011 champions, it turned out to be the closest title race to date!
As Zandvoort was a new track on the GT3 calendar the teams were out in full force to get to know the track as soon as the green flag dropped. Here you see the cars of the Belgium Audi Club and the Gallardo LP600 of team Cine Cascade rounding the Hughenholtz corner.
With 8 different car makes present, the GT3 field offers plenty of eye candy for the public. These exclusive cars are even more menacing in race trim then that they already are in there normal street specs. The Aston Martin fans however had to wait until Saturdays qualifying to see their favorites run. The LMP Team kept there cars in the paddock during the free practice.
Here is another crowd favorite making it’s way around the track. The Fischer Ford GT is passing the marbles which lay next to the ideal line. No wonder cars sometimes spin out if they hit al the excess rubber left in previous laps.
This BMW Z4 from team Faster Racing finished the first free practice session in a 1:44.063. They really had to step up their game to get to the front of the field in the next sessions. The fastest time of the session was set by the Reiter Engineering team in their Gallardo with a 1:39.915.
The teams participating in the championship enter two cars with two drivers each. While the #24 Reitec engineering car was quickest of the session, it’s #25 sister car ended on the 23rd spot.
The storming roar of the SLS AMG’s only got disrupted by the scraping sound of the front splitter when cutting the curbs. Why use the racetrack if you have curbstones!!!
Another car which is well represented in all the modern endurance races. The Ferrari 458. This car of MTech Motorsports is getting chased down by the Ford GT of Fischer Racing.
The track is situated in the dunes next to the beach of Zandvoort. Due to it’s location the track has a lot of variety in height and banked corners. On it’s way down one of the dunes the Charouz SLS picks up plenty of speed before reaching the No Guts No Glory Corner called Scheivlak.
As soon as the free practice sessions ended the GT3′s Friday the cars were getting prepped in the paddock for Saturdays qualifyers. The Ferrari 458 of the AF Corse team is waiting patient to be serviced. This car is a serious championship contender and ended 2nd in the 2nd free practice run.
While some cars were already stationed at their pits some others were still being pushed back to the paddock. While pushing it’s a good thing to check the other teams and point out the competition.
Besides Sony there is also another team which invented a discman. This is the first time I spotted one and with the weight of these discs it’s no wonder they use a cart.
Stay tuned for more action from the GT3 qualifiers and races in the next few days!
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Words & Photo’s – Mathieu Van Den Oever