ROWE RACING celebrates three premieres at the GT World Challenge season opener in Imola
St. Ingbert, July 21, 2020 – A new series name, a new track and two new drivers: For ROWE RACING, the start of the GT World Challenge season next Sunday (July 26) offers three premieres. In the first race of the former Blancpain GT Series under its new name, the team from St. Ingbert will start for the first time at the legendary Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari in Imola. Here, German Porsche factory driver Dirk Werner will share the #99 ROWE RACING Porsche 911 GT3 R for the first time in a race with Porsche Young Professional Julien Andlauer from France and Porsche specialist Klaus Bachler from Austria.
Former DTM driver Dirk Werner, Julien Andlauer and Klaus Bachler will contest all races of the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup for ROWE RACING. After the delayed start to the season at Imola caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes further rounds at the Nürburgring (September 6) and at Le Castellet in France (November 15) as well as the season highlight, the 24 Hours of Spa, which has been postponed to October 24/25 and where the entry of a second car is still planned. The newly assembled driver trio had already completed test drives with the #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Nürburgring GP circuit at the end of May and at Spa at the beginning of June.
The Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari is a mountainous track in northern Italy that was once built by Enzo Ferrari as a “little Nürburgring”. Imola has hosted Formula 1 27 times, with the exception of 1980 always as the San Marino Grand Prix, won seven times by Formula 1 record world champion Michael Schumacher alone. The most famous passage of the 4.909-kilometer circuit, which is driven counterclockwise, is the Tamburello curve, once an ultra-fast left-hand bend that was defused with a chicane after Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident in 1994.
As already known from other racing series, the start of the GT World Challenge season will also take place under special conditions. Series operator SRO Motorsports Group has drawn up a comprehensive safety and hygiene concept. The teams will compete with a slightly reduced number of personnel, with a maximum of 15 people per vehicle including the driver. The teams seal themselves off from each other in their own cells, there are fixed time slots for arriving and leaving the track as well as entry checks with temperature measurements.
A total of 46 vehicles are entered for the opening round of the GT World Challenge. The Porsche 911 GT3 R with the #99 will take to the track for the first time on Friday (July 24) at 10.00 a.m. in the first of two additional test sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. The second starts in the afternoon at 2.50 pm. On Saturday (July 25), the first session will be free practice from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.. After Pre Qualifying, also lasting 90 minutes, at 1.10 p.m., the starting grid will be determined from 5.30 p.m. in the usual three-part qualifying with 15 minutes of track time each. The three-hour race starts at 1.30 p.m. on Sunday.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “It’s nice and important for our team that, after the national races, the European racing season is now starting and life is coming back into the scene. Imola is a race track with a great, but also tragic past. However, the fatal accidents of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at the 1994 Formula 1 weekend triggered many changes in the field of car and track safety. As a result, Imola has had a major impact on motorsport over the last 25 years. Since most of the teams in the GT World Challenge have not yet raced on this track, everyone will have to get used to the conditions, which is what the two additional test sessions on Friday will provide an opportunity for. A few Italian teams might have a bit of a home advantage, but overall it’s sure to be a very interesting weekend. We’ve tried to prepare well and are convinced that our reliable Porsche 911 GT3 R will be a good car in Imola. We’re absolutely satisfied with our new drivers, they made a very good impression during the tests and fit perfectly into the team’s atmosphere. Klaus Bachler already won his first Endurance race last season. He can happily repeat that with us this year.”
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