Italian fans to enjoy the excitement of both top level GT and single seater racing
Italian motorsport fans will have the chance to enjoy a very special racing event on 3/4 October when the legendary Autodromo Nazionale in Monza, near Milan, hosts the first ever International GT Open and Superleague Formula joint weekend. The event will bring together the excitement of both GT and single-seater racing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Despite both being relatively young, the series have been hailed as two of the most interesting developments in their respective categories throughout world motorsport in recent years.
The International GT Open, launched in 2006 by GT Sport Organización, has grown steadily to become one of the most exciting platforms for GT2 and GT3 pro-am racing. The series format is built around a race of 70 minutes on Saturday and one of 50 minutes on Sunday, with Monza being the sixth round in an eight-event calendar. All the most prestigious GT marques, such as Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Corvette, Dodge, Sun-Red, etc are represented in the International GT Open, alongside some of the top teams and drivers from around the GT world.
After the French round in Magny-Cours last week-end, the battle for the title in the 2009 International GT Open looks as close as ever, with a traditional Porsche-Ferrari duel at the top. Currently, Italys Gianluca Roda and Porsches Austrian works driver Richard Lietz lead the points table (146) with their Autorlando Porsche 997 RSR ahead of the Trottet Ferrari F430 of Swiss aces Marcel Fässler and Joël Camathias by only two points (144), while Philipp Peter and Michal Broniszewski are dominating the GTS category with their Kessel Ferrari F430 GT3.
Launched in 2008, Superleague Formula has taken shape by merging two of the worlds most popular sports. As a truly unique spectacle in motor racing, the series combines the passion of football with the dazzling emotions of motor sport, resulting in a top-notch competition among highly-powerful V12-engined cars, delivering more than 750 horsepower and adorned with the colors of their respective football club. Over the last two years, the series has been supported by the most renowned names in soccer with the of likes AC Milan, Liverpool FC, Olympique Lyonnais, AS Roma, Atlético Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Corinthians and Olympiacos all joining the grid.
AC Milan and AS Roma will be lining-up at Monza for the most anticipated event of their 2009 seasons, with the chance to shine on home soil providing extra-motivation to perform for local driver and reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano. Its Liverpools Adrian Valles however who comes into the fifth round eager to defend his comfortable championship lead with only four races remaining in 2009.
The Reds have notched up 282 points so far, leading fellow English club Tottenham Hotspur by 58 points with Swiss squad FC Basel a further one back. AC Milan (212 points) meanwhile will be hoping to trim the gap to the top three in Italy, before heading for the season finale at Jarama in Spain this November. Not to be discounted will be Sevillas Sebastien Bourdais who won on debut in Portugal last weekend while fellow ex-F1 driver Antonio Pizzonia continues to search for his first victory, despite having scored three pole positions, at the wheel of Corinthians. The Superleague Formula weekend format features two points scoring races of 40minutes + 1 lap each. The six top-scoring drivers then progress through to the Super Final, where 100,000 in prize money awaits the winner of the five lap shootout.
The Monza program also includes the Euro F3 Open, one of the most competitive Formula 3 championships in Europe, which has most recently provided a spring-board for the likes of Toro Rosso F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari, F2 championship leader Andy Soucek and Superleague Formulas Nelson Panciatici. The intense racing program is completed by the Campionato Italiano Prototipi, the Formula Academy EuroSeries, the F.Azzurra and the 45th Trofeo Cadetti F.Junior Monza.
Fans unable to attend will not miss out though with all the races to be broadcast live in Italy by Nuvolari. International GT Open also benefits from live coverage in Spain (Canal+) and Portugal (Sport TV), as well as from delayed coverage throughout Europe thanks to Eurosport and Motors TV. Eurosport 2 meanwhile will carry Superleague Formula Race 1 and Super Final coverage in the UK.
Jesús Pareja, organizer of the International GT Open, said, We are delighted to provide Italian fans with such a rich and exciting racing weekend which will be marked as the first joint effort between ourselves and Superleague Formula, which could lead to further cooperation in the future.
Alex Andreu, Superleague Formula CEO and President, said, Its great to be linking up with the International GT Open at Monza. The mix of junior motorsport, GT racing and high-powered single seaters means theres something for everyone. Motorsport can be expensive to come along and watch so its great to have put together such a high-profile bill that the fans can enjoy.