make historic FIA GT debut
Scuderia AC Argentina made an historic FIA GT Championship debut at Silverstone at the weekend, with drivers Gaston Mazzacane and Esteban Tuero finishing a respectable 13th in class on their series debut.
The Argentine team have joined the series to celebrate the championship’s first ever visit to their homeland later in the season when the spectacular San Luis circuit will host the final round of the 2008 season on 23 November. The track, built around a volcanic lake, actually goes inside the dead volcano and boasts a stunning backdrop which is set to provide a fitting finale for the prestigious FIA GT championship
Multiple GT champions Larbre Competition have been given the honour of running the team this year, with Frederic Dor and Care Racing supplying the car; a GT1 Ferrari 550 Maranello with which Larbre won the title in 2005 with Pedro Lamy and Gabriele Gardel.
The driver line up pairs ex-Formula One drivers Esteban Tuero and Gaston Mazzacane together while former World Series by Renault champion Jose Maria Lopez and Argentine Touring Car star Martin Basso form a second partnership which will share the races equally. All four are due to contest the season finale where the team will run a second car.
The team enjoyed the steep learning curve at Silverstone as the FIA GT championship field fought for the famous RAC Tourist’s Trophy on Sunday and Larbre Competition team principal Jack Leconte was satisfied with the display. “The programme took a lot of organising and all the logistics were put in place very late. We didn’t have time for any testing and the wet, cold and foggy conditions at Silverstone made it very difficult for the drivers to learn the car.
“However, Gaston and Esteban didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, adapted to the car very professionally and improved their lap times significantly throughout the three days. Overall it was a very encouraging start to the season.”
Mazzacane, who raced in Formula One with Minardi and Prost in 2000 and 2001, enjoyed his GT-debut having raced in Touring Cars for the past few seasons: “Despite our lack of testing, everything went quite well. It wasn’t easy in the wet, but we used the race to get some mileage under our belts. I’m very happy to be racing in co-operation Larbre Competition in the FIA GT Championship. This series is very professional and demanding and to be with a team as experienced and successful as Larbre is fantastic. I spent many happy years racing in Europe and I’m delighted to be back.”
The next round of the season comes at the high-speed Monza on 18 May with Mazzacane and Tuero, who have experience of the circuit from their F1 days, sharing the driving duties.