GT Open ready to storm Valencia

• 37 cars confirmed for the year’s second round• Eight new cars and Alex Caffi join the series• Ferrari and Porsche to battle again in GTA• Lamborghini, Corvette and Aston Martin favorite in GTS

The International GT Open heads to the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in Cheste near Valencia for the second and third rounds of the 2008 season with a 37 car-strong grid. The main continental showcase for GT2 and GT3 racing is ready to offer fans an exciting show in Spain, alongside the WTCC, the International Formula Master and the SEAT León Eurocup. The official entry list for the Valencia GT Open was issued today, with the changes already anticipated last Thursday.

Eight new cars will join the championship with respect to the season-opener in Vallelunga, thus proving that the season is now starting “for good”. Reigning champion team Autorlando Sport is adding a third Porsche (a 996 RSR) to its two 997; this car will be driven by Maurizio Fratti and GT stalwart Alex Caffi, who will be the third former F.1 driver in the grid, alongside Montermini and Pérez-Sala. Mosler is back thanks to the Motor Competición unit that races regularly in the Spanish GT Championship with Villalba-Gutiérrez. So is, in the GTA class, the Ferrari F430 of Mayola-Carol. Other changes in GTA include a third car from GPC Corse, with one of the Italian squad’s F430 now driven by GT experts Gabrio and Giacomo Rosa, who are father and son.

In the GTS category, the spectacular Marcos Mantis is back, the Anglo-Dutch team of Cor Euser bringing two cars for Euser-De Castro and Van Putten-Van Zuylen. Also back is French team Ruffier Racing, with a Dodge Viper Coupé (Lafargue-Baudoin) and a Lamborghini Gallardo (Maillet-Porta). Finally, Italy’s Seven-Eleven enters a Maserati Coupé for Manuzzi-Cavallari.

On the sporting side, the fight between Ferraris and Porsches will probably be at the highest level, with the German cars expected to be more at ease in the Spanish track. “We have tested a lot and progressed, so you can expect us to be more competitive”, stated recently reigning champion and Porsche official driver Richard Lietz. The Prancing Horse, from its side, will deploy a number of cars aspiring to victory: Montermini-Maceratesi (Scuderia Playteam SaraFree) head the overall standings, just 4 points ahead of Advanced Engineering’s young pair composed of Bonetti-Pasini, but F430s from other teams, such as EdilCris, Trottet Racing, RSV and GPC cannot be ruled out. And the Spanish-built SunRed SR21 may be much more than an outsider in their home ground.

In GTS, the battle is more open than ever, with the Aston Martin from Villois Racing (with Calella joining Wiser in this occasion) leading the standings but victories so far having been clinched by the Racing Box Lamborghini of Ceccato-Visconti and the Twentytwo Corvette of Pellizzato-Cioci.

All is therefore set for exciting races on Saturday (at 17:05) and on Sunday (at 10:40) that GT lovers throughout Europe will be able to follow through the Eurosport network and other selected TV stations.

VALENCIA TIMETABLE

Friday 16 May 200810:00-11:00 Free Practice 115:45-16:45 Free Practice 2

Saturday 17 May 200809:10-09:25 Qualifying 1 (GTS)09:25-09:30 Qualifying 1 (GTS + GTA)09:30-09:45 Qualifying 1 (GTA)13:20-13:35 Qualifying 2 (GTS)13:35-13:40 Qualifying 2 (GTS + GTA)13:40-13:55 Qualifying 2 (GTA)17:05 Pro-Am Race (Max 60’)

Sunday 18 May 200808:30-08:45 Warm-up10:40-11:25 GT Open Race ( Max 45’)