FIA GT1 World Championship - Round Eight Preview Ordos, China 3rd & 4th September 2011
After scoring an impressive double-victory in round seven of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Paul Ricard six weeks ago, JRM Racing now faces a new challenge as the team heads to China for rounds eight and nine of the global sportscar series. The first of the two races takes place this weekend at Ordos in Inner Mongolia, where as the second will be held at the recently updated Goldenport circuit in Beijing a week later.
Both circuits are new to the team and its four drivers, although the same scenario also applies to many of the other competitors in the championship. However, with JRM Racing's Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr - who pilot the team's Nissan GT-R no. 23 - currently leading Drivers' points table with three rounds still to go, after winning both the Qualifying and Championship Races in the south of France, there is a lot at stake for the team over the coming fortnight.
The double victory for the German pairing last time out means that their car will carry a hefty 60 kilos of success ballast in Ordos, which is will make their task even harder around the intricate Mongolian circuit. In contrast, due to their run of bad luck this season, Peter Dumbreck and Richard Westbrook in Nissan GT-R no. 22 carry no result-related weight penalty at all and therefore may well have the edge over their team-mates this weekend.
The Brits have already shown that pace is not an issue, but having experienced a spell of undeserved misfortune recently, they will be looking to make the most of the level playing field which is provided by competing on a relatively unknown track. The unfamiliarity of the circuit also means that technical data in respect of car set-up will also present a challenge to the team's engineers.
The Ordos circuit is situated in Inner Mongolia on the outskirts of Ordos city and stands 50km from the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan. From the air, the shape of the 3.751km (2.331 miles) track resembles a horse, a reflection of the animal's historic importance in the country's way of life. Mongolian symbolism can also be seen in the shape of the circuit's main grandstand, with its roof designed to resemble a flying eagle.
Following the Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions on Friday, competition starts with Qualifying on Saturday at 09.45, followed by the first of the weekend's two one-hour races at 15.15. There's then a short warm-up session at 09.30 on Sunday morning, before the main Championship Race, which also takes place at 15.45.
Michael Krumm (Car 23)"The circuits we are visiting in China are very tight and that poses a big challenge for us, as they will probably not fit the GT-R too well. Added to this, we will be carrying 60kg of success ballast. It's good to have two races back-to-back though, as this keeps us in a good rhythm, although it will be tough for our mechanics. So our target in China must be to try to stop the championship from being decided before the last race in Argentina."
Lucas Luhr (Car 23)"It is going to be tough for everyone in China and it will be extra tough for Michael and I as we have 60kgs of success ballast to carry. Both the circuits we re visiting are new to us and new to the team and I don't think either of the tracks will be ideal for the GT-R. We need to stay in the championship hunt in these two races so we can continue to fight for the title in the final round."
Richard Westbrook (Car 22)During the break I did the Spa 24-hours, which was a great event. Oh yes, I got married too! I must admit that I can't wait to get back into the GT-R and it would be great to have a change of luck and unlock a good result this time round. It's difficult to say what the Ordos and Beijing circuits are going to be like, but we know that when everything is right we can challenge for a win. Out of the two, I think that its more likely to be Ordos."
Peter Dumbreck (Car 22)"I've done a couple of races during the break and this has helped me stay sharp in between the GT1 rounds. I have also had time to have a holiday so now I'm now raring to get back in the car. I think we will have to work hard preparing the GT-R for the tight twisty nature of the Chinese tracks, but it's important that we do our best to score points and help JRM Racing to win the Teams' Championship."
Nigel Stepney (Team Manager and Chief Engineer) "We have done as much research as we can on the two circuits in China and, while Ordos might be OK for us, it doesn't look like Beijing will be. Either way, we face another challenge, especially with car 23 carrying its success ballast. Even if we don't have the outright pace on the track, then I believe we can still score a good result with fast pit-stops, reliability and no mistakes."
James Rumsey (Team Principal)"We go to China leading the Drivers' Championship and lying second in the Teams' standings. Therefore, we need to stay in contention during these two races and come away from the events with as many points as possible. So far the season has gone well for car 23 and not so well for car 22, so our aim is to get both of them to finish strongly in both Ordos and Beijing."