GP Masters set for Barcelona boost

Masters Historic Racing is set to welcome a bunch of new competitors and new cars to GP Masters this year as the category takes another step forward in entry levels.The series, for Cosworth DFV-engined Formula 1 cars, kicks off its season at the Catalan Classic Festival on April 20-22 and has already attracted an entry in the high teens. Joining the grid will be newcomer Simon Fish in his newly-acquired Ensign N180, the Unipart-liveried car raced in period by Jan Lammers and Clay Regazzoni. Simon raced a Surtees TS16 on occasions last year but has now taken the plunge and bought his own car for a full season.Hugues Tattinger, of the famous Champagne family, will also join the GP Masters grid after a season in the SPEED Euroseries in 2011. Tattinger will race a Surtees TS16, an unloved chassis that struggled through 1974 and ran in a handful of non-championship races in 1975, driven by John Watson.In a battle of the drinks brands, Manfredo Rossi di Montelera (of the Martini & Rossi family) will switch from his Brabham BT42 to another Martini-liveried car, the Lotus 80 from 1979. The car, recently acquired from Sid Hoole, was driven in period by Mario Andretti but was not the success designer Colin Chapman had anticipated and the car was parked in favour of a modified Lotus 79 from the previous season. Rossi, however, will be eager to rewrite history and take the car to success.American racer Robert Blain will also be on the GP Masters grid as he has bought a March 741, as raced in period by Howden Ganley, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Vittorio Brambilla. Blain is new to GP Masters but will be one two watch as he becomes familiar with his new mount.GP Masters begins at Barcelona on April 20-22 before moving to the UK and its annual visit to Brands Hatch on May 26/27.