Thomas Erdos and Shaun Balfe will be racing together under the Balfe Motorsport banner this season contesting the International GT Open with a 2013 specification Ferrari 458 GT3.
“In a way, it is like ‘coming home’ to me,” said a delighted Erdos at the recent Autosport show. “I took my first major British title with David Balfe, now Team Principal at Balfe Motorsport, when we won the British Formula Renault Championship in 1990. It was our first year together, and I’m just thrilled to be working with David again for the 2013 season.”
Back in the early Nineties the team was known as Fortec Motorsport, and went on to become one of the leading competitors in F.Renault before moving up to Formula 3. “I have many fond memories of our title-winning season,” admits Erdos, who dominated the year with four wins and a total of nine podiums. “Eventually, in 1995, David sold the team to Richard Dutton, who has carried on flying the Fortec banner to this day.”
“I am really looking forward to working with Tommy again,” commented Shaun “The philosophy that helped us to victory in 1990 is still very much part of the DNA at Balfe Motorsport, as we demonstrated when Tommy and I last raced a Mosler together in 2003, and Tommy set class pole for the Spa 1000 Kms. Our main focus will no doubt be directed towards outright performance, but we shall keep a very close eye on the level of preparation needed for endurance racing in today’s highly competitive environment.”
The team will concentrate its efforts on the International GT Open Championship. “I attended one of their rounds last year at the Hungaroring, as a TV commentator,” explains Erdos, who has Hungarian ancestry. “I was really impressed with the high level of racing, with so many top teams and drivers taking part, and the standard really is superb!”
After taking the British GT title in 2002 with a Saleen S7R, Thomas Erdos moved into prototypes, claiming two class wins at Le Mans in 2005 and 2006. He also took the Le Mans Series title twice (2007 & 2010) and was runner-up twice (2005 & 2006). Meanwhile, Shaun Balfe competed in British GT, taking 7 wins in 2003 and claiming second in the championship after the team’s Mosler - having lead the series all year - was knocked out in the final round. Balfe went on to secure the Spanish GT Championship in 2004, and was an outright winner of the Silverstone 24 Hours before moving into GT1 with a Saleen.
Most recently he has been a works driver for Radical. Both drivers are eagerly anticipating their GT come-backs in a Ferrari.
“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a brand new 458 GT3,” grins an ebullient Erdos. “What a gorgeous car. And, of course, it will be red!” Despite seventeen years in GT and sportscar racing, he has never raced a Ferrari. “Come to think of it, I’ve only ever driven one once, last year at Silverstone, in a track day, so this really will be a very special experience for me. Shaun has proved himself to be a very fast driver, in all types of cars, so I am really looking forward to sharing the Balfe Motorsport 458 with him.”
The first round of the 2013 International GT Open takes place at the Paul Ricard circuit on 28th April.