Fanatec GT2 European Series returns to Monza for first time since inaugural series event
Mercedes-AMG GT2 set for racing debut with Fanatec by HRT
Influx of new teams and drivers prepare for first outing of the season
Champions return to defend titles
Season three of the Fanatec GT2 European Series is ready to go green for round one at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy this weekend, 21-23 April, with a host of new teams, cars and drivers ready to battle for the 2023 titles.
Returning to the Temple of Speed for the first time since the inaugural series outing in April 2021, the first GT2 grid of 2023 shows a complete shake-up of driver line-ups, not to mention four new teams and the latest world-class brand joining the field.
The eagerly awaited Mercedes-AMG GT2 is set to make its racing debut in Italy. Joining the likes of Audi, KTM, Lamborghini and Porsche, the season starts with five brands represented and at least two more set to join as the season rolls on.
The first in a six round double-header calendar which takes in Europe’s premier ‘sunshine circuits', the series kicks off 2023 in style supporting the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season opener.
2022 champions go head-to-head
Last year’s Pro-Am title fight couldn’t have been closer and 2023 looks set for an equally intense battle, with three series champions plus a throng of new pro drivers that between them boast titles and race wins covering the very top of GT competition, in its ranks.
2022 champions PK Carsport are back with Stienes Longin to defend the title in the #1 Audi, this time teamed with Peter Guelinckx, class runner up in 2021. Longin’s 2022 teammate and co-champion, Nicolas Saelens however will go head-to-head with his former team.
Joining True Racing by Reiter Engineering, Saelens forms what could be a formidable partnership with his arch rival from last season, Stefan Rosina in the #15 KTM X-BOW. Adding to True Racing’s title charge, Hubert Trunkenpolz moves into the category following two strong seasons in the Am class, teamed with Reinhard Kofler in the #17 KTM.
Another returning champion, Henry Hassid claimed the Am crown in dominant fashion with seven class wins last term. The Frenchman now has his sights set on a second title in the #67 LP Racing Audi, while taking the step up to Pro-Am with good friend Anthony Beltoise.
Hassid and Beltoise are one third of a trio of LP Racing Audis fighting for the Pro-Am title. Michael Doppelmayr returns for a second year with new teammate Pierre Kaffer in the #18, while SRO Founder and CEO Stéphane Ratel partners Mattia di Giusto in the #88 for the first time.
Four manufacturers to fight for Am crown
The Am class alone will host four world-class brands on the grid at Monza, including the newest model to the field – the Mercedes-AMG GT2 – which makes its historic debut this weekend. With the 2022 champion moving out of the category, not to mention four new teams joining the class, the Am title is wide open for the taking.
Third in the standings last year, Leonardo Gorini has to be a hot favourite in the #911 Ebimotors Porsche. First, he’ll have to fend off stiff competition from the team’s #5 sister Porsche of Aurelijus Rusteika – an outright race winner and four-time Pro-Am podium finisher - and series newcomer Mantas Janavicius.
Leading True Racing by Reiter Engineering’s Am charge will be Klaus Angerhofer, who this year partners Sehdi Sarmini in the #16 KTM. With both drivers claiming podium honours with different teammates last term, this will be another pairing to watch closely.
There’s plenty of newcomers to add to the mix too - not least the #44 Fanatec by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT2 driven by Thomas Jackermaier and Jens Liebhauser - all making their series debut in Italy.
From one giant team of GT racing to the next, Iron Lynx also joins the grid for the first time with the #8 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo, shared by father and son duo Donovan and Luciano Privitelio.
Jan Krabec will also be looking for a strong start to his inaugural GT2 season with new team, RTR Projects in the #89 KTM. Further new entry announcements are still expected ahead of the first round this weekend.
The Iron Cup contenders
In addition to the usual class silverware on offer, a new accolade is up for grabs this season in The Iron Cup, to be awarded to the highest placed pairing with a combined age of 100 years and over in both categories.
Those eligible for the trophy at Monza include Doppelmayr / Kaffer in the #18 LP Racing Audi, Jackermaier / Liebhauser in the #44 Fanatec by HRT Mercedes-AMG, and Hassid / Beltoise in the #67 LP Racing Audi.
The 2023 Fanatec GT2 European Series gets underway at Monza this weekend, 21-23 April. with two hours of free practice at 09.40 and 12.40 on Friday, ahead of qualifying at 15.30. The first 50-minute race of the year is scheduled for 12.35 on Saturday, followed by race two on Sunday at 10.35 (all times CEST). Watch both races live via GT World on YouTube.