The Sumo Power GT team is pleased to announce that David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter will join Ricardo Zonta and Enrique Bernoldi for its two-car assault in this year's FIA GT1 World Championship.
Following the recent announcement that Zonta and Bernoldi will drive Nissan GT-R number 20 this season, the selection as to who would drive car number 21 was initially going to be made after a track-test in Qatar. However, due to a series of circumstances beyond the team's control, the test could not go ahead and the decision was therefore confirmed earlier this week.
Brabham, who has been racing sports cars since 1991, brings with him a wealth of experience. His long list of career achievements include an outright win at Le Mans in 2009, preceded by double-GT1 Class victories in 2007 and 2008.
Added to this, he claimed back-to-back ALMS (American Le Mans Series) titles in 2009 and 2010. Brabham joining the team also represents a NISMO (Nissan Motorsports International Co. Ltd.) renaissance, as it was 20 years ago when, driving a Nissan Skyline GT-R, he won the infamous Spa 24-hour endurance event.
Having driven for the team in 2010, Campbell-Walter has a year's experience of the Nissan GT-R behind him. His impressive season included winning round two at Silverstone, the victory seeing him and former team-mate Warren Hughes presented with the coveted Tourist Trophy.
Since it was announced that Zonta and Bernoldi would be joining the team, both have expressed their enthusiasm about driving for Sumo Power GT and how impressed they were with the team's performance in 2010.
Even though the two Brazilians have known each other for a long time and are close friends, this season will see them compete as team-mates for the very first time and therefore, they are eager to see how their new-found partnership will work. Brabham, Zonta and Bernoldi got their first taste of the Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-Rs yesterday (10th March), when they attended a full-team test at Zolder in Belgium.
The cars now make their onward journey to the United Arab Emirates for the first of this season's 10-rounds, which is to be held at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on 26th March.
Team Quotes Ricardo Zonta
"I am very excited by the prospect of racing with a professional team like Sumo Power GT and to be sharing the car with Enrique, as we are very close friends. We have never raced in the same team before, so it will be interesting to see how our partnership works. The new circuits that the championship visits this year will be a challenge, but I like that. It can sometimes make for closer racing, which is always a good thing. I think we have a very promising season ahead of us."
"I am extremely pleased to be joining Sumo Power GT and to drive a Nissan this year. The team looks very motivated. I have known Ricardo since we were kids, so I think we will be able to work together well and I am pleased that the championship is visiting our home track at Curitiba. Although there may not be quite as many cars on the grid this year, there are a lot of professional drivers and I think this will make the championship very competitive. The Sumo Power GT Nissans showed great potential last year and I think that Ricardo and I will have a very good chance of fighting for the title, which of course is our number-one goal."
"When I was at the FIA awards ceremony in December, I saw the GT1 trophy being presented and I thought how cool it would be to win it. Therefore, I was delighted when the opportunity came up to join Sumo Power GT. I'm now really excited to be part of the team and the FIA GT1 World Championship. The series has all the right ingredients and I like the format of the races. A reflection of its credibility is the number of top-level drivers that are taking part, which means there's a lot out there that could win the title - and of course, that includes the drivers in the two Nissan teams."
"I am absolutely delighted to be back with Sumo Power GT for a second season. I'm looking forward to using my experience from last year and hope this will help get us off to a flying start. Obviously, this time I'm sharing the car with a new team-mate, which will be different. I've raced against David in the past and I know he is an extremely competitive driver, so I'm pleased that he'll be on my side now!"
Andy Barnes (Team Principal)"
Since starting Sumo Power in 2002, the one passion I have above all else is to see our cars out there competing - and winning! That's why I'm delighted to be heading-up the Sumo Power GT team this season. We intend to build on everything the team achieved last year and, with our great line-up of drivers, we're aiming for nothing less than the title. Bring it on!"
Hiroke Furuse (Team Manager)
"I played a supporting role in the management of the Sumo Power GT team in 2010, so I am pleased to move in to a front-line position for 2011. Unlike this time last year, when the team was brand new, we have the invaluable experience of a season behind us, so this time we are in a position to hit the ground running, right from the first round."