After the recent announcement that all four of its drivers are confirmed for 2011, the Sumo Power GT team has arrived in Abu Dhabi and is preparing for the first round of this year’s FIA GT1 World Championship, which takes place at the impressive Yas Marina Circuit this Saturday, 26th March.
All four drivers: Ricardo Zonta, Enrique Bernoldi, David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter had an opportunity to drive the team’s pair of Nissan GT-Rs at Zolder in Belgium two weeks ago. Although track-time was limited, each reported they felt comfortable in the cars and are eager for more seat-time to get properly dialled-in.
The team was also pleased that, although having undergone a complete rebuild, both cars performed well - even on base-settings. The next time the two Sumo Power GT Nissans will see the track will be on Wednesday (tomorrow), when the championship’s first official test is held at the Abu Dhabi circuit.
When the team arrived at the Yas Marina track last year, the whole operation had only been in existence a few weeks. Now, with a season of competition in the FIA GT1 World Championship behind it and with an impressive line-up of drivers, hopes in the Sumo Power GT camp are high that it will get its 2011 campaign off to a flying start on Saturday.
Qualifying for the opening round of this high-profile global sports car series takes place on Friday afternoon at 19.45 UAE time (15.45 GMT), with the first of the weekend’s two, one-hour races, taking place at 13.15 (09.15 GMT) on Saturday. The second – the main Championship race – gets the green light later the same day at 19.45 (15.45 GMT).
Both races will be televised live and can be watched from the team’s website: www.sumopowergt.com
David Brabham (Car 20)
“I really liked the Nissan when I drove it at the test. I had a smile on my face after the first lap. Although I’ve never driven the Yas Marina track before, from what I have seen on TV it looks like an amazing place and my goal will be - as always - to win.”
Jamie Campbell-Walter (Car 20)
“As I’m the official Yas Marina two-seat F1 car driver I spend a lot of time at the circuit. It’s like a second home for me. Although my deal with the Sumo Power GT team was only announced a couple of weeks ago, I have been training for the London Marathon which keeps you mentally and physically prepared for anything, so I can’t wait to get back into the Nissan to start my second season with the team.”
Ricardo Zonta (Car 21)
“As I have said before, I am very excited by the prospect of racing with Sumo Power GT and to be sharing the car with Enrique, as we have never raced in the same team before. As we are close friends I think the partnership will work well and I am sure we have a very promising season ahead of us.”
Enrique Bernoldi (Car 21)
“I think Yas Marina is an excellent track with great facilities and I really enjoy competing there. It has a lot of overtaking places, which makes for a good race. My objective for this first event will be to work well with the team and, having driven the Nissan GT-R in the test, I can’t wait to see how it goes in the race.”
Hiroki Furuse (Team Manager)
“The cars have been fully rebuilt since last season. The whole team has put in a lot of effort, so a good result this weekend would be an excellent reward for their work. It is always difficult to tell how competitive your cars will be until the first round. I therefore hope that our experience in 2010 will give us an edge.”
Andy Barnes (Team Principal)
“This is it then! The start of a new season and I can’t wait. Our driver line-up is probably the best there is on the grid, so I’m really optimistic about our chances. However, it’s going to be critical that we get the drivers and cars dialled-in during the official test and practice before the races – and if we do – look out!”