Ricardo Zonta to race Team Brazil BMW in FIA GT Series
|By Gary Watkins||Friday, March 22nd 2013, 17:02 GMT|
Former grand prix driver Ricardo Zonta will lead the BMW Team Brazil squad's assault on the new FIA GT Series.
Zonta, who won the 1998 FIA GT Championship with Mercedes before graduating to Formula 1 with BAR, will be paired in one of the team's entries with sometime A1GP driver Sergio Jimenez.
Five-time Brazilian Stock Car champion Caca Bueno will drive the second BMW Z4 GT3 with another ex-A1GP driver and current Stock Car racer in Allam Khodair.
Team boss Antonio Hermann, whose outfit formerly raced in the Brazilian GT Championship, said: "We all know that Ricardo is quick, but he is also a true team player. Ricardo and Sergio are the same size and will complement each other well.
"All my drivers are coming to the FIA GT Series to try to do well. It will be our first year outside of Brazil, but our aim is to win races and to try to win the championship.
Zonta, who will also race for his own team in Stock Cars and the Marcas touring car series in Brazil this year, said: "I'm looking forward to coming back to Europe and everything is looking positive.
"Antonio's team is one of the best in Brazil and I am hoping we can quickly get up to speed on the European circuits."
Bueno, 37, will be undertaking his first full programme of racing outside of South America. His only previous race in Europe came with Chevrolet at the Brands Hatch World Touring Car Championship round in 2010.
BMW Team Brazil is linking up with the SUNRED squad for its FIA GT assault. The Brazilian team will base its Z4s at SUNRED's Barcelona workshops and will bolster its own crew with staff from the Spanish team.
Publication of the full entry for the FIA GT Series, which succeeds the FIA GT1 World Championship, is expected on Friday night.
The series kicks off at Nogaro on March 31/April 1.
Zonta in FIA GT by the numbers
28 - number of starts, across the FIA GT Championship and the FIA GT1 World Championship
3 - number of manufacturers for which he has so far raced: Mercedes, Lamborghini and Nissan
8 - race victories, including five from 10 starts in 1998
5 - pole positions, including four in a row in 1998