FIA GT figures laud San Luis track
|By Matt Beer||Monday, November 24th 2008, 11:58 GMT|
FIA GT Championship figures believe the San Luis track used for this year's season finale will become a legendary circuit like Spa-Francorchamps and Bathurst.
The 3.896-mile Potrero de los Funes track is a semi-permanent circuit built around a volcanic lake, and was constructed in under a year. Its fast and undulating layout received lavish praise from drivers during the FIA GT title-decider last weekend.
Series promoter Stephane Ratel believes San Luis will rapidly become a world-renowned venue.
"This circuit will be a landmark in world motorsport," he said.
"The legendary circuits are usually very fast, very challenging, natural circuits, not designed by computers. Circuits like Le Mans, Spa, Bathurst - and now San Luis will be part of these big circuits of the world."
Fabrizio Gollin, who finished second in the race and the championship with co-driver Mike Hezemans, was one of many drivers who lauded the circuit layout, although he admitted that the current level of dust made it treacherous.
"The track is unbelievable," he said. "I think it's one of the best tracks in the world.
"The only thing is it's completely new so there is only one good line. Off-line is very slippery."
Series champion Michael Bartels agreed that the dust had made the race difficult, but was still full of admiration for the San Luis track.
"The track's condition was really difficult and this turned the race - which should have been a stroll in the park - into a sort of lottery in which anything could happen," he said.
"I'd also like to emphasise the great job the San Luis community did in creating this circuit in just nine months."
Ratel was also amazed by what the San Luis authorities had achieved.
"About 18 months ago, I had a very pleasant dinner with Carlos Garcia Remohi (head of Argentine motorsport) in Paris, and we discussed the opportunity to bring international circuit racing back to Argentina," said Ratel.
"We had this discussion and he told me about the project in San Luis. I came here to discover Potrero de los Funes, which was undoubtedly an amazing place to spend a week's vacation. But after the first lap we did together on the small road around the lake, I had to be very inventive to imagine that we could ever do a race here.
"Eighteen months later, I am delighted I took that decision, which sounded a bit crazy at the time, because I am absolutely amazed and I want to thank everybody involved."