World GT1 secures 18-car entry
|By Matt Beer||Friday, February 11th 2011, 18:21 GMT|
The 2011 GT1 World Championship will go ahead despite a raft of team departures over the winter, with the series announcing that 18 cars have been entered and that talks are ongoing to add at least one more team.
Although the organisers have not released an entry list yet, a GT1 statement said that only teams running Nissans, Fords, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins had entered at present, meaning last year's title-winning Maserati and the Corvette could be absent in 2011.
Last week's AUTOSPORT magazine revealed that GT1 boss Stephane Ratel was working on a series of deals to ensure that the championship met the 20-car entry it is contractually obliged to provide, despite the Hegersport, Phoenix and Matech teams all definitely departing and others also rumoured to be on the way out.
Under series rules, each manufacturer must be represented by at least two teams running two cars each.
"We have been working extremely hard to ensure we have a good quality grid for the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship and I'd like to thank the teams who have submitted their entries to the FIA," said Ratel.
"GT1 remains firm on the two-car team entries and two teams per brand that have made the championship unique in the world of sportscar racing.
"It should also be noted that of the entries received, all of the cars that were built specifically for the 2010 GT1 regulations, namely Nissan, Ford and Lamborghini, will be on the grid in Abu Dhabi, alongside the Aston Martin DB9.
"I am confident that we will find a solution in the next few weeks that will add a fifth brand to the grid and bring the number of cars up to 20."
AUTOSPORT understands that the Sumo Power team will run all four Nissans this year as two linked operations. The Munnich Lamborghini, Young Driver Aston Martin, Hexis Aston Martin and Marc VDS Ford squads have all announced that they will enter the 2011 championship as well.
The series commences in Abu Dhabi on 26 March.