Next stop for the Sumo Power GT team is the Navarra Circuit in northeast Spain for round six of the FIA GT1 World Championship, which takes place this weekend on 2nd & 3rd July. And, after a frustrating two races in round five at Silverstone four weeks ago, the team has never been more ready to put the records straight.
This is certainly the case for the Nissan GT-R no. 21 pairing of David Braham and Jamie Campbell-Walter, who were disappointed not to finish either of the two races at their home event of the season. However, neither are the kind to dwell on the past and are as positive as ever about their chances in Spain – especially as Campbell-Walter recorded a podium position in the Championship Race their last year.
Joining the Sumo Power GT team in Navarra is Dutch driver Nick Catsburg, who competed in selected rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship earlier this year in a Corvette and will partner Enrique Benoldi in Nissan GT-R no. 20 this weekend. Catsburg is the third team-mate to accompany the Brazilian so far this season and he swaps with Warren Hughes who drove for the team in the previous two rounds. Catsburg’s appointment was confirmed on Tuesday (28th June) evening.
After his name was published on the provisional FIA entry list last week, it appeared that 2003 Le Mans 24-hours winner Guy Smith would join Sumo Power GT for the Navarra round. However, his association with the team was purely one of testing and consequently, after being invited to contribute to its test programme and having driven the GT-R, Smith has agreed to step-in to carry out further testing as required.
All of the Sumo Power GT drivers attended the test at the Motorland Circuit near Aragón on Monday and Tuesday. This was the first time since the season began the team has had a true opportunity to try a range of set-ups on its two Nissan GT-Rs and engineers are pleased to report that it was a very worth-while two-days.
The 3.933km Navarra Circuit is situated 60km southeast of Pamplona, near the small town of Los Arcos and, as the track is just over a year old, it will be a new experience for many of the drivers on the grid this weekend.
The on-track action kicks off on Friday with Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying. Saturday sees Qualifying start at 11.15, which is followed by the first of the weekend’s two, one-hour races at 16.45. The main Championship Race is scheduled to get the green light at 13.45 on Sunday. All times listed are CEST (Central European Summer Time). Please subtract one-hour for GMT (UK).
Watch all of the action live on the team’s website: www.sumopowergt.com
Jamie Campbell-Walter (Car 21)
“We are not where we want to be at this point in the season, so we have to put that behind us and get back on form for the second half of the year. Therefore, our target this weekend must be to score two top-three finishes. I like Navarra. It’s a good track and I finished third in the Championship Race last year, so I know the Nissan GT-R can be quick there.”
David Brabham (Car 21)
“The Navarra circuit will be new to me. I like learning new tracks, which I have done a lot this year in this series. It looks tighter than Silverstone, so I’m not sure how good our car will be there, but Jamie did have a good run last year. A top-five finish would be a good target for us and I know the Sumo Power GT boys are really up for it and have worked hard since the last race to be as competitive as possible. I wasn’t happy the way I drove at Silverstone, so that has made me even more determined to finish the second half of the season really well.”
Enrique Bernoldi (Car 20)
“I know the Navarra Circuit from last year’s GT1 race. It is not particularly my favourite style of track, as it is very tight and does not allow for much overtaking, although I am still looking forward to the weekend. We have learnt some good lessons from the races so far this season and I’m optimistic we will reach the podium before too long. It would therefore be great to repeat the third place result the team had there last year.”
Nick Catsburg (Car 20)
“Having won last year’s Eurocup Mégane Trophy, my prize was to test the Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R T-car in Japan. I really enjoyed it and, since then, my dream has been to join the team. And now it’s happened! I’m delighted to be working with them and to be alongside such great drivers. I am also pleased that this gives me the opportunity to continue to race in the GT1 Championship.”
Hiroki Furuse (Team Manager)
“It would be great for the team if we can have a good clean run this weekend and see both cars in the top-five. Navarra is a tricky circuit and has a number of low-gear corners that may not be ideal for our cars, although the podium finish last year proves that, if things go well, we are still in with a chance of a good result.”
Andy Barnes (Team Principal)
“I don’t think I can remember the team ever being more determined for a good result than it is now. Everyone has worked hard to get things right and we therefore go to Navarra with both GT-Rs s running well and a fresh approach to the second half of the season.”