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FFSA GT Season Preview
More Diversity On The Grid For 2013

The FFSA GT starts its season this coming weekend on the Bugatti circuit. It came alone last September as part of the Fête de l'ACO, but this times it comes back with the whole GT Tour.

29 cars are entered, 22 in the French Championship class and seven in the French Cup class. This was the same number in the Championship class at the finale at the Paul Ricard last year, but, for the Cup class, the number is up by five cars. Regarding the types of cars, the grid loses Mercedes and Lamborghini, but sees the arrival of BMW and Nissan and the return of Aston Martin; so a bigger entry, with more diversity.

The McLaren MP4-12C GT3 and Porsche 997 GT3 R will be the most numerous models, with six each. Fewer Audi are present, as the Belgian team WRT has left the championship, so it's now Saintéloc who will defend the Ingolstadt brand.

On the Porsche side, Pro GT by Alméras will defend its title with the 997 GT3 R upgraded to 2013 specifications, but not with the title-winning drivers, who have left for pastures new.

Anthony Beltoise – who successfully defended his title last year – will drive a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 entered by Sébastien Loeb Racing, who drop the Mercedes entered last year, but won't lose any time getting to know his teammate Laurent Pasquali, as they were champions together in 2011.

As is the case with ART Grand Prix, Sébastien Loeb Racing now enters two McLarens; as do Hexis Racing, who arrive from the FIA GT1 World Championship.

One of the Hexis cars will be driven by Olivier Panis and Eric Debard, who last year raced a Ferrari to victory in the first race at Le Mans.

2012 co-Champion Henry Hassid will now drive a BMW Z4 GT3 entered by TDS Racing, a team we'll see in June at the same circuit when they enter an Oreca 03 in the 24 Hours.

On both occasions, Pierre Thiriet will be one of the drivers. In June, too, we'll also be able to see the evolution of the Z4 GT3, the new Z4 GTE, prepared to comply to the ACO regulation. Another Z4 GT3 will be entered by a Chinese team, Justracing China. They come to FFSA GT to discover this type of racing, having in mind the launch of a Chinese GT series in 2014-2015.

Of course, Ferrari is still present, with the faithful teams Sofrev ASP and Sport Garage.

One of Sport Garage's drivers will be the star of the weekend – 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. JMB Racing will also enter a Cup class Ferrari, but their big news is that they will be entering a Nissan GT-R in the Championship class with the support of JRM. Podiums are the goal for this first year of the GT-R in French GT, before going for the title next year.

To complete the grid, Aston Martin is back in French GT, thanks to Team Speed Car which enters two DBRS9s.

The entry:

Both qualifying sessions will take place on Saturday morning, before the first of the two hour-long races which starts at 4 pm. The second race starts on Sunday at 12:30 pm and both races will be broadcast live on French Eurosport (Sunday) and Eurosport 2 (Saturday).

GT Tour 2013 calendar:

April 27/28 - Le Mans Bugatti
May 18/19 - Imola
June 8/9 - Spa-Francorchamps
July 6/7 - Val de Vienne
September 7/8 - Magny-Cours
October 12/13 - Lédenon
October 26/27 - Paul Ricard

David Legangneux