This is a guest post by Craig Livermore.

Welcome to the FIA GT1 World Championship 2012, this time its Round 3 at the famous Navarra Circuit in Spain and this track has produced a lot of exciting racing in both GT1 and GT3, so it’s something of a treasured circuit and I rank it in my top ten of the best circuits in the world. However, this year is slightly different from the 2011 Season, because this time out GT1 has converted to GT3 spec machinery. As I remember rightly in 2011, the GT3 spec cars weren’t far off the pace of their GT1 counterparts, so it was a bold choice to move to them and there was even talks of boosting the GT3 cars up to GT1 spec, but that wasn’t going to happen. The change should have in my opinion, but we’ll see what the future holds for the series, as it has been an ongoing struggle for Stephane Ratel to keep it on its feet.

Before we start talking about the racing, I wanted to say that Hexis Racing has been testing their McLaren GT MP4-12C’s around Navarra, and quite a lot I might add. They have so much knowledge of the track that they were blisteringly fast in the Practice Sessions, so much so that they topped the timing sheets every time. Sadly this wasn’t reflected in qualifying when McLaren started 6th and 16th. I follow the Hexis guys quite closely, so I will make sure to include whatever information I may hear about what they are doing.

GT1 Round 3: Navarra, Qualifying Race

As the cars set off for their formation lap, something caught my eye; the No.18 BMW Z4 is on the exit of pit road. Due to its fuel problems in Qualifying it now has to start from the back of the grid, a shame considering the Vita4One Z4 placed itself in 2nd position.

Now as the cars approach turn 13 for the rolling start they begin to file in and as the lights turn green we have some cars running three or even four abreast on the main straight. Into turn 1 we go and the No.10 Ford GT flies from 7th on the grid into 2nd and tries to obtain 1st from the No.9 Porsche, but they both make contact with one another and are forced wide off the track just exiting turn 2. The No.2 McLaren capitalises on this and moves into 1st place.

The No.17 BMW Z4 is up against the No.3 Ferrari 458, both running side by side into turns 11, 12 and 13, but the Z4 manages to nudge ahead on the exit of turn 12, and immediately starts blocking so that he may maintain the position it just gained. The two All-Inkl SLSs are doing battle against each other meanwhile, the No.1 McLaren has moved up from 17th to 11th in the space of three laps and the Leading No.2 McLaren has a 3.8 second lead as he comes across the finish line on the same lap as the sister car. At the beginning of the 4th lap, the No.1 car moves up two places this time, now in 9th.

On the other end of things, the Sunred Ford GT is holding its own in 5th place, going rather hard on the defence. However, guess who’s catching him? The No.1 car of Stef Dusseldorp has made up a massive amount of ground and is right on the Ford’s backside exiting the final turn, now on the main straight, the McLaren monsters its way passed the Ford like it never even existed, so now No.1 is in 5th position.

Lunardi and Von Thurn Und Taxis receive drive through penalties for not holding position before the lights turned green, they are 9th and 15th respectively.

Twenty-five minutes in and the pit lane is open and will be open for 10 minutes. So the first few drivers that are making their pit stops are, O’Young, Mayr-Melnhof, Salaquarda and Yager, but the Vita4One squad have messed up their pit stop and it has cost Lauda, who’s now in the car for three positions, ouch.

Sad news for all the Spaniards out there, the No.10 Sunred Ford GT, after having such a strong beginning to the race, has now met its end and has been classified as retired, a great shame as the team showed quite a lot of promise at their home race.

Pit window is now closed and all of the drivers have made their pit stops, and it’s a McLaren 1-2 for the Hexis Racing team; they really are in a league of their own. As proven by the Leading No.1 car of Fred Makoweicki, with the fastest time overall of anybody, a 1:38.781. The focus seems to be on the Hexis McLaren’s at the moment, as the No.1 car is closing the gap to the sister car, by 1.0 seconds or so per lap. Stef Dusseldorp has just recently said that no team orders will interfere with the battle between the McLarens, and the No.2 car slows down to let the faster No.1 car through. The positions may have changed, but it’s still a 1-2 for the team as it stands. Hexis are now calming their pace down, as they have an extensive lead over the rest of the grid.

Other than a few minor squabbles and minor incidents for the positions lower than 5th, everything remains for the most part unchanged. And at the end of that fantastic, but frantic race, it’s a Hexis 1-2 and the No.17 Vita4One BMW Z4 of Bartels finishes in 3rd place.

GT1 Round 3: Navarra, Championship Race

Now it’s time for the main event, and this time the top 10 score points, as opposed to the top in the Qualifying Race.

And off we go, a rather strange sight as we see the familiar McLaren 1-2 from the last race, but it’s a Mercedes 3-4 and a BMW 5-6. In the meanwhile, Vilander shoves the Lamborghini of Enge wide into turn 2 and, but nothing too serious came out of it, besides losing positions. The Sunred Ford GT is gaining places quickly, from 17th to 12th, but unfortunately it’s another retirement for the Sunred team, this time it’s in the early stages of the race. It really hasn’t been their weekend, but they have shown pace, Navarra is a very tough and demanding track.

The No.18 Z4 keeps having clutch issues, but they still continue racing, aside losing positions from this weird blip. The No.7 Valmon DBRS9 is showing good pace in the hands of Maxime Martin, he’s currently keeping an eye on the battle between the No.25 Lamborghini and No.3 Ferrari 458, just waiting to see if they make a mistake of some sort. Now Halliday has caught up with the DBRS9 of Martin, so the was three way battle has turned into a four way battle, can’t help but think the No.3 Ferrari is holding everyone else up.

The No.8 Porsche has spun it off at turn 11, under closer inspection I can see that the rear left suspension has collapsed. Meanwhile the sister car of Halliday was a tad hesitant at trying to get the position, but got the No.7 Aston and claimed 8th place.

Pits are open; the No.2 McLaren falls behind the No.37 Mercedes after the pit stop. The No.1 car makes its stop and has a similar problem to the No.2 car; the issue seemed to be with the starter motor, but thankfully still retains the lead.

The No.7 DBRS9 is slowing down and out of the race; some kind of electronical failure seems to have been the cause.

The chequered flag is out and the No.1 McLaren wins again, followed by the No.37 Mercedes in 2nd, the No.38 Mercedes in 3rd and 4th is the No.2 McLaren.

Race Results:

Hexis Racing #1 Car:


Qualifying Race Start: 16th Championship Race Start: 1st
Qualifying Race Finish: 1st Championship Race Finish: 1st
Drivers Championship: 1st – 46pts
Team Championship: 2nd – 73pts

Hexis Racing #2 Car:

Qualifying Race Start: 6th Championship Race Start: 2nd
Qualifying Race Finish: 2nd Championship Race Finish: 4th
Drivers Championship: 2nd – 46pts
Team Championship: 2nd – 73pts

AF Corse:

AF Corse

Qualifying Race Start: 8th Championship Race Start: 10th
Qualifying Race Finish:10th Championship Race Finish: 9th
Drivers Championship: 9th – 27pts
Team Championship: 5th – 37pts

AF Corse

Qualifying Race Start: 11th Championship Race Start: 13th
Qualifying Race Finish: 13th Championship Race Finish: 11th
Drivers Championship:12th – 10pts
Team Championship: 5th – 37pts

Valmon Racing Team Russia:

Valmon Racing Team Russia Aston Martin DBRS9 No.6

Qualifying Race Start: 17th Championship Race Start: 15th
Qualifying Race Finish: 15th Championship Race Finish: 13th
Drivers Championship: Non Scorer
Teams Championship: Non Scorer

Valmon Racing Team Russia Aston Martin DBRS9 No.7

Qualifying Race Start: 14th Championship Race Start: 14th
Qualifying Race Finish: 14th Championship Race Finish: 16th
Drivers Championship: Non Scorer
Teams Championship: Non Scorer

Exim Bank Team China:


Qualifying Race Start: 15th Championship Race Start: 16th
Qualifying Race Finish: 16th Championship Race Finish: 15th
Drivers Championship: Non Scorer
Teams Championship: 6th – 31pts


Qualifying Race Start: 4th Championship Race Start: 11th
Qualifying Race Finish: 11th Championship Race Finish: 12th
Drivers Championship: 6th – 31pts
Teams Championship: 6th – 31pts


Sunred Ford GT No.10

Qualifying Race Start: 7th Championship Race Start: 17th
Qualifying Race Finish: 17th Championship Race Finish: 17th
Drivers Championship: Non Scorer
Teams Championship: Non Scorer

BMW Team Vita4One:


Qualifying Race Start: 3rd Championship Race Start: 7th
Qualifying Race Finish: 7th Championship Race Finish: 6th
Drivers Championship: 12th – 10pts
Teams Championship: 5th – 37pts


Qualifying Race Start: 2nd Championship Race Start: 3rd
Qualifying Race Finish: 3rd Championship Race Finish: 5th
Drivers Championship: 4th – 41pts
Teams Championship: 4th – 51pts

Reiter Engineering:

Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ No.24

Qualifying Race Start: 13th Championship Race Start: 12th
Qualifying Race Finish: 12th Championship Race Start: 14th
Drivers Championship: 11th – 12pts
Teams Championship: 7th – 27pts

Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ No.25

Qualifying Race Start: 1st Championship Race Start: 4th
Qualifying Race Finish: 4th Championship Race Finish: 7th
Drivers Championship: 10th – 15pts
Teams Championship: 7th – 27pts

Belgian Audi Club WRT:


Qualifying Race Start: 5th Championship Race Start: 9th
Qualifying Race Finish: 9th Championship Race Finish: 10th
Drivers Championship: 3rd – 42pts
Teams Championship: 3rd – 71pts


Qualifying Race Start: 10th Championship Race Start: 8th
Qualifying Race Finish: 8th Championship Race Finish: 8th
Drivers Championship: 7th – 29pts
Teams Championship: 3rd – 71pts

All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport:


Qualifying Race Start: 9th Championship Race Start: 6th
Qualifying Race Finish: 6th Championship Race Finish: 3rd
Drivers Championship: 2nd – 46pts
Teams Championship: 1st – 85pts


Qualifying Race Start: 12th Championship Race Start: 5th
Qualifying Race Finish: 5th Championship Race Start: 2nd
Drivers Championship: 5th – 39pts
Teams Championship: 1st – 85pts

FIA GT1 Round 3 Navarra Gallery

[Source: FIA GT1]

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