dsc 2005 Awards 20 – European Surprise of the Year
Gareth Evans as solo LMES LMP2 champion got a vote
here, not because he didn’t deserve it, far from it, but because
circumstances dictated that he was the only one of Chamberlain Synergy’s
‘Three Musketeers’ (well, they probably all remember
when muskets were around!), to be present at every race.
The Oreca Audi effort scored two separate nominations
here, once for the epic Silverstone 1000kms from McNish and Ortelli,
against the regulatory odds, and the second for the unfortunate
saga of Jean-Marc Gounon’s accident, and subsequent dismissal,
from the squad at / after Spa.
Hayanari Shimoda’s mercurial, season-long
pace was a pleasant surprise for one of our panel too, as was the
improved form of the Spyker Squadron in the LMES and FIA GT Championship.
The decision to allow Pescarolo Sport to retain
a championship point at Silverstone, despite the car having clearly
been pushed back into pitlane by the driver, raised an eyebrow here
and the overall quality of the racing in the LMES was a pleasant
But the winner
here was a very pleasant surprise indeed – it’s been
quite some time since anything other than a Porsche or a Ferrari
won in the GT2 class in international racing. That changed on both
sides of the Atlantic in 2005 – Europe’s contribution
to the change in fortunes of the minnows came early in the season.
Spa-Francorchamps was the scene for a great LMES race, enlivened
in no small part by a fine showing in the wet race from the Team
LNT TVR T400Rs. They were on the ultimate class pace all weekend
and in the race, after the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari stumbled, always
looked likely to produce a result to stir the emotions. It looks
likely to remain a solo success: Team LNT move on to Panoz in 2006,
leaving just one active T400R still racing. Despite that gloomy
prognosis for the future of TVRs in GT racing, this still goes down
as a real plus in 2005.
dailysportscar.com’s 2005 European
Surprise of the Year is Team LNT’s 1-2 finish at the Spa 1000kms.