Italian News – Plenty of It
We don’t actually need to justify the way we report what is being said in other European countries – but so that some can follow the thinking, let’s just say this: it is a mammoth task to follow the details in all series and all countries. We do our best, but for example there are language problems dealing with some news sources in some countries – so at times it is most straightforward and accurate (and effective in times of time spent and available) to post what is coming out of the continental magazines - with full credit given of course.

First some specific news straight from Gabriele Tosi though.

Filippo Francioni looks likely to be racing at Le Mans next year, in the factory Lucchini (entry permitting), but probably won’t be in the four race (five?) LMES. “I can do all the CIP (Italian Prototype Championship) and race at Le Mans with the same amount of budget required for full LMES season, that maybe will consist of five races in total. Even if the races are 1000km long I haven’t enough time on track…This week I’ll test again the CN2 Lucchini, and then we’ll decide whether to stick with the Honda engine and stay in CN2 class or upgrade the car to the CN4 class an install an Alfa Romeo V6. For sure I’ll do all the CIP next year, plus Le Mans with the LMP car….I think Mirko (Savoldi) and Piergiuseppe (Peroni) will do the LMES without a third driver, but right now it is too early to tell…I don’t know if they’ll go to Sebring or not…We’ll have some tests but in January not before.”

The CIP will be staged over nine races in 2005, and carbon chassis are to be accepted in the CN classes.

From Gabriele Tosi again - the Durango team (remember the Italian prototype that raced in the FIA SCC, and also at Le Mans in 2003?) is aiming to return in 2005, with a full LMES season. The car is to be named the GMS PM03, and is a heavily upgraded version of the 203 car, with a Hewland 6 speed sequential gearbox with paddle shift, and revised suspension. The Durango finished the 24 Hours in 2003 – a real ‘victory’ for the Italian newcomers to Le Mans – and with an Engine Developments V10 powering the car again, 2005 could see another strong finish for Ivone Pinton and his team. The team director is talking to American driver Derek Hill about driving in 2005.

Italian GT News: the calendar comprises eight events, with a trip to the Hungaroring included.
3 April – Imola
1 May – Misano
29 May – Vallelunga
12 June – Monza
10 July – Hungaroring
18 September – Mugello
9 October – Misano
23 October – Pergusa

SportAutoMoto suggests this week that reigning Champion Piergiuseppe Perazzini has visited the Maserati factory in order to consider racing an MC12 in the national series! If things proceed according to certain teams’ wishes, the Italian Championship could see an MC12, two DR Sport Equipe Saleens, two Ferrari 575s (Loris Kessel racing and Mik Corse) and two Lister Storms.

GT2 in Italy could see two Ferrari 360 GTCs from the Mastercar team.

SportAutoMotor also suggests that Gabriele Rafanelli will be responsible for running a fresh Picchio attack on Grand Am, but time is too short to consider racing in the Rolex 24 – so we might expect a debut at the second round of the North American series. The cars are expected to be heavily revised compared to the original G&W run chassis.

Italian FIA GT-related news to come.


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