Numbers In The Int’l GT Open Series – The Answers
The crowd and entry numbers for the last event of the opening season
of the new series were so extraordinary, it was worth asking PR
man Alfredo Filippone for some explanations.
This is what
he had to say, in answering two questions.
did your series manage to attract so many spectators to Barcelona?
not an odd figure for the Barcelona event that traditionally closes
the Spanish racing season. GT Sport events are a full package that
includes Spanish GT and Spanish F3 Championships (the two main racing
series in Spain), some mono-brand cups by manufacturers such as
Hyundai and Seat (which use these events for promotional activities,
of course) and Emilio de Villota’s Master Junior Formula (it’s
a singleseater “real-life academy” for very young drivers).
The Barcelona race has always had a special 'flavour' (the end-of-season
effect, nearby France, etc.) but numbers are also quite large in
the other events, especially after the summer (we only race in spring
and late summer in this country, for obvious reasons). And I guess
that more simply, yes, motor racing is popular in Spain, more than
foreigners may believe (motor bikes are still beating us, though,
but that’s an historical fact).
2. And why
do you think the series is so popular with teams? Were the 60+ entries
a guide as to how many might enter the races next year?
60+ is a huge
number, we do reckon. Here too, Barcelona has always attracted a
lot of entries even before the creation of the GT Open (it’s
a nice last race in the season for many foreign teams). But with
the exception of Turkey (too far), we have had very good entries
in all GT Open events in this first year, always around 30+, and
50+ in the three events (Estoril, Valencia and Barcelona) where
the GT Open and the Spanish GT had joint races. This was a “cautious”
choice we did for this first year of the GT Open, but will not be
the case any more in 2007 as we want to clearly differentiate the
two series. We will have events in common, but no joint races any
longer, to allow more clarity and make grids more manageable. For
the GT Open, I guess we aim at grids of between 30 and 40 entries,
hopefully regular entrants and of even quality.