The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe season gets underway at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza this weekend. The famous Grand Prix track, nestled in the beautiful Parco di Monza, is known as the Temple of Speed and it is the perfect place to kick off the new season.
The #159 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 will compete in the Silver category, raced by Valentin Hasse-Clot, Nicolai Kjærgaard and Alex MacDowall. The team’s Silver entry started strong last year but suffered in the later races so Hasse-Clot is more determined than ever to come home with the top prize in 2021.
“I am very excited to start this new season of what I call the "Champions League" of GT racing,” said Hasse-Clot. “Our target is obviously to perform as well as possible in the overall classification but above all to fight at the front in our category, the Silver Cup. Pre-season testing has shown that we are a well-matched line up and, as usual, we will rely on the experience of the team to develop the best possible strategy. I love Monza, it should be a good weekend!”
The reigning GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Pro-Am Champion pairing of Alex West and Chris Goodwin will be joined by Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam again in 2021. For West, this year is an opportunity to go for the full series Pro-Am title as he will also compete with Adam in the Sprint series. Chris Goodwin remembers the last time they raced at Monza as it was a successful debut for the team’s new Vantage GT3, taking a podium on their first attempt back in 2019.
“We missed Monza in 2020 due to the Covid enforced rescheduling of the Championship rounds so I’m really pleased to be back,” said Goodwin. “Monza is one of the great, high-speed, iconic circuits that is steeped in history. The team tested well at the circuit last month, calling in on the way home from a very long trip racing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and have since had more time to prepare well for the season ahead. As Pro-Am Champions in the Endurance Series we are under no illusions that this will be a straightforward year. New driver line ups from many teams will keep us pushing but the Aston Martin Vantage is now in its third season and the Garage 59 team has gained a lot of operational experience with it now so I’m hoping that this will be our strongest season yet.”
New-for-2021 is the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, which takes place at each of the endurance events, starting on Saturday evening at Monza. Although this is an Esports competition, the results count towards the Overall and Silver Team Championships so for Garage 59, this raises the stakes for the #159 Silver-class entry. With 3, 2 and 1 points up for grabs for the Top 3 Silver-rated drivers the virtual competition will having a bearing on the real world championship points.
Round One of the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe race will start at 15:00 CET / 14:00 BST on Sunday. All three hours of the race will be streamed live on the ‘GT World’ YouTube channel. The Esports race will also be streamed live on the same channel at 18:55 CET / 17:55 BST on Saturday.