As early as 2009, before the regulations of the new GT Championship came into force, Matech Concepts started developing a new Ford GT1 based on the prototype fielded in the previous season. On the way to the Portuguese circuit at Portimão, Matech Competition stopped in Spain at the Ascari circuit to perform the roll-out of the new car. With Thomas Mutsch at the wheel, the first metres of the Ford GT1 went according to plan, just as the driver and Martin Bartek had been hoping: "The car is completely new. Not a single element, be it the engine, the transmission system, the suspension or aerodynamics are the same as those of the Ford GT1 from 2009. The roll-out was very promising, and we are confident with regard the forthcoming season." The next step will be the "balance of performance" at Portimão on 3 and 4 February, followed by further testing at the Alcañiz circuit where a handful of previously selected drivers will take the wheel of the Ford GT1. This first stage will then be concluded by the presentation of the vehicle to the press in Paris on 1 March.
The driver pairings...
To determine the final line-up for the cockpits of the two Ford GT1 cars, Matech Competition has invited seven drivers to participate in a comparative test in a "special" Ford GT3 on the Portimão circuit. In addition to the five men - Mathias Beche, Yann Zimmer, Borja Garcia, Casper Elgaard and Carlo Van Dam - the group also includes two ladies, Natacha Gachnang and Cyndie Allemann. ''Our goal, clearly, is to form two teams that are as strong as possible by giving young drivers, including women, an opportunity to compete. For these tests, they will be driving one of our Ford GT3 cars on which we have removed the ballast and the air-restrictor so that it will handle in a similar way on the track as the GT1," explains Martin Bartek. After this initial evaluation, there will be some candidates for further tests, this time in the Ford GT1 at the Motorland circuit near Alcañiz. Jonathan Hirschi and Marc Hennerici will join this test as well.
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