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Hexis Racing takes up the City Challenge!

Posted 19 Oct, 2012 by in News0
Hexis Racing takes up the City Challenge!

Hardly had the Hexis Racing team stepped down from the topmost step of the Navarra podium when it got back to work to go and take on the City Challenge, an original event in more ways than one. It will be held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in the context of a big meeting combining motor sport, music, art, shows and entertainment. Hexis Racing, runner-up in the FIA GT1 World Championship, will be up against a very competitive field consisting of 24 Grand Touring cars, some of them in the hands of well-known drivers.

The decision to compete in the first City Challenge was taken last weekend in the Navarra paddock. “The organizers have been chasing us for a long time,” said team manager Philippe Dumas. “I explained to them that it posed a problem because of the world championship calendar, but the situation has evolved since then. They came back to us with a very good offer that we discussed with McLaren. They wanted to invite Hexis as much as McLaren. I think it’s a good idea to be in at the start of the City Challenge. A full championship with events of this type in town centres would be an interesting project. Our two cars will leave Frankfurt this Friday by plane and the team will fly to Baku on Tuesday next. The circuit looks fairly basic. It’ll be a big show, a different concept to what we’re used to. We’re going there to test the waters, but with top-class drivers.”

Once again a dream team of four drivers will be at the wheel of the two Hexis Racing McLarens in Azerbaijan. Fred Makowiecki and Stef Dusseldorp, runners-up in the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship, will share one of the cars while the other will be in the hands of a couple of works McLaren drivers, Alvaro Parente and Rob Bell. It is also the first time that an English driver will be part of the French squad’s line-up.

The McLaren MP4-12Cs will be up against BMW Z4s, Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Mercedes-Benz AMGs and Corvettes. Among the drivers are Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 F1 world champion and Indy 500 winner, 5-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider, and Jos Verstappen who scored two podium finishes in grand prix and won the LM P2 category in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The format of the events for the GT cars is different to the usual European system. Each driver will take part in a timed session and then a qualifying sprint race of 30 minutes. The combined ranking of the two races will decide the places on the grid for the final. This is similar to the world championship events as it lasts 60 minutes with tyre and driver changes between the 30th and 37th minute. There will be standing starts as in F1, which is quite unusual in GT racing.

Another invention is the Lumirank. The purpose of the system is to display the position of a car in the race by means of LED technology. It will be installed on the cars in order to enable the large crowd to follow the races more easily.

Hexis Racing experienced city circuits in the past. The team entered a Porsche in the 2006 Pau Grand Prix, two Aston Martin GT3s in Bucharest in 2007 and at the Norisring in 2008. The French team likes far-away races as proved by a podium in China, a double in Russia and a double victory plus the world title in Argentina.

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