Demanding 2021 season start at the GTWCE Endurance Cup in Monza
The first round of the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup was a test for teams and tyre choice as unpredictable weather played havoc with strategy. At the three-hour season-opener, held on 18 April in Monza, Italy, Sky Tempesta Racing secured a seventh-place finish in the Pro-Am class.
Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever were joined by German driver Steffen Görig for the first round of the season as on-going COVID-19 travel restrictions meant regular team-mate Jonathan Hui was unable to travel to Europe for the event.
Chris Froggatt: “Heading into the weekend, we knew it was going to be very challenging. We welcomed Steffen to the line-up very last minute. In such a competitive environment, it’s difficult for someone to come in with little experience of working with the team and engineers, but he did a great job adapting and improving during the weekend. Unfortunately, like everyone else, we were caught out by the rain. We did our best to recover but it was very difficult to gain the time back and the weather was very unpredictable. Overall, it was a tough weekend but it was a good experience to push and challenge ourselves to gain back places. It’s not the start to the season we’d hoped for, but we’ll be pushing for a better result at the next round.”
In the #93 Ferrari 488 GT3, the team qualified ninth in class with an average fastest lap time of 1:48.744. This combined Cheever’s second-in-class lap time of 1:47.358, Froggatt’s fifth-in-class 1:48.685, and Görig’s 11th-in-class 1:50.190.
Görig started the race, which began in dry conditions. However, the skies opened and rain fell on the Italian track less than ten minutes into the race. Running on slicks on the slippery track, Görig unfortunately spun in the first chicane. Unable to engage reverse, he lost time returning to the asphalt. He made his way back to the pits to change for wet tyres, but with areas of the track very wet it remained a challenging stint.
Steffen Görig: “It was a very demanding race. When the rain came, we had to drive on slicks for some time – it was very slippery. Unfortunately, I spun in the first chicane, in turn two, and could not engage reverse gear so had to turn the car in the gravel, which lost quite some time. With rain tyres, it was much better to drive but still very demanding as there was heavy rain in parts of the track.”
Froggatt took the second stint and navigated a difficult time in the race when areas of the track began to dry, with many teams suffering punctures. He managed to claw back some of the time lost early in the race and was running eighth in class before handing over to Cheever. During the final hour stint, Cheever improved a place to cross the line seventh in class.
Sky Tempesta Racing secured six points and currently sit seventh in the Endurance Cup Pro Am Teams’ standings.
Eddie Cheever: “It was great to be out racing again, and positively we showed that we had good pace on the track. Unfortunately, it started raining at the wrong moment of the race and that cost us quite a bit, but we crossed the line and managed to take home some points. We are going to come back stronger at Paul Ricard for the six hours.”
The next round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup takes place on 28-30 May 2021 at Circuit Paul Ricard, France. However, ahead of that Sky Tempesta Racing will compete in the opening round of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup, with Chris Froggatt and Giorgio Roda piloting the Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 at Magny-Cours, France, on 7-9 May 2021.