The 2017 GT Open Series got under way this weekend in Estoril, Portugal (29-30 April, 2017) which boasted a strong field of 22 cars including 16 strong professional drivers in what looks to have the making of a very competitive championship.
FFF Racing by ACM fielded a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Vitantonio Liuzzi in the hotly contested Pro-Am category and the double-pairing proved to be a formidable pairing with Hamaguchi in particular having nothing short of an outstanding weekend in which his pace and performance saw him outpacing a number of the ‘pro’ drivers in both qualifying and the races.
Each driver took a 30-minute qualifying session to determine grid positions for the respective races and it was Hamaguchi’s performance that set the tone with a sensational third overall. Liuzzi had the pace to emulate the position but struggled to get a clear lap in his session and had to settle for a fifth row starting spot for race one.
In the first of the weekend’s races, Liuzzi made progress to bring the car up to sixth position overall to hand the car to Hamaguchi to bring the car home. Again, the Japanese driver continued his excellent form, pushing hard to take a deserved podium in the Pro-Am class and sixth overall.
Race two saw Hamaguchi boxed at the start and drop some positions. Undeterred, he pushed the Lamborghini hard to recover and hand the car to his teammate to chase down the leaders.
Former Formula One star Liuzzi, got the hammer down and was chasing the leading Pro-Am car closing at a rate of 1.5 seconds per lap and with four laps to go looked set to take the class lead and second position overall when a mechanical issue caused the Italian to leave the track at the end of the main straight.
The disappointment of race two took some of the shine off of what was an extremely positive weekend. However, the team know thought that the pace of the #555 Lamborghini will yield results as the GT Open season unfolds.
“I am absolutely delighted with the speed and pace of both our drivers, but especially Hiroshi to qualify third,” said FFF Racing Team Owner, Sean Fu Songyang. “The car looked great and the team did a fantastic job and we cannot wait for the next round.”
The next round of the International GT Open series takes place at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium 27-28 May.