The GT Academy finalists took their first step on the road to the grand prize, when Italy’s Luca Lorenzini and Frenchman Jordan Tresson took to the track at the Snetterton circuit in a pair of identical Nissan 370Z cars. The pair recorded 10th and 11th place finishes respectively in the 750 All Comers event but, more importantly, secured valuable signatures that will assist them in their bid to qualify for an ‘International C’ race licence.
Lorenzini and Tresson were winners of the recent GT Academy 2010 event at Silverstone, which took place from 26 February – 2 March. The racing driver’s boot camp saw the pair beat off hot competition from around the world to impress a panel of judges that included Eddie Jordan, Johnny Herbert and Nürburgring specialist Sabine Schmitz.
Luca Lorenzini from near Mantova in Italy and Jordan Tresson from Villers La Montagne in northern France returned to the UK last Monday (8 March). The Snetterton race was the beginning of a comprehensive training programme that sees them living near the RJN Motorsport team in Oxfordshire for nearly two months. They will participate in a series of national races in the hope of qualifying for an international licence in time for the start of the European GT4 Cup. Only one driver will be selected to race the full season in a race-prepared, 400bhp Nissan 370Z GT car.
The 750 MC season opener at Snetterton was a tough test for the pair. They were racing on road tyres in standard 370Z cars, but were up against some quick, open-top, slick-shod sports cars such as Radicals and Ginettas. However, both drivers impressed their new team boss, Bob Neville.
“I am happy with a good solid start”, said the experienced boss of the PlayStation Nissan team. “This was about getting used to being on a track with lots of other cars around. The fact that most of the cars were a much faster class than ours and were on slick tyres was probably quite useful in terms of making Luca and Jordan very aware of what was going on around them and adjusting lines to let people past safely. This is all part of what a racing driver has to learn.
Their pace was virtually identical. Jordan was slightly quicker in qualifying but Luca’s fastest lap in the race was a fraction quicker and he finished ahead. What I am very pleased about is that Luca and Jordan are behaving like team-mates and helping each other. With only one drive in the European GT4 Cup at stake there was a danger that they would be competing against each other, but I am pleased that they are both taking the right attitude”.
Having raced on Saturday, Jordan and Luca acted as race marshals on Sunday, which is an important learning activity that also earned them an extra ‘signature’ to build up towards the all-important licence. Coupled with a signature for the Advanced ARDS achieved at Silverstone during the week and one for the race, both are progressing well with a total of three signatures each.
But it was the racing that was obviously more exciting for the new drivers.
“I really enjoyed the race,” enthused 21-year-old automotive engineering student Jordan Tresson. “We didn’t go as fast as I would have liked, but our goal was to stay on track and not take risks. We finished in good places and got two signatures. I’ve been enjoying the training this week, we’ve been in the gym every day. Our next big race is at Pembrey and I’m looking forward to it as we get more time on the track.”
Echoing his sentiments, Luca felt they got off to a positive start: “It was a nice weekend,” said the 26-year old mechanic. “The car felt great, it was prepared well, there were no mistakes out on the track. I had so much fun at this event I can’t wait to race again.”
Luca and Jordan will be back on-track on 27 and 28 March at Pembrey circuit, where they will compete in a round of the Welsh Sports and Saloons Championship.
(text and images courtesy of GT Academy 2010 – more images available on GTAcademy’s Flickr)