2006 FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP

14.04.2006 One of the more unexpected appearances at the FIA GT Championship official presentation this week was the much maligned Pagani Zonda GR, the car now in the hands of Czech outfit Rock Media Racing

One of the more unexpected appearances in the GT1 class at the FIA GT Championship official media presentation this week at the Dijon-Prenois circuit was the much maligned Pagani Zonda GR, the Italian sportscar now in the hands of Czech outfit Rock Media Racing.

The Pagani Zonda GR, which was built by Dutch preparation outfit Carsports who are presently running a Corvette C6-R in the FIA GT Championship, had a very inauspicious start to its racing career in 2003 retiring after just 6 laps on its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring. An ambitious programme to build customer examples and contest the ALMS series was quickly ditched in favour of developing the car and an appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, although its debut in the French classic was just as short-lived.

In 2004 former French Formula 1 driver Phillippe Alliot's Force One racing team took over management of the project with a full attempt at the Le Mans 24 Hours being pencilled in as the target. However, the Zonda GR had a disastrous time during the official Le Mans tests, being plagued by electrical problems as well as strong concerns over its safety, both of which helped to keep its appearance down to just a handful of laps. Force One brought in another ex-F1 racer, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jabouille, to assist with the project's direction, but after a further unsatisfactory test at the Magny-Cours track the decision was taken to withdraw the car from Le Mans, and the project seemed to have vanished.
 

PAGANI ZONDA GR

The Pagani Zonda GR had a very inauspicious start to its racing career in 2003 retiring after just 6 laps on its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring. An ambitious programme to build customer examples and contest the ALMS series was quickly ditched in favour of developing the car and an appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, although its debut in the French classic was just as short-lived.

PAGANI ZONDA GR

The Pagani Zonda GR made its first track appearance for quite sometime during the FIA GT media event at Dijon on Wednesday, with the GT1 car now painted yellow.


Czech team Rock Media Racing joined the FIA GT Championship for the first time at their home race, Brno, last year with a Ferrari 575 GTC driven by Czech Antonin Herbeck and Italian Andrea Montermini. This year they are considering running the Zonda GR in the FIA GT Championship and made their first track appearance during the FIA GT media event at Dijon on Wednesday, with the GT1 car now painted yellow.

In the hands of Herbeck the car managed just three slow laps during the morning session before getting more track time (30 laps) under its belt during the afternoon's second session, held in improved conditions. However the portents were not particularly promising as the carbon-fibre chassis Zonda GR was comfortably the slowest of all the GT1 runners who took to the Dijon circuit, with its best time in fact comfortably beaten by most of the GT2 and GT3 cars. Its fast lap of the day, set during the afternoon session of 1:24.131, was in fact 9.516 seconds slower than the GT1 class pacesetting Vitaphone Maserati MC12 managed, although it has to be considered that this project is just getting back on track after a long absence.
 

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2006 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed