Al-Zubair and Schiller look to round off part-time GT Open campaign with two race wins in Barcelona

Sports Tuesday 17/October/2023 11:17 AM
By: Times News Service
Al-Zubair and Schiller look to round off part-time GT Open campaign with two race wins in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Oman’s Al-Faisal Al-Zubair and German team-mate Fabian Schiller take part in their third event of the 2023 International GT Open series at the 4.657km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain this weekend (October 21st-22nd).

The Al-Manar Racing by Getspeed Mercedes AMG GT3 pairing has only competed in two rounds and four races in the series so far this year and will be hoping to snatch outright victories on races 12 and 13 of the series.

Whilst Al-Zubair and Schiller competed in Portugal in May and Hungary the following month, other competitors have taken part in additional rounds in Belgium, France, Austria and Italy and four teams still have a mathematical chance of taking the International GT title.

For Al-Zubair and Schiller, following a first and second place in Portimão and a win and a third at the Hungaroring, it will be a case of trying to claim back-to-back wins in the Pro class in the races on Saturday and Sunday.

Al-Zubair said: “I am looking forward to racing in Barcelona for the finale of the International GT Open. Together with Getspeed and Fabi (Fabian), we have a great package that we proved this season. Out of the two race weekends we have done so far, we have two wins, one second place and a third. This is a 100% podium-finishing record.

“That went really well and we are both excited to getting back to the championship and ending the European season soon before we announce our next races. Unfortunately, we will have a 20-second handicap because of our previous success but, nonetheless, I hope that we can still achieve great results this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Al-Zubair has also confirmed that he, Fabian Schiller and Austrian racer Martin Konrad will take part in the forthcoming Asian Le Mans Series.

The three-event calendar includes two races at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on December 2nd and 3rd, one race at the Dubai Autodrome on February 4th and a back-to-back finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on February 10th-11th.

Speaking about the Asian Le Mans Series, Al-Zubair said: “The team will be Fabian Schiller, me and Martin Konrad. Hopefully it will be a very strong championship for us. We have a strong line-up and will be aiming for the win. It will be an extremely tough championship but we will be very well prepared by then. It will be great to be back in that series again for the second time after finishing second last year.”

Thirty-four cars have been entered across the various classes for the final races in the International GT Open in Barcelona and potentially four teams and four different brands of race car will be challenging for the title.

Sam de Haan and Charlie Fagg head into the weekend in the Optimum Motorsport McLaren with 103 points and a cushion of four over Diego Menchaca in the Motopark Mercedes. In Barcelona, the Mexican teams up with the 2019 GT Open champion Albert Costa. Christopher Haase and Simon Reicher are a further four points adrift in the Eastalenet Racing Audi.

With dropped scores coming into force at year-end and 30 points still at stake, the British duo has a four-point advantage over Menchaca and eight over the Austrian and the German in third.

The Oregon Team Lamborghini of Pierre-Louis Chovet and Maximilian Paul is also still in contention, albeit 19 points behind after four race wins so far this season.

International GT Open drivers are sharing the race weekend with entrants in the Euro 4 Championship, GT Cup Europe and Euroformula Open. They will take to the Catalan circuit for a pair of one-hour free practice sessions on Friday from 11.17hrs and 16.33hrs, respectively.

The first 30-minute qualifying session takes centre stage at 10.20hrs on Saturday morning and precedes the opening 70-minute race that gets underway with a rolling start from 15.05hrs.

Q2 takes place for the second driver from 09.30hrs on Sunday and is followed by a second one-hour race, starting at 13.30hrs.

2023-24 Asian Le Mans Series
R1 Sepang, Malaysia December 2
R2 Sepang, Malaysia December 3
R3 Dubai Autodrome, Dubai February 4
R4 Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi February 10
R5 Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi February 11