- COVID-19 led to major adjustments to the racing calendar and to regulations
- Phase of intense preparations with a range of tests and a drivers’ camp
- First season with Emil Frey Racing for Ricardo Feller & Franck Perera
Safenwil (Switzerland), July 21st 2020
It is undeniable that COVID-19 has left its mark on the sport of racing. Regardless of race series, the sport depends on loyal sponsors and thrives on cheering spectators – both of which are essential for the sport of racing to survive.
Preparations for the upcoming season had already been in full effect, even weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak, with the first test of the year taking place in February, in Barcelona. Le Castellet was part of the test program as well, where, amongst other things, the new Pirelli tires were put to the test and the car setup had been continuously optimized in mid-March. After Le Castellet, a two-day training camp followed in Switzerland, where drivers proved their outstanding physical and mental fitness. Drivers went all out in a wide range of fitness sessions and tests. However, the Emil Frey Racing team was forced to cease their tests in Le Castellet and to end preparations for the season prematurely because of the mandated lockdown in Switzerland. Furthermore, due to the global spread of COVID-19, the whole series had to be postponed until further notice. This led to a widely shared sense of uncertainty as to when and if the season of 2020 would start.
About to kick off
Soon it’s back to GREEN GREEN GREEN! The long-awaited start of the season is finally happening on the weekend of July 25 and 26, in Imola (IT). The Emil Frey Racing team is ready to face its strong competition in the 3-hour endurance race of the GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE, albeit missing spectators and under strict safety measures.
The qualifying race takes place on Saturday, the 25th of July, from 17:30 to 18:30. The race itself takes place the following day, on Sunday, from 13:30 to 16:30 and can be viewed live via Youtube-Livestream!
As a former Formula 1 racetrack, Imola stands for tradition and comprises of 4,909km of track and 22 curves. Imola is one of the few circuits that has drivers race counterclockwise, and is famous for its speed, not just in the world of Formula 1 but in the world of motorcylce sports as well. The racetrack in Imola is conveniently located near Bologna, and is connected to major transport networks from North- and Central Italy.
Sponsors & guests
For Emil Frey Racing it’s always been a big part and a great pleasure to host sponsors and guests at the circuit, which is why the team is very much hoping and looking forward to doing so again in the future. The whole Emil Frey Racing team would like to take this opportunity to once again thank its longstanding sponsors for their support and loyalty. The team is very much aware of the fact that in these uncertain times, partnerships such as the one with Lamborghini as well as sponsorships of all kinds are not to be taken for granted. All the more reason for Emil Frey Racing to appreciate and acknowledge the great collaboration with partners and sponsors, and, needless to say: the team is looking forward to the season kick off in Imola.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti (Team Principal)
I can hardly imagine that anyone, regarldess of industry or country, could have anticipated this difficult situtation. The sport of racing as well as pretty much every other sport lives from spectators and sponsors and, correspondingly, from the sales of the event itself. The unforeseen break before the season could even start, came as a great surprise to everyone. Nonetheless, the whole team has spent the past few months preparing as much as they could given the difficult circumstances. So we’re ready and we can’t wait for the start of the season at the prestigious racetrack in Imola.
Jürg Flach (Technical Director)
Imola is a demanding racetrack in the most traditional sense. Its layout is a challenge for both driver and car. It’s of utmost importance to have excellent brakes, to find a good line and to be strong on the kerb. Just as important are outstanding engine power for the uphill part after the Curva Tossa and Acque Minerali, as well as top speed for the long straight stretches. We are well prepared and are hoping for a successful season opener in Imola.
Driver Statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
I’m very happy to be back after a very strange start into the year. I’ve been working out at home to keep my body in top condition. I’ve also been spending a lot of time driving cart and took part in valuable tests with the team. All of this has been great in keeping me in race shape, physically as well as mentally. That is why I believe we are more than ready for the first race. To be honest, I am extremely thrilled and motivated after all these months of waiting and after the long winter break. Let’s see what we can achieve. I, for one, will always give my very best.
Giacomo Altoè (IT)
I can hardly wait to return to the racetrack together with my teammates for the first race of the season. I am thrilled and am looking forward to the long-awaited debut of Emil Frey Racing with Lamborghini at the GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE, and can’t wait to give it my all in Imola. The tests went really well, so we’re ready to hit the track at the first Free Practice of the season on Saturday.
Franck Perera (FR)
Finally, the race season is about to start! Although I was lucky enough to officially start my season last January at the 24-hour race in Daytona, and was able to take part in some test runs as well. Still, I am excited about the endurance series of the GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE 2020. Also, I am so thrilled to be part of the Emil Frey Racing team. Together with Giacomo and Albert, we’re more than just ready to welcome this moment as a blessing and to fight for what we dream of, namely, a victory. I’m looking forward to a start at Imola (IT), a circuit that is so rich in tradition, and so close to the factory of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse. The circuit is historic and I can hardly wait to actually be there in a few weeks from now!
Driver Statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AT)
I am thrilled about the first race of the season. After the tests, I’m confident that we’re ready. As we used another tire during the last season, I believe that we still haven’t realized the full potential of the Pirelli tires. Nevertheless, I am positive that we are on the right track. Our competition is tough, but we’ve been giving our very best to be as prepared as we can be.
Mikaël Grenier (CAN)
First, I would like to thank Lorenz and the whole Emil Frey Racing team for giving us the opportunity to return to the racetrack after these difficult times. I am looking forward to finally start, fully aware of the fact that the first two races will be challenging. But, we were able to push through with our winter test program and made great progress with the car. I’m also very much looking forward to continue working with the same team: my race partner Norbert, and Ricardo, who, as a new addition, is going to support us in the endurance races. Together, we are one strong team.
Ricardo Feller (CH)
Finally, we’re about to start! I had my last race in October 2019 and after such a long break, am all the more looking forward to the race weekend in Imola. We had a satisfying test run in Imola and I believe our Lamborghini is a great fit for the track. Of course, it’s a pity that we won’t be able to welcome fans at the track, but I hope that we will soon be allowed to do so.