Baku World Challenge Preview
After another thrilling and intense fight on the European battlefield, the 2014 GT season is drawing to a close. However, this weekend bringsa fresh challenge for the competitive Corvette team of RWT Racing and Callaway Competition with its Z06.R's. After several months battling Germany's best in the ADAC GT Masters Championship, the recent back to back race winning Corvette has a new challenge and focus. The team is turning their attention to the Blanchpain GT finale in Baku. This is a special one off appearance and the invitation was hard to pass up. Ahead of making the long journey to Azerbaijan, the team completed a successful shakedown alongside RWT Racing at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany.
Baku is new to the Blancpain calendar (as it was previously with the FIA GT Series since 2012), the race dubbed the "Baku World Challenge" currently uses a new purpose built 4.380 km street circuit as of last year. The track weaves through the city and much of the circuit is on the Caspian sea. Spearheading this assault from Callaway Competition are two recent race winners: Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth. Keilwitz (who has claimed no less than 6 total wins in the GT Masters this season), is eagerly looking forward to this weekends event. "I'm really happy to come back to Baku this year", explains Daniel. "The competitiors are really strong there and the street circuit is also a good challenge which makes a lot fun. Last year we were fast in the first free practice until we get hit by a competitior and the damage was too big on the car to drive in the race, so I hope that we will have no issues this year and we can race."
Rounding up the teams "Callaway-RWT" entry is the Blue and White Z06.R of Sven Barth and David Jahn. The Callaway Customer RWT Racing team have performed solidly this season in the ADAC GT Masters, which included both their first podium At Slovakia and shortly after a race win at the Nurburgring. Newcomer to the circuit Davis Jahn is anxious to get started this weekend: "I am really looking forward to driving in Baku" explains David. "I watched the races from the last few years and it looked really good to me. I am happy to be a part of it this year." His teammate Sven Barth is equally relishing this weekends event: "we are very proud about taking part at the Baku World Challenge with a strong Team around Ernst Wöhr and Giovanni Ciccone, together with a second strong car in which Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth are taking a seat! It is a big challenge and a chance as well to measure us with all the best teams and drivers throughout the whole world"
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Giovanni Ciccone (Team Manager):
"We definitely arrive in Baku with some unfinished business and certainly no bad feelings from last year with our early exit, but our drivers are very motivated. Daniel knows the event from last year, Andreas has a lot of experience on street circuits from his time in the US, and Sven Barth has won in the past on the street circuit of Monaco. I am confident that we can take the start of the races from the sharp end of the grid. The qualifying on a street circuit is enormously important, because overtaking is not easy. Even in Baku."
Daniel Keilwitz (Nr110 Z06.R):
"I'm really happy to come back to Baku this year. The competitiors are really strong there and the street circuit is also a good challenge which makes a lot fun. Last year we were fast in the first free practice until we get hit by a competitior and the damage was to big on the car to drive in the race so I hope that we will have no issues this year until the race. It will be also a nice season end for me, the team and Andi Wirth and I think we will
have a good chance to fight for the win."
Andreas Wirth (Nr110 Z06.R):
"It’s an amazing opportunity to be racing for Callaway Competition this year at the Baku World Challenge with Daniel. This will be my first time racing the Baku circuit – it looks very cool and I’m very excited. I’ve always loved street racing, and for sure I’m up for a great street fight - especially with the momentum of our two wins at home in Hockenheim! Obviously we’re hoping for better things in Baku this year. Callaway had a bit of bad luck in 2013 (due to an Audi-caused collision in Free Practice they did not start), so we want to make up for that and really show what the C6 Z06 GT3 Corvette is capable of. I think our Corvette will do well in Baku - good traction and torque are very important on a city course and we have a lot of mechanical grip, so I'm certainly optimistic."
David Jahn (Nr112 Z06.R):
"I am really looking forward to drive in Baku. I watched the races the last years and it looked really good to me. I am happy to be a part of it this year. As I had a look on the track layout, I think if we find a good setup for the car, we can be really competitive with our strong Corvette. I think the race became popular the last years and many people will follow the race weekend. If we perform good, people will remember our names! And of course I am happy to drive together with my teammate Sven from GT Masters."
Sven Barth (Nr112 Z06.R):
"Its been a season full of ups and downs and is coming to an end. It was the first year for us in the very strong ADAC GT Masters Championship as a private team. But the support of Callaway Competition was extremely well and extraordinarily, which is not really normal in other Teams! Up to now we had some really good races in the Top 10 and had the possibility to climb two times on the podium. A 3rd place at Slovakiaring and a 1st place at Nürburgring are results which nobody had thought about before the season!
Now we are very proud about taking part at the Baku World Challenge with a strong Team around Ernst Wöhr and Giovanni Ciccone together with a second strong car in which Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth are taking a seat! It is a big challenge and a chance as well to measure us with all the best teams and drivers throughout the whole world. Street Circuits are not really a bad thing for me, 10 years ago I could gain a win in the Formula Renault V6 on Monaco streets, so I should know a little what to do on street circuits! After some unbelievable moves with the BoP we are really looking forward to drive our Corvettes under normal circumstances at the Baku World Challenge!"