Johnson believes British GT will benefit from endurance races for 2011 season

10 03 2011

Piers Johnson

Johnson believes GT racing is all about endurance events

EXPERIENCED racer Piers Johnson is delighted the British GT Championship has moved towards an endurance-based series for the 2011 season.

Johnson, 41, has competed in British GT since 2001, and believes that the new longer race distances for this year is what makes GT racing.

He told BritishGT: “I definitely prefer the longer races. I’d prefer them to be a minimum of two hours, I think one hour is a bit too short.

“At the end of the day, GT racing is about endurance. We all aspire to go to Le Mans and all the European events are four or six hours and longer and that’s what I prefer.

“In a one hour race, you’re pretty much stuck in your place, there’s no strategy involved, no team involvement, it’s just two half an hour sprints for both drivers.

“It means with the longer races you can play a more tactical game and it also prepares you if you want to move onto greater things in Europe.”

And Johnson has nothing but praise for the organisers who decided on the new format after discussions with the drivers.

He revealed: “We did the last race last year and Benjamin [Franassovici] and SRO are very good at communicating with the competitors and we all voted for the longer races.

“It’s all worked out and looks like it will be a good championship this year.”

The new pit stop ruling that replaces weight penalties are an unknown quantity but Johnson believes they will make the competition fairer.

He said: “The pit stop should make it more equal and work better than having weight on the car.

“It’ll make the car a lot nicer to drive because you’re not hampered for the whole race and it should give you a chance to get back up if you’ve got a penalty from doing well in the race before.”

Johnson will be racing a Corvette Z06 this year and is unsure of what they can achieve as they have yet to test but is optimistic given the car’s previous performances in Europe.

He explained: “You don’t know how everyone is going to compare. Last year’s cars you knew where you were whereas there are a lot of new cars out there this year.

“With the Mercedes, the 458s, the Audis and obviously our car, all new to the championship, it is difficult to predict really.

“From the form of the Corvette in Europe hopefully that should put us in good stead whereas the 458 and Mercedes are new to competition.

“I’m sure they’re going to be competitive if not quicker than we are but it’s difficult to say at the moment.”