After 18 races and nine rounds, the finale for the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship season takes place this weekend at the spectacular Potrero de los Funes circuit near San Luis in Argentina, and the Sumo Power GT team will be hoping to end its season on a high note.
Taking place on the only track in the world that sits in the rim of an extinct volcano and forms the perimeter road around its lake, the circuit provides a perfect venue at which to achieve a memorable conclusion to the year.
Andy Barnes (Team Principal)
“It's the end of the season and we've got nothing to lose, so it's a case of no holds barred," team principal Andy Barnes admitted, "The drivers are going to Argentina to race and, with the line-up we've got, I see no reason why a top result should not be on the cards.”
A season of mixed fortunes has meant that the team will not be battling for the drivers' and teams' titles, although Sumo Power GT has time-and-again proved that it can challenge for podium places, after scoring four this season with the combination of Jamie Campbell-Walter, David Brabham and the #21 Nissan GT-R.
Although it's not quite been the season the Anglo-Australian paring had been hoping for, they head to the tenth round of the global sportscar championship ninth in the drivers' standings. However, with a possible 33 points on offer, if they were to win both of the weekend's one-hour races, they have a mathematical chance of claiming third place overall.
"The team has worked really hard all year, but Sumo Power GT is yet to win a race this season," Brabham noted, "Jamie and I have finished on the podium four times, so we have proved that the car - and the crew - has the pace, but the top step has so far eluded us. Therefore, our goal is to achieve our first victory and end our season on a high note.”
Sumo Power GT, meanwhile, could still claim fourth in the teams' category as the results for both its cars will count towards the total score and. therefore, a possible 57 points are still on the table.
However, perhaps the most significant denominator in all of the end of season permutations will be the circuit itself, asis displays a character different from that of any other in the FIA GT1 World Championship – or indeed possibly any championship. This is due to the track's breath-taking undulations and fast corners with few run-off areas, coupled with the spectacular topography that surrounds it.
Also, with it being a public road that services the surrounding villages for most of the year, overtaking becomes a risky business, as moving off the racing line means a trip across the dust and dirt that exists at the side of the road.