One of the defining marks of the 2018 International GT Open is the high number of South-American drivers taking part to it. This has always been true (remember that in the past, well-known drivers such as Cochito López, Daniel Serra, Nelsinho Piquet, Matías Russo, Ezequiel Pérez-Companc or Gustavo Yacamán have been shining in the series), but this year the number is higher than ever, with ten drivers from the continent having already made at least one appearance. Besides Guatemala’s Andrés Saravia and Argentina’s Juan Cruz Álvarez, both competing for Team BMW Teo Martín, Brazil has an impressive colony, with no less than eight drivers; Márcio Basso and Thiago Marques (also with Teo Martín’s squad), Nicolas Costa and Giulio Borlenghi at VSR, Fernando Rees at Ombra Racing, and Marcelo Hahn, Allam Khodair and Alan Hellmeister at Drivex.
With the numbers and the success, as demonstrated by the many podium finishes in all classes in the two rounds held so far, the GT Open is now more and followed by South-American media and becoming quite popular in the continent. But why the GT Open is attracting so many South-American drivers? Márcio Basso (pictured below, in pic2), who has a long career in GT racing in Brazil, with experience also in the US, explains: “Clearly, the idea to go racing to Europe, the historic cradle of motorsport, and to some of the most prestigious tracks is very tempting, and that is the first reason. Besides, the series format, with 7 events, makes it still manageable from a practical point of view, in terms of travelling and time away from home and work. On top, it is not necessarily more expensive than doing GT racing in Brazil, where running a GT car, generally imported from Europe, is not cheap. What is really different is the quality of organization and of the tracks: in Brazil no series and not more than a couple of circuits would stand the comparison. The level of competition here is very high, and the fact we do well proves that our school is good, but certainly, driving style in Europe is less aggressive, which, by the way, also has an impact on budgets!”