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We are only too familiar with the multi-million dollar industry that is Formula One, but away from the glitz and glamour of that particular organisation, motor sport purists enjoy an altogether less publicised calendar of events. You won’t find much in the way of celebrity drivers, pop star girlfriends or television clamour in the world of Grand Tourer, but the adrenaline-fuelled action is every bit as exhilarating as its big brother. And despite it still being in its relatively fledgling years, no other event in the sport exudes these thrills and spills quite so spectacularly as the International GT Open.
One of the greatest qualities the Open has in its armoury is that while it may not match F1 in terms of stature, it still allows spectators the chance to witness the drama in a selection of Europe’s finest racetracks. From Germany to Spain, and around our own fair shores; the only problem is choosing which to attend.
International GT Open 2014: all you need to know
International GT Open 2014: history
The International GT Open is one of the babies of the motor racing world, its inaugural event a mere eight years ago in 2006. It was founded by the Spanish GT Sport Organización as a spin off to their very own GT Championship, but has since gone on to outgrow its parent tournament in reputation and prestige. Thus far, the Italians have dominated proceedings, claiming four of the eight overall titles since its inception.
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International GT Open 2014: format
Like the original Spanish GT Championship, the International Open adheres to a formula as punishing as you are likely to find within the sport. The eight events all follow the same pattern, kicking off with free practice sessions on the Friday. Saturday firstly sees qualifiers, before the opening gruelling 70-lap race, with the same again the following day – albeit only 50 laps on this occasion. The second race of the weekend is usually split into separate Super GT and GTS fields.
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International GT Open 2014: setting
It may be a comparatively short tournament, but this trait is more than adequately compensated for by the exquisite choice of racetracks. The first event takes place at the notorious Nurburgring, widely regarded as the most challenging track in the world, between the 2 - 4 of May, before moving on to Portimao one month later. From there, fans in Jerez and Hungaroring will be kept captivated with the UK’s historic Silverstone, from the 18 - 20 of July. The famed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is next up, followed by Monza in Italy, before the final showdown in Barcelona in October. Ain’t half busy, is it?
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International GT Open 2014: competitors
The name on everyone’s lips this year will undoubtedly be Andrea Montermini, and quite rightly so given the Italian’s prominence as reigning champion. Countryman Nicky Pastorelli will be doing everything in his power to prevent a repeat performance however, as will Miguel Ramos of Portugal and Great Britain’s top hope Duncan Cameron. Incredibly, the event will also see a father and son duo lining up against each other on the grid, with Alexander Talkanitsa Jr and Sr both hoping to fly the flag for their native Belarus.
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International GT Open 2014: after the event
If you only plan on visiting one or two of the races on this year’s calendar, it would be a shame not to stick around to see what the various destinations offer away from the racetrack. Should you be there for the final flag in Barcelona, you can check out the perfect amalgamation of urban chaos and Mediterranean bliss on the beach, or perhaps a quieter affair in the Ardennes, surrounding the beautiful town of Spa, is more your cup of tea. For rustic Italian charm, Monza is a fantastic environment, not least the stunning Parco di Monza and exquisite Duomo Cathedral.
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Image 1 by mmphotography.it
Image 2 by Alessandro Prada
Image 3 by Live life, love lifeImage 4 by David Merrett
Accommodation for the International GT Open 2014
Apple House is a classic Edwardian house offering total seclusion, yet it is within easy reach of London by both rail and road. The 5-bedroom house is set in 7 acres of beautiful gardens and paddocks. Other amenities include an indoor heated pool ...
Self contained barn conversion in the grounds of a 17th century timber framed house set in large garden. Also run as a small holding. Cheddington is a small village in Buckinghamshire with a main line station to London (40 minutes to Euston). It i...
Self-contained stables conversion in the small village of North Marston in rural Buckinghamshire. The cottage has one bedroom with en suite shower room. The living / dining area has two leather sofas, (of which one sofa-bed), 65' 3D TV with surrou...
A smart, 3 double bedroom apartment located in a separate annexe of a Georgian house (sleeps 6-7). The apartment has its own separate entrance and is completely independent from the main house. Conveniently located for easy access to London, Oxfor...
This spacious second floor, two bedroom, two bathroom serviced apartment is situated only a few minutes from the station and centre of Aylesbury. It is about five minutes' walk to the station where the train will take you to London Marylebone in a...
The Coach House is a beautiful barn conversion boasting charm and character and situated in an attractive rural location. The property has retained many original features such as the traditional wooden beams that have been exposed and restored thr...
Cotels have a range of serviced apartments in Milton Keynes to suit different requirements and budgets. Apartments range in size from studio through to three-bedroom or more luxurious penthouse apartments. These apartments are ideally located abov...
Field House is a three bedroom holiday cottage, by the Grand Union Canal, in the pretty village of Marsworth, 2 miles to the market town of Tring, which offers leisure and shopping.
Tring Railway station has trains to London in forty minutes.
Corner Cottage is a self-contained studio in the pretty village of Hardwick, 4 miles from the market town of Aylesbury, which offers good facilities for leisure and shopping. There is also a local shop with sub post office and petrol station in Wh...
A Grade II Listed character cottage located in the picturesque hamlet of Flaunden on the Bucks/Herts border in the Chilterns, an area of outstanding natural beauty, with numerous wonderful walks and cycling from the doorstep. Within a short walk o...