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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 ...
CHARMING DETACHED PROPERTY LOCATED IN A DELIGHTFUL VILLAGE LOCATION This detached house was originally built in 1650 and over time has sympathetically extended retaining much charm and character fabulous countryside and garden views can be enjoyed...
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...
3 bedroom apartment in the architecturally significant Nashdom Abbey. Set within splendid, communal grounds close to Burnham Beeches and Cliveden House.
In 1898, the Russian Prince Alexis Dolgorouki married Frances Wilson, heiress of Fleetwood an...
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...
Lancaster Cottage is a perfect getaway in an attractive countryside atmosphere! Lancaster Cottage and its garden premises are strictly smoke-free and pet-free facilities. Smoking is strictly prohibited in the Cottage and garden premises. Lancaster...
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...
Sleep in a cosy beamed bedroom with period furniture. Lounge in front of the inglenook fire. Enjoy beautifully cooked food from organic farms. Relax in the pretty cottage garden, and walk directly into rolling English countryside.
Just So Cotta...
Alexander Street is a quiet street in Notting hill, conveniently located close to Westbourne Grove with its great choice of boutiques, restaurants and cafés. A few minutes further will bring you to Portobello Road with its antique shops and tempti...
Luxury Self Contained Accommodation Old Amersham Buckinghamshire, sleeps up to 7.
Delightful peaceful 16th century converted barn in the heart of Old Amersham hidden away to the rear of the Crown Hotel and within 100 yards of the centre of the Ol...