The current year is synonymous with the transition from the French FFSA GT Championship to the new French Touring Championship for L’Espace Bienvenue. The chassis headed by André Grammatico, receiving technical support from Racetivity, makes its BMW M2 CS Racing debut at TC France with Ricardo van der Ende and Carla Debard. Benjamin Lessin came to promote two meetings (Spa-Francorchamps, Paul Ricard).
Ahead of Paul Rijkaard’s final, Riccardo van der Ende could still win the 2021 title despite a 29-point handicap to be replaced by Stephen Ballet, who also rides in BMW M2 CS Racing. André Grammatico is already preparing for 2022, which will include a return to the FFSA GT with a BMW M4 GT4 while waiting for the new model scheduled for 2023.
What is your assessment for 2021?
“The season has been positive for the racing debut of the BMW M2 CS. We had some big squabbles for the debut of TC France. I am satisfied with the development of BMW M2 CS Racing in the championship (L’Espace Bienvenue is the distributor for M2 CS Racing for France, editor’s note). They have given the series some sparkle by delivering amazing races. We are now looking to the future even if the season is not over.”
Welcome Zone will be back next season?
“We wanted more driving time so we could get two people riding because the current timing is too short for that (30 minute race, editor’s note). Having more driving allows us to split the budget in two. I think the new formula will suggest that the SRO goes in the right direction. The changes will make the series grow. We are still active in servicing TC France. The BMW M2 CS Racing of Carla (Debard) has already been confirmed for 2022. The car has proven to be reliability and toughness.”
So no Ricardo van der Ende at L’Espace Bienvenue in 2022?
“Ricciardo will be fine with us, but in the French FFSA GT, just like Benjamin (Lessin). We’re leaving with a BMW M4 GT4 to prepare for the arrival of the new M4 GT4. I’m a loyal and honest person who doesn’t understand why we’re changing a crew that works so well.”
Espace Bienvenue is the oldest team to drive a GT4. Since 2007, the category has evolved a lot…
“The GT4 class almost disappeared. The cars did not have the appearance of a competitor when the class was launched. Then the idea of linking a production car with competition arose. BOP allows an end to the arms race. When we see the success of the current formula, it is because everything that has been done has gone in the right direction.”
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