Vita4One Racing has set its sights on a North American program at the beginning of next year, as the Michael Bartels-led squad is already in an advanced state of realizing its ambition.
Following an absence of over a year, the former BMW factory team is making its return to competition this weekend in the Blancpain Sprint Series at Zolder.
“Last year was not our best season and we also had other activities to do,” Bartels told Sportscar365 in the Zolder paddock. “When in the beginning of the year we felt that the right package was not coming together, we decided to focus on those other activities.
“We kept testing with the BMW and we returned a to our business with Maserati, building MC12 cars.
“Of course it’s not easy to just do a race out of nowhere at this competitive level, but for us it’s also something that we just need to come back in action, as I think we have quite a strong winter program in America in front of us.”
Vita4One already had the intention to come to the States at the beginning of the year, but eventually had to abort the operation.
This time Bartels, the 2010 FIA GT1 World Champion, is optimistic his ambitions will become reality, with this weekend’s Zolder outing being a first step in the program.
“The containers are already gone. We’re flying the BMWs afterwards,” he said. “It’s not 100 percent confirmed yet, but we’re planning to enter Daytona and Sebring and then a couple of races in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“We had an entry for St. Petersburg and also for Bathurst this year, but in the end the packages didn’t came together.
Besides the BMW Z4 GT3, the German team has also shipped a couple of its classic cars to the U.S.
“We are already on the track in November 12-16 for the Daytona Classic, then most probably at the beginning of December at Sebring and then back to Daytona again,” Bartels said.
“In the classic event there is also a some testing and racing with a class called ‘Global GT’ and there we can run with the latest spec cars.
“We now have activities from November until the end of March in Florida. There are a lot of modern races, classic events, and concours d’élégance on our schedule.”
With Dane Cameron and Turner Motorsport claiming the GT Daytona drivers’ and teams’ championship with the BMW Z4 GT3 in the TUDOR United SportScar Championship this season, Bartels is confident he has the right car at hand, though Daytona might still pose a problem.
“I know it will be difficult in Daytona with the straight line speed. I’m a bit scared about it actually,” he said.