American based New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday has signed to drive in the FIA GT1 World Championship for the Exim Bank Team China Porsche team.
The two car team will contest the Championship in the new 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup R against the world's top manufacturers and drivers in the high profile sportscar category.
The Series is the brainchild of SRO Motorsports Group founder Stephane Ratel and along with Formula One, the Rally World Championship and the World Touring Car Championship is recognised as an official World Championship by motorsport's world governing body - the FIA.
The Championship format features two car teams from some of the world's top high performance manufacturers including Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, Aston Martin, Ford, Mercedes and Porsche. Teams will travel around the globe to some of the world's best circuits located within important emerging markets, an aspect of the Series which caught Halliday's eye while negotiating his 2012 racing program:
"I have known Stephane for some time and have been following the progress of this series very closely so now that we have all important factors in place, I know this is where I want to be racing.
"To compete in an International FIA World Championship that also features several of the high profile car manufacturers, professional drivers and teams indicates this is a series which will become huge in years to come. To get this opportunity with a Porsche team and remain with a manufacturer I know well is extremely exciting for us.
"We are going to do a lot of hard work this year and it is going to be very interesting to see how the manufacturers stack up against each other. I am sure we can put my experience to good use and work hard to get ourselves up the front" explained Halliday from his Los Angeles base this morning.
FIA GT1 World Championship Principal, Stefane Ratel also enthused over a Kiwi driver joining the Series:
"We are very excited to have someone like Matt join the FIA GT1 World Championship as he has a background in the sport that has seen him in so many different cars and championships worldwide. We therefore look forward to him showing what he can do in our series for the Exim Bank Team China Porsche team."
Halliday's co-driver for the Championship will be French driver Mike Parisy. The first round is scheduled to take place over the coming Easter weekend at the Nogaro circuit in France.
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