6 August 2008

Donkervoort D8 GT

Donkervoort D8 GT from factory to victory in just one weekend

6 August 2008 - After the introduction of the Donkervoort D8 GT in 2007, Donkervoort Automobielen was invited by the FIA to participate in the new GT4 Sports Light Series. After 1.5 years, Donkervoort proudly announced the first race kilometers of the D8 GT's, covered in the FIA GT4 Sports Light Race Series during the 24H of Spa Francorchamps. And not without success: Donkervoort managed to obtain the 1st and 3rd place in these first racing kilometers ever!

The development and final production of the D8 GT took a little longer than expected, due to Joop Donkervoort's need for perfection for all aspects of the car. The developments' major focus was on the new chassis/body, which is completely made out of carbon fiber. When this was completed – resulting in a very light and stiff chassis/body, which makes this 650 kg's weighing GT the worlds' lightest ever built – the development shifted to the drive train. For this reason, the first drivable D8 GT's were finished only a few days before their debut in Spa Francorchamps in the FIA GT4 Sport Light Series. Nevertheless, Donkervoort went into this weekend with mixed feelings, for it was unclear what could be expected of a brand-new concept that had never been tested.


The new Sports Light Series was introduced by the FIA for road-legal sports cars with a minimum weight of 750 kilograms (which means Donkervoort even has to add weight to be able to compete). This adapts to the current trend in the automotive industry to reduce further CO2 emissions through lowering the weight of cars.

The new GT4 Sports Light series is integrated into the existing FIA GT4 series – lap times between the 'heavy' and the 'light' class are very close to each other. The D8 GT competes with brands like KTM (X-Bow) and Lotus (2-Eleven) in the Sports Light Series, as well as with Aston Martin (V8 Vantage), Audi (TT), BMW (Z4), Corvette (Z06-R GT4), Ford (Mustang), Maserati (Trofeo Light), Nissan (350Z) and Porsche (Cayman) in the GT4 championship.


This weekend, Donkervoort Racing participated with its own factory team. The two D8 GT's that were entered this weekend, were driven by the French driver Stéphane Wintenberger and the Dutch Denis Donkervoort. Although this season's objective is to gain racing experience in the Sports Light Series and seriously compete for the championship next season, Donkervoort managed to obtain very promising results this weekend in Spa.

In the D8 GT's second race, Denis Donkervoort was able to fight his way up to the podium (3rd place); 'After some start-up problems in the beginning, I think we have improved tremendously during this weekend. I am looking forward to the next races in Brno, where I hope we can keep up the good results and improve even more.'


The third race of the weekend, an endurance race, once again proved the trustworthiness of a Donkervoort. D8 GT driver Stéphane Wintenberger even managed to defeat all his competitors in the Sports Light Series, herewith obtaining the 1st place and an 8th place overall; 'I am very happy with the results. I was enjoying the driving very much; this weekend was a very nice and fun experience. I love the car and the race went very well. A lot of improvements have been made during the weekend and I think you can expect to see more of us in the future.'

The fact that Donkervoort returned home with a 3rd and 1st place was beyond expectations. Evidently, there are still many aspects that have to be improved and adjusted, but these results have shown that the D8 GT has a lot of potential.