The ESET GT Sprint season in the GT3 category was dominated by Filip Salaquarda with his white Audi R8 LMS GT3. Nine wins out of twelve starts speak for themselves. However, the beginning of the season wasn’t as clear-cut…
When the ISR Racing team announced their return to the Czech scene, there was no doubt about their role as favorites. Igor Salaquarda had established his team’s presence in the international formula scene before turning his focus to the world of Gran Turismo. His son, Filip, gained valuable experience as a racer in this world. In 2023, they entered the ESET Cup as seasoned matadors. However, in the opening race at Oschersleben, a certain Neil Verhagen, a factory driver for BMW Motorsport, guested for the Racing Trevor team.
Verhagen and Salaquarda engaged in a fantastic battle in the first sprint, but the twisty circuit didn’t offer many overtaking opportunities. Their duel ended with a 1-0 victory for the American. In the second sprint, Racing Trevor team owner Gregor Zsigo took the wheel of the BMW and finished fourth, so we had to wait until Hungaroring for the Czech-American rematch. There, Salaquarda was superior and won both sprints, just like at the Red Bull Ring and in Most.
The Grand Prix of Slovakia showcased a magnificent lineup of GT3 cars and strong competition. Zdeno Mikuláško stole the show with his Lamborghini Huracán GT3, winning the first sprint. In the second sprint, the symbolic laurel wreath went to Polish driver Kriystian Korzeniowski with his Ferrari 488 GT3. And Salaquarda? He finished second in the first sprint. That was it. Unfortunate technical issues during the evening endurance race forced him to retire, and he didn’t participate in the Sunday sprint. Paradoxically, he still claimed the title at Slovakia Ring. He didn’t even have to race in Brno, but of course, he showed up. And he bid farewell with nothing less than victories in both sprints.
Libor Milota with his Mercedes AMG couldn’t match the ISR Racing team. Nevertheless, he delivered the most consistent performance of the season, completing all twelve sprints and standing on the podium nine times. It’s no wonder he secured second place in the driver standings. Petr Kačírek finished third with an older generation Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3. Czech flags completely dominated this year’s season, and Salaquarda became the fourth Czech to claim the title in the ESET GT.