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Thread: Blancpain GT Series 2017

  1. #1
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    Blancpain GT Series 2017

    Can someone please give me/us a short explanation of the series?
    Watching now. Ferrari pretty bad

    CALENDAR*



    *courtesy of Rob (the British one )
    Last edited by Tifoso; 24th April 2017 at 18:56. Reason: added Rob's calendar link

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    And why the heck are the Mercs running in Ferrari red?

    -Lou(is)
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    Encouraged by the success of the Blancpain Endurance Series, world-renowned Swiss watch manufacture Blancpain and the SRO Motorsports Group decide at the end of 2013 to extend their partnership to the Sprint series, previously promoted as the FIA GT Series, offering teams and drivers the opportunity to compete for an overall Blancpain GT Series title, linking sprint and endurance.

    The Blancpain GT Series runs over 10 events with 5 endurance cup and 5 sprint cup races.

    The objective of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, five events centred around the Total 24 Hours of Spa, is to take GT3 cars into endurance racing formats of three hours with two mandatory pit stops.

    The Blancpain GT Series is mainly reserved for GT3 cars, applying the principles of Balance of Performance and a driver categorisation system successfully developed by SRO Motorsports Group.

    The Series comprises the title of Blancpain GT Series Winner for Drivers and one title of Blancpain GT Series Winner for Teams, which will be awarded overall as well as in the Pro-Am and Am categories.

    It also includes Cups : the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Overall, Pro-Am and Am Cup for Teams and Drivers, the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Overall, Pro-Am and Am Cups for Teams and Drivers, and the Blancpain GT Series Silver Cup for Drivers.


    Some history

    2011-2012:
    Since the new FIA GT1 World Championship was based on a sprint format, there was a need for an international GT endurance championship.
    The Blancpain Endurance Series is launched and meets instant success with a strong level of entries for the five-race series centred around the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Blancpain Endurance Series is the result of twenty years of motorsport experience built by the SRO Motorsports Group.

    The recipe was quite simple: to bring GT3 cars to endurance racing, by setting up a convivial championship which met the requirements and expectations of teams and drivers alike. The Blancpain Endurance Series quickly becomesthe new reference point in GT racing.

    After a second successful GT1 World season in 2011 with two races in China and a spectacular demonstration run in the Beijing Olympic Park, the announcement of the FIA GT World Cup as part of the newly-launched FIA World Endurance Championship cast doubts over the Championship’s future. Despite having added Russia to the calendar and running the Championship with GT3 cars, the 2012 season was difficult enough to convince SRO to drop the World title but to preserve a sprint format in GT Racing for 2013.

    2013:
    The Blancpain Endurance Series consolidates its reputation as the benchmark for GT3 series. The series is brought into more homes than ever, with among others, Eurosport and RTL committing significant coverage to the races.

    For the international sprint series, 2013 is a transition year, during which SRO Motorsports Group proves that there was a place for such a series alongside the Blancpain Endurance Series. The FIA GT Series, run under the aegis of the RACB with an FIA title, continues in the footsteps of the FIA GT1 World and GT3 European Championships. With an average of 22 cars per event over the season and culminating in a successful and popular season finale in Baku the FIA GT Series meets all expectations.

    2014:
    By bringing the Blancpain Sprint Series and Blancpain Endurance Series under a common banner, the growth of GT racing in Europe continues. Both promotion and TV coverage enjoy increasing figures.

    2015:
    Encouraged by the success of the inaugural season, the development of the Blancpain GT Series continues, with new venues like Misano and Moscow. The introduction of prize money in the Blancpain Endurance Series sees a growing number of teams participating in both Endurance and Sprint Series.

    2016:
    After successfully developing their partnership through the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series, world-renowned Swiss watch manufacture Blancpain and the SRO Motorsports Group have decided that 2016 will see both successful Series further integrated into the Blancpain GT Series, putting the emphasis on the prestigious overall drivers' and manufacturers' titles.

    With both the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup now sharing the same driver categories and points system, the ten round - five sprint events and five endurace events - Blancpain GT Series season will crown the most complete of GT drivers.

    A Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup event consists of two races of one hour per event, while the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup races range from three-hour events through a 1000 km race to the season highlight of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the world’s leading 24-hour race reserved for GT3 cars.
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  4. #4
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    Its a really good little series, has come along nicely over the few years. I have a friend Chris Ullrich who races in the smaller Blancpain GT sports club series, he got 458, but looking at getting 488 GT3 later this year.
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    RIGON. MONZA, NOT MANY CORNERS BUT ALL IMPORTANT”

    Monza, 22 April 2017 – Davide Rigon is one of the official Ferrari drivers at Monza this weekend for the 3 Hours race that opens the Blancpain Endurance Cup season. The Italian driver, back on track in Brianza just a few weeks from the prologue of the World Endurance Championship, will race at the wheel of the 488 GT3 of SMP Racing.

    Fast circuit. Rigon knows Monza: “It is a high speed track unforgiving of any mistakes. If you lose time there is no way back,” said Davide in the video presenting the Autodromo Nazionale. It is not a physical track, but one where courage plays a role: “There are not many corners but all important. You set off at high speed on the main straight before coming to the first variant. Then you need to try to pick up speed again before braking at the Roggia variant. Exiting it you head towards the Lesmo corners. The first is faster, while the second is slower,” said Rigon.

    Two key corners. At this point there are only two corners before the end of the lap. “You need to hit maximum speed from the second Lesmo corner so as to take advantage of the whole downhill part leading to the Ascari variant. There it is important to time your braking properly and then pull out as fast as possible. There is only the parabolic corner to go before the end of the lap; a demanding section, in which it is easy to make mistakes,” said Davide.

    Fans. Davide is proud to race in Italy: “I am really pleased about that and hope there’ll be many fans in the stands. I am asking everyone to support me because I think the conditions are right to do well in this championship.”
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  6. #6
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    Rob, fratello, could you/should you post a calendar?
    If you think that that would be appropriate, please feel free to edit my original post.

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    A WIN AND TWO PODIUM FINISHES FOR FERRARI AT MONZA

    Monza, 23 April 2017 – Ferrari and its customer teams collected a win and two podium finishes in the first race of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, held in Monza. The 488 GT3 was once again competitive and with a bit more luck would have won.

    Pro class. Ferrari crews were caught up in a chaotic start in the Pro class. Miguel Molina, in car no. 72 of SMP Racing, got off to a great start, which saw him in the lead at the entrance to the first chicane. Immediately behind him was the Bentley no. 7 of Guy Smith that in pulling ahead of the no. 50 488 GT3 of AF Corse team touched the Lamborghini no. 19 of Ezequiel Perez-Companc, sowing panic among the group and putting ten other cars out of the race, including the Ferraris of Lorenzo Bontempelli (AF Corse) and Mirko Zanuttini (Kessel Racing), with Marco Cioci, in the 488 GT3 of Kaspersky Motorsport, pulling off a miraculous manoeuvre to emerge unscathed. Molina drove to the first pit stop when he handed the wheel to Victor Shaytar. At that stage the Lamborghini of Grasser Racing with Engelhart-Bortolotti-Caldarelli took the lead, which it held to the end. Behind the 63 car the Ferrari of SMP Racing looked set to secure a podium before running into a drive-through penalty for overtaking under the yellow flag. The standard bearers of AF Corse, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Michele Rugolo and Pasin Lathouras thus inherited second, while the 488 GT3 of Kaspersky Motorsport climbed back up to fourth, finishing ahead of the car of Rigon-Shaytar-Molina.

    Am Cup. The Am Cup saw another triumph for a woman Ferrari driver. After Christina Nielsen won the title and three rounds of the IMSA series in 2016, now it was the turn of 25 year-old British driver Abigail Eaton, a competitor in last season’s British GT4 Championship at the wheel of a Maserati. At Monza she triumphed along with Italy’s Davide Rizzo and Lebanon’s Alex Demirdjian in the 488 GT3 of AF Corse. The crew of Ferrari no. 961 also came first in their class after starting from last position due to having to replace the gearbox, an operation that the AF Corse mechanics performed in a record time of 45 minutes. The same class witnessed an unlucky race for the 488 GT3 of Rinaldi Racing with Pierre Ehret and Rino Mastronardi, which had dominated for the first two hours.

    Pro-Am Cup. Ferrari also won a podium in the Pro-Am Cup where after a great recovery victory slipped from the grasp of reigning champion Michael Broniszewski with just two laps to go. The Kessel Racing team crew had been slowed by the accident at the start but Matteo Cressoni’s extraordinary stint put them in first position. However, in the end Andrea Rizzoli was powerless in the face of a comeback from the Aston Martin of Oman Racing Team with TF Sport of Jonny Adam who also clocked the race’s fastest lap. The Blancpain GT championship returns on 6 and 7 May at Brands Hatch for the Sprint Cup. The Endurance Cup returns to Silverstone on 13 and 14 May.
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  9. #9
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    that was an epic race. Crazy start, silly move by the Smith in the Bentley. But to watch my good friends Ale and James put in monster consistent laps just brilliant.



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    Another podium weekend for the 488s but beaten by a Lambo isn't ideal!! I'd be interested to know how many cars AF Corse are running in the various championships, they seem to be very well represented and the competition is getting tougher all the time. Keep up the good work, and top step soon, hopefully.

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    Such beautiful cars!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post

    Thanks mate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tifoso View Post
    Thanks mate!
    nessun problema fratelllo
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    Another podium weekend for the 488s but beaten by a Lambo isn't ideal!! I'd be interested to know how many cars AF Corse are running in the various championships, they seem to be very well represented and the competition is getting tougher all the time. Keep up the good work, and top step soon, hopefully.
    #72 was looking at a possible win, but then got the penalty. Felt bad for Davide, that was a second penalty in one week. At Silverstone, he and Sam got silly penalty after LMP2 car dived up the nside of #71 as it turned into T1. Stewards saw it as their fault. As for being beaten by a Lambo? no big problem, no big worry. 488 GT3 is an awesome car. Great drivers, great teams and some of the mechanics that look after the cars in the WEC are in Blancpian aswell. I know Sebastian, is with Kaspersky Team.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    #72 was looking at a possible win, but then got the penalty. Felt bad for Davide, that was a second penalty in one week. At Silverstone, he and Sam got silly penalty after LMP2 car dived up the nside of #71 as it turned into T1. Stewards saw it as their fault. As for being beaten by a Lambo? no big problem, no big worry. 488 GT3 is an awesome car. Great drivers, great teams and some of the mechanics that look after the cars in the WEC are in Blancpian aswell. I know Sebastian, is with Kaspersky Team.
    Thanks Rob, makes me feel better knowing that you have faith in the 488s and the guys doing the hard bit in the pits and on track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    Thanks Rob, makes me feel better knowing that you have faith in the 488s and the guys doing the hard bit in the pits and on track.


    I have been invited to Slverstone round, but may not be able to go as im on a stag-do on the Saturday.
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    Pirelli Motorsport @pirellisport · 59m59 minutes ago


    And the #BlancpainGT Brands Hatch round goes to...Grasser Racing w/ @M_Bortolotti and @EngelhartChris.

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    Can the Brits stop Lamborghini?

    9 May 2017 Can the Brits stop Lamborghini?
    After winning the TM Performance 3 Hours of Monza and the Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch, Lamborghini squad Grasser Racing Team travels to Silverstone as the leader in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series team standings. Their drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart, victorious in both events, enjoy the same favourable position in the driver standings. Will the second endurance race of the season, on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, see the next episode in the Lamborghini success story? Or will the competition manage to counter the Racing Bulls?

    The Blancpain GT Series teams and drivers always appreciate a visit to Silverstone, the Home of British Motor Racing. The track has been the setting for some of the best races in the history of the series and the British fans – real connoisseurs of sports car racing – always appreciate the presence of some of the best GT teams and drivers in the world.

    With 55 teams at the start of the second endurance race of the season, this should also be the case this year. Thanks to their recent performances in Monza and Brands Hatch Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart, sharing the #63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini with Andrea Caldarelli, travel to Silverstone with a five-point lead over HTP Motorsport-duo Franck Perera and Maxi Buhk.

    However, it is far from certain that those cars will also be fighting for the win in Silverstone as well. Monza showed that the difference between the cars in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is extremely small. At least a dozen GT3’s could be among the frontrunners, but for some teams, a disappointing start of the season may put some extra pressure in their search for a good result.

    Among those are two squads that will certainly be among the British crowd’s favourites: Bentley Team M-Sport and Strakka Racing. The latter, having scored only 19 points for the team standings in the opening three rounds of 2017, would love to repeat the win McLaren scored two years ago. With reigning endurance champions Côme Ledogar and Rob Bell among their ranks, this is certainly a possibility.

    Bentley Team M-Sport has a better position in the team standings – third with 33 points – but after a disappointing weekend in Brands Hatch, the Bentley Boys are aiming to finish the second part of the British double-header on a positive note.

    Another British brand to receive ever increasing support is Jaguar, even though the Monza round left Emil Frey Jaguar Racing wanting for more. With former F1-driver Christian Klien and former Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion Stéphane Ortelli in their ranks, the Swiss squad could be a contender.

    Silverstone is not only the home race for the British manufacturers. British drivers and teams competing with non-British machinery are aiming for a splendid performance as well. With Motul Team RJN representing the Nissan colours, and Barwell Motorsport entering two of the competitive Lamborghini Huracan, chances to see a Union Jack flying during the podium ceremonies increase significantly.

    In Monza the fight for Pro-Am Cup honours also produced some close racing, resulting in a win for the #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin. Since the Aston Martin squad does not compete in the rounds of the Sprint Cup it is only in fourth in the overall team standings, but count on Ahmed Al Harthy and double British GT champion Jonny Adam to try and repeat their Monza performance in front of the brand’s home fans.

    They will have strong opposition from the Ferrari teams Rinaldi Racing (leading the team standings after two wins in the Sprint Cup) and Kessel Racing (currently second), but with two Mercedes-AMG competing in the Pro-Am Cup, French squad AKKA-ASP (third) should be among the contenders as well.

    Finally, Silverstone also sees six cars competing in the Am Cup. Among these will be the #188 Garage 59 McLaren of Alexander West, former FIA GT-driver and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin and BBC Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. After making his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup debut last year at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT3, 42-year-old Harris will be aiming to repeat his choice performance in last year’s Nürburgring round, when he finished on the Am Cup podium. For the McLaren-trio the Silverstone round will also serve as a preparation for the blue-riband event of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.

    Silverstone not only hosts the fourth round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series, but is also the setting for some exciting support races. As in Monza, the young wolves of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and the drivers of the world’s fastest single-make competition, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, will join the paddock. Silverstone also sees the second round of the Blancpain GT Sports Club. The series reserved for Gentlemen Drivers generates more and more interest and will certainly be an essential part of the show next weekend.

    Track action for the Blancpain GT Series starts on Friday, with the Bronze Test. On Saturday both the Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions are held, with qualifying (9.45 local time) and the three hour race (14.55) on Sunday.

    Chris Harris: ”The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is fast proving itself to be the most competitive GT series in the world, with ever-increasing grids and the world’s best professional drivers. The calibre of GT3 machinery on the grids is also great, with them all so closely matched in terms of performance – it is a real spectacle for the fans, and really rewarding to be involved with as a driver. The McLaren was the car of the field in 2016, and it is great to join the reigning champions Garage 59 for these two races alongside Chris and Alex. I am particularly excited about returning to Spa – it is a special place for any car fan, and to have the opportunity to race in the 24-hour race again, this time in a McLaren, should be a pretty special experience.”
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  21. #21
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    Was planning going this weekend, but due to not realising the dates. I got my future brother inlaws stag-do on the Saturday.
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    SIX OFFICIAL FERRARI DRIVERS ON TRACK AT SILVERSTONE.

    Blancpain GT Series - Six official Ferrari drivers on track at Silverstone.

    Silverstone, 12 May 2017 – This weekend Silverstone hosts the second event of the Blancpain Endurance Cup, which counts as the fourth round of the Blancpain GT Series. The GT Series includes the results of the Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup, whose latest appointment was at Brands Hatch last weekend. Nine Ferraris and six official Prancing Horse drivers will be competing on the British track.

    Overall Class. Three 488 GT3s will race in the main class. Spirit Of Race no. 50 will be crewed by Michele Rugolo, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Pasin Lathouras. The three finished second in the first race at Monza, as did Pier Guidi at the 6-Hour Spa-Francorchamps in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) last week. Expectations are also high for the 488 GT3 of Kaspersky Motorsport, which picked up a fourth place at Monza after a thrilling start in which Marco Cioci had to slalom between the debris of the Lamborghini and the other cars caught up in an accident on the main straight. The third Ferrari in the main class is no. 72 of SMP Racing with Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Victor Shaytar. The trio would have easily picked up second place at Monza had it not been for a drive-through penalty in the final stages. They ended up in fifth so Molina is looking to come back after an imperfect WEC race while Rigon is really flying after his triumph in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

    Pro-Am Cup. In the Pro-Am Cup class, all eyes are focussed on the car of Kessel Racing featuring Michael Broniszewski, Andrea Rizzoli and Matteo Cressoni. The three were second at Monza and have the potential to win at Silverstone. Niek Hommerson and Louis Machiels, third in Monza, will drive for Spirit Of Race. They will be without Andrea Bertolini, who is in Brianza for the European Le Mans Series race, but will be bolstered by the experience of Rory Butcher. However, the Ferrari drivers of Rinaldi Racing cannot be left out of the reckoning: Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz did the double at Brands Hatch in the Sprint Cup and, along with Rinat Salikhov, would like to extend this winning streak to Silverstone. The last Ferrari in the Pro-Am Cup is that of AF Corse with Olivier Beretta, Lorenzo Bontempelli and Motoaki Ishikawa. At Monza the trio were caught up in an accident at the start that stopped them from even getting going.

    Am Cup. Two Ferraris are registered for the Am Cup. There will be no Abigail Eaton, Alex Demidjian and Davide Rizzo, winners at Monza. However, the Prancing Horse can count on the excellence of Pierre Ehret and Rino Mastronardi at the wheel of the 488 GT3 of Rinaldi Racing and on the trio of Jacques Duyver, Marco Zanuttini and David Perel in the 488 GT3 of Kessel Racing. After the Bronze Test on Friday, the track action will go live on Saturday with the prequalifying session at 3:55 pm (4:55 pm CET). On Sunday qualifying is at 9:45 am GMT (10:45 am CET) while the race will start at 3:55 pm (4:55 pm CET) and will last for three hours.
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    Ferrari on top, 24 cars in one second

    At the end of the pre-qualifying session for the Silverstone round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series, 24 cars were separated by less than one second. James Calado set the fastest time of the day, at the wheel of the #55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari.

    Better weather conditions for the hour-long pre-qualifying session, this afternoon at the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. All 55 cars were quickly out of the starting blocks, to complete their final preparations for tomorrow’s qualifying session and three-hour race.

    The usual suspects topped the timing sheets early on. For a while the time set by Dani Juncadella in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG (2’00.482) was good enough for top spot, but first Philipp Eng (#99 ROWE Racing BMW) improved on that time and in the dying minutes of the session James Calado (#55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari) went five thousandths of a second better when clocking a 2’00.322.

    In the Pro-Am Cup the #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi and the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG swapped places all session long, but in the end it was Mercedes-driver Jules Gounon who set the fastest time in class, and even got into the top-5 overall. The #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari just made it into the top-10 overall as well. In the Am Cup David Perel was quick to set a 2’01.779 in the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari, just edging in front of the #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari of Rino Mastronardi.

    Sunday sees the qualifying session at 9.45 UK time, with the three hour endurance race starting at 14.55. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup both have their second races of the weekend before that. All sessions will be streamed live on our website.
    Last edited by Rob; 13th May 2017 at 18:08.
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    good buddy Ale focussed.


    another good friend Michele Rugolo, focussed
    Last edited by Rob; 14th May 2017 at 20:41.
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    FERRARI DOUBLE AT SILVERSTONE IN AM CUP
    ferrari-gt
    Silverstone, 14 May 2017 – Ferrari left Silverstone and the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup, with a double win in the Am Cup, and some solid results although no podium in the main class.

    The race. Two out of the three Ferraris in the Pro class at the 3 Hours of Silverstone started in the first three rows. Both AF Corse’s car no. 50, crewed by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Pasin Lathouras, and Michele Rugolo, and SMP Racing’s no. 72 with Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Victor Shaytar, were among the leading positions while the 488 GT3 no. 55 of Kaspersky Motorsport was penalised with a drive-through because it was held responsible for a contact. In the final part, Davide Rigon and Michele Rugolo took the steering wheel of no. 72 and no. 50 respectively, but failed to secure a podium finish. Rigon came fourth, a handful of seconds behind the winners, Andrea Caldarelli, Christian Engenhart and Mirko Bortolotti in the GRT Team Lamborghini, while Rugolo finished sixth. Car no. 55 of Kaspersky Motorsport finished way back in 23rd.

    Am Cup. Rino Mastronardi and Pierre Ehret dominated the Am Cup race. The Rinaldi Racing pair at one point had such an advantage that they were also ahead of the leaders of the Pro-Am Cup class. Another 488 GT3, that of the team Kessel Racing, was second with Jacques Duyver, Marco Zanuttini and David Perel who enjoyed a good day after failing even to start in the chaotic race of Monza. The next round is on 23 and 24 June at the Paul Ricard in France.
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    GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Lamborghini claims nail-biting 3 Hours of Silverstone

    GRT Grasser Racing Team’s #63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 extended its 2017 Blancpain GT Series winning streak with a hard-fought victory in the 3 Hours of Silverstone, round four of this year’s campaign. Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli, and Christian Engelhart had to dig deep in order to secure their second Endurance Cup triumph of the season, pipping the #84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport car of Franck Perera, Jimmy Eriksson and Maxi Buhk for a mere 0.344s! AKKA ASP’s #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 rounded up the overall podium with Edoardo Mortara, Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello.
    The #77 Barwell Motorsport-entered Lamborghini Huracan GT3 claimed the Pro-Am honours, while Rinaldi Racing’s #488 Ferrari 488 GT3 topped the AM field in a thrilling affair at the Home of British Motor Racing.

    After an extra formation lap was needed, Bortolotti powered into the lead at Copse Corner from second place on the grid, as the Lamborghini factory driver overhauled the pole-sitting #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Felix Serralles at the green light. Bortolotti quickly opened a comfortable gap of over six seconds up front, while Serralles fell out of contention when he was judged guilty of a false start and had to serve a one-minute Stop-and-Go penalty.

    Behind, Jonny Kane’s #44 Strakka Racing McLaren 650S GT3 was then sent into the barriers at Turn 3, which triggered a lengthy Safety Car period. AKKA ASP put the neutralisation to great use with an early pit stop that promoted the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the top spot ahead of the #63 Huracan.

    Taking over racing duties from Bortolotti, Caldarelli immediately started hounding new leader Michael Meadows but despite tremendous pressure from the Grasser driver, the British ace held his ground on home turf.

    Third-placed Jimmy Eriksson took advantage of the battling duo up the road to reel them in with Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport’s #84 machine. The Swedish driver was soon all the over the back of Caldarelli and when the Italian lost momentum trying to overtake Meadows, Eriksson pounced on the inside of the Lamborghini to grab P2.

    The trio continued to run nose-to-tail all the way through to the final round of pit stops, with Bentley Team M-Sport’s Andy Soucek in the #8 Bentley Continental GT3 even making it a four-way battle as they all peeled into the pit lane with just over 60 minutes of action left on the clock.

    Excellent service work from the GRT crew enabled Christian Engelhart to leapfrog the #90 and #84 Mercedes and emerge back in the lead. The German driver still had to resist Raffaele Marciello’s charge, with Maxi Buhk and Davide Rigon’s #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 also breathing down the race leader’s neck.

    And resisted Engelhart did, although he had to manage some tricky situations through traffic. One of these close encounters with a backmarker almost cost the #63 Lamborghini the lead but it was Marciello who ultimately lost out, as the Italian ace slipped behind Buhk.

    That was not the end of the story though, with the reigning Blancpain GT Series Overall champion inching ever closer in the final minutes. With two minutes left in the race, Buhk was glued to Engelhart’s gearbox with traffic up the road and a long 5.891 kilometres to take on for a final time… or so it seems! Indeed, the #63 crew thought they had the win in the bag, but Engelhart crossed the line with three seconds to go.

    That meant an extra lap holding off the charging Buhk. Engelhart kept his cool under intense pressure to clinch Grasser’s third win in as many Blancpain GT Series weekends, following their successes at Monza and Brands Hatch.

    The Pro-Am category initially shaped up to be a titanic scrap between the pole-sitting #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG and Rinaldi Racing’s #333 Ferrari 488 GT3, with Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz jostling inside the overall top 10 early on. The German driver grabbed the class lead, only for the #333 car’s race to spin out of control when the Ferrari was handed a drive-through for speeding in the pit lane. Failure to serve the penalty resulted in a black flag for the Pro-Am points leaders, while the #77 Barwell Motorsport-entered Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Adrian Amstutz, Martin Kodric, and Patrick Kujala picked its way up the field to claim the bragging rights in the category.

    It was no walk in the park though, especially given the speed shown once again by Ahmad Al-Harthy and Jonny Adam in the #97 Aston Martin V12 GT3. The Oman Racing Team with TF Sport pairing motored under the chequered flag just over a second behind the winning Lamborghini. After Gounon’s strong opening stint, teammates Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Nico Bastian ensured a solid third-place result for the #87 AKKA ASP entry.

    The AM category crowned a two-man crew in Pierre Ehret and Rino Mastronardi on the #488 Rinaldi Racing-entered Ferrari 488 GT3. Second in class was another Ferrari 488 GT3, the #888 Kessel Racing car of David Perel, who had claimed a dominant class pole position on Sunday morning, Marco Zanuttini and Jacques Duyver. Completing the AM podium positions were Matias Henkola, David Schiwietz, and Henry Walkenhorst on the #36 Walkenhorst Motorsport-entered BMW M6 GT3.

    The 2017 Blancpain GT Series now heads to its halfway mark next month, with Zolder playing host to round five of this year’s campaign – the third Sprint event of the season – on June 3/4.

    Christian Engelhart (#63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, 1st): “Those last few laps were really difficult. I was surprised that the Mercedes could close the gap so quickly, and I realised it would be a tight finish. The backmarkers did not make it easier for me, but it was exciting. I really enjoyed that and of course we are happy with this win. I think it’s the result of some hard work during the winter. At the last test before the start of the season, we understood the new Pirelli tyre completely, and I think we are getting everything out of the package at the moment.”

    Maxi Buhk (#84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport, 2nd): “For me it was more important to not do any stupid mistakes. At this stage of the championship it is useless to take any stupid risks. But I loved the fact that I was able to attack, to have some clean and good racing. I enjoyed that very much.”

    Michael Meadows (#90 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, 3rd): “We were quite good in the first sector, so I tried to maximize that. Generally, it was good, until we hit the slow speed corners. Traffic was a nightmare today, everyone was afraid to touch another car, so you had to wait to overtake the car.”

    Patrick Kujala (#77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, 1st Pro-Am): “I had a healthy lead at the beginning of the final stint, but not far from the end I was spun round by another car. I was lucky I could continue rather quickly, but then I saw the second placed Aston in my mirrors. But there was no way he would get past me. I held on to the lead, and it’s a great win for the team, at our home track. Everybody in the team did a great job, and hopefully we can repeat this in the next race.”

    Rino Mastronardi (#488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari, 1st Am Cup): “Today I enjoyed the race very much. The car was quick, we had no problems at all. I Monza we also had a good lead, but then we had to retire. This time all went well, fortunately. Pierre did two great stints, we won the race and we are pretty happy with that.”
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

  27. #27
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    ts the Paul Ricard 1000km this weekend.
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    Davide Rigon (SMP Ferrari) quickest in first free practice

    23 June 2017 Davide Rigon (SMP Ferrari) quickest in first free practice
    With air temperatures around 32°C and track temperatures well into the 40s, the drivers of the Blancpain GT Series round at Circuit Paul Ricard had their work cut out during the first free practice session for the sixth round of the 2017 season.

    Times dropped quickly though, and after a flurry of fast lap times, it looked like Am Cup championship leader David Perel (#888 Kessel Racing Ferrari) would set the fastest time, being the first driver to break the 1’59 barrier, with a 1’58.706 lap. But half an hour into the session, Davide Rigon (#72 SMP Racing Ferrari) improved with a 1’58.442 lap around the 5,791 km Circuit Paul Ricard.

    Perel remained in second, as fastest of the Am drivers, and while Toni Vilander’s 1’59.245 in the new #37 BBT Ferrari looked like it would be the fastest of the Pro-Am drivers, it was the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Alex Fontana who ended up as first of the Pro-Am cars, in seventh overall. The Pre-Qualifying session starts at 16.25 CEST.


    Mercedes-AMG driver Franck Perera quickest in Pre-qualifying

    23 June 2017 Mercedes-AMG driver Franck Perera quickest in Pre-qualifying
    Still sweltering hot temperatures during the 90-minute pre-qualifying session for the sixth round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series, the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000 km. The session was red flagged twice, for debris and a car that was stranded on three wheels.

    In the dying minutes Franck Perera (#84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport) set the fastest time of the day, in 1’57.614, narrowly beating the 1’57.784 of the quickest of the Pro-Am drivers, endurance Pro-Am Cup leader Jonny Adam in the #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin.

    Third was the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental of Maxime Soulet, a quarter of a second behind Perera. The fastest of the Am Cup drivers was again David Perel in the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari, in 15th overall.

    Tomorrow, Saturday June 24th, sees the qualifying session start at 10.00 CEST. The six-hour race will commence at 18.00 CEST. Both are streamed live on the official website of the Blancpain GT Series.
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  29. #29
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    TEN FERRARIS ON TRACK AT PAUL RICARD
    Blancpain Endurance Cup - Ten Ferraris on track at Paul Ricard

    Le Castellet, 23 June 2017 – This weekend, the Blancpain GT Series returns with the third round of the Endurance Cup, the 1000 Km of the Paul Ricard in the South of France. A total of 10 Ferraris and eight official Prancing Horse drivers will be involved in GT competitions.

    Pro Class. In the main category, the three Prancing Horse cars will again be seeking a place on the podium after an unsuccessful race at Silverstone. Fresh from the 24 Hours of Le Mans Michele Rugolo and Alessandro Pier Guidi will be joined at the wheel of AF Corse no. 50 alongside Pasin Lathouras. The 488 GT3 of Kaspersky Motorsport will be crewed by Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Marco Cioci, all three of whom took part in Le Mans and will be trying for a problem free qualifying so they can go to attack right from the start. Last but not least, the Ferrari of SMP Racing will be crewed by Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina, and Victor Shaytar.

    Pro-Am. Five Ferraris will compete in the Pro-Am class. We should keep a particular eye on the 488 GT3 of Rinaldi Racing driven by Daniel Keilwitz, Rinat Salhikov and Alexander Mattschull. The AF Corse car will be in the hands of Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta and Lorenzo Bontempelli, while Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini will be driving for Spirit of Race. Kessel Racing will be represented by Michael Broniszewski, Andrea Rizzoli and Matteo Cressoni, while the BBT team debuts in the series with Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo and Toni Vilander, who is back from the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


    Am. Finally, there are two cars in the Am class. David Perel, Marco Zanuttini and Jacques Duyver will be behind the wheel of Kessel Racing’s 488 GTE no. 888, while Rino Mastronardi and Pierre Ehret and rookie Rory Penttinen will be on track for Rinaldi Racing. The race will start at 6 pm on Saturday.
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    RETURNING TO PAUL RICARD FOR MORE GLORY?
    June 23, 2017

    Just two weeks ago, the Kaspersky Motorsport team stood on top spot of the podium and had the sweet taste of victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard after an incredible double podium finish in days one and two of the International GT Open.


    Fast-forward and the team travel down to the south coast of France to the exotic Cote D’Azur to take on the physically demanding 6 hour endurance in Round 3 of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. It’s a short hop down to the coast for Giancarlo, James and Marco who were part of the 85th edition of the Le Mans 24 last weekend, so the adrenaline will be rushing to tackle the 1,000 km.

    The Circuit has attracted a lot of attention in recent days, which was announced that the Circuit would be now part of the exciting 21-race Formula 1 calendar for the 2018 season. Amongst its many features, it’s one of the most iconic circuits on any race calendar due to its highly colourful run-off areas and also known for its high safety standards and exceptional track facilities.

    Start your engines, fans and get ready to see Kaspersky Motorsport and 60 of the worlds best V8 powered 500 bhp cars roaring down Mistral Straight at the infamous Circuit Paul Ricard.


    An excited Marco commented:

    “For sure the moments after Le Mans, it was rest as much as possible. The whole week there is little opportunity to do so. Monday I rest, then Wednesday I had a long workout in the gym mainly using the bike. Yesterday I came to Paul Ricard and prepared myself with a little workout to be focused on this car, which is different to the Le Mans cars. I also used the GT simulator to check the data, and form the testing here in Paul Ricard. I asked Kaspersky Lab to help me with the data and now I feel ready to jump in to the car”

    Driving responsibilities during this race weekend will be shared amongst the Pro drivers of Giancarlo, James and Marco who are all sitting on 12 championship points. They’ll be hoping for better luck this time around and trying to add to their points tally for the driver and team championship.

    It’s estimated that during the 6 hour endurance race, which is nicknamed a dress rehearsal for the biggest race on the Blancpain GT calendar in Spa 24, will complete more than 170 race laps.

    A feature of the race will be the distinct sight of the teams racing into the night, with the beautiful back drop of the sun setting over the track, prompting full preparation and using the race as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Total 24 Hours of Spa.

    As expected down on the South of France, temperatures will soar to 32C for the competitive race weekend, which will indicate that on-track figures could be as high as 48C. The conditions could also affect the team’s race strategy and serve up some interesting ideas for the start of the race. We could see the Kaspersky Motorsport Team start off with short stints (max. time of 65mins) then as the track cools into the night, longer stints for the drivers until the chequered flag.


    Another key feature will be the timings of the pit-stops. With the grid showcasing over 60 GT cars, the pitlane could be busier than usual when the pit window opens, so making the pit stops and coming out in clear traffic would pose the advantage. It’s a great period for the team to work on their strategies as the Blancpain GT Series builds up towards the exciting 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July.

    Stay tuned and join us for the exciting round 3 of the Endurance Cup and the half way-point in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series with the green light lighting up from June 23 – 24. #KM17
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

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