Category Archives: Blancpain GT Series

Audi Sport Team Land / Haase Snatch Pole For Laguna Seca 8 Hours (27.10.18)

Photo: Land-motorsport.de

Christoper Haase, at the wheel of the #29 Audi Sport Team Land Audi R8 LMS, took pole position for the Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours, the final round of the 23018 Intercontinental GT Challenge with a 1:23.660 in the final seconds of the 15-minute ‘Super Pole’ session.

Lining up alongside Haase on the front row of the grid will be the #43 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Mercedes-AMG GT3 in which Raffaele Marciello put in a 1:23.728 on his final lap.

Completing the top three was the #19 Audi Sport team WRT Audi with Dries Vanthoor lapping the 3.602 kms circuit in 1:23.763.

Taking pole position in the GT3 Pro-Am class was Luca Stolz in the #75 Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes with a 1:23.841 set on his sixth and final lap.

There was drama for Marciello on his second lap when, pushing hard into Turn 6, the Italian driver went wide into the gravel. Marciello returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was soon on the pace, setting the fastest lap of the session to that point on his fourth lap with a 1:23.832.

Team owner Wolfgang Land was delighted to have taken the pole position for the final round of the season.

“We knew when the tyres would come in and when we would get the best performance from the tyres and it worked perfectly,” said Wolfgang Land. “Christopher Haase did an amazing lap and it was a great job from everybody.”

“We are now already in race mode,” continued Land. “But a good qualifying is a base for the race. When you can start the race from the lead and you have no car in front of you then you can push from the beginning.”

The lights go out for the start of the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours at 09:15 local time on Sunday October 28.

Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing On Provisional Pole At Laguna Seca (27.10.18)

Photo: intercontinentalgtchallenge.com

Maxi Goetz, Lewis Williamson and Raffaele Marciello combined to put the #43 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 on provisional pole for Sunday October 28’s Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours, the finla round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge, finishing the three 15-minute qualifying sessions an average .125 seconds ahead of the #175 Mercedes-AMG Team Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes, piloted by Maxi Buhk, Tristan Vautier and Maro Engel.

Third quickest over the three sessions was the sister Strakka Racing entry, the #44 car driven by Jack Hawksworth, Christian Vietoris and Adrien Tambay.

It was a solid afternoon’s work for the Silverstone, UK-based team after Strakka Racing also headed the time-sheets in the GT3 Pro-Am category, the #42 Mercedes of Felipe Fraga, Davide Fumanelli and team owner Nick Leventis lapping the 3.603 kms Californian circuit .026 seconds quicker than the #75 Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes piloted by Kenny Habul, Mikael Grenier and Luca Stolz.

The #51 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano was quickest of the GT4 entries, the car carrying a tribute to the late Dr Don Panoz reading; “For The Fans” – Dr Panoz’s guiding thoughts when revitalising sportscar racing in the US in the late 1990s.

The top 15 cars will now enter the Super Pole session at 14:40 local time to determine the front of the grid for Sunday’s eight-hour race, the final round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge.

“I Think We’ve Hit The Sweet Spot” – President Of Aston Martin Racing David King Discusses GT3 And GT4 Development. (19.08.18)

Photo: astonmartin.com

President of Aston Martin Racing David King, speaking ahead of Round Four of the FIA World Endurance Championship, has indicated that the Gaydon-based manufacturer is pleased with the reception of the new Vantage GT3 and is looking to develop the brand in the key North American market.

“We’re deep into the customer testing now and have lots of orders,” said David King. “GT3 is a very competitive market place. There are lots of good offerings from all the manufacturers but I think there’s something special about racing an Aston. It’s a competitive car and good value for money. The outgoing car, the V12, is a fan favourite but I think the new car will be very exciting. The art of developing a GT3 car is to make it useable for the gentleman driver and still suit the professional driver as well. I think we’ve hit that sweet spot.”

The recent announcements by the SRO Motorsports Group concerning the development of the World Challenge in North America has offered Aston Martin an additional platform to present its products and David King is looking to take full advantage of the opportunity, as well as explore other US-based series .

“We aren’t fully exploiting the opportunities in North America yet and it’s no secret to say we are actively seeking a partner in North America to work alongside the Prodrive AMR team to help with the distribution and support of customer cars,” said David King. “Ideally as well (to offer support) to get an IMSA programme running for us. I’m talking about an aspiration rather than a plan at the moment but, yes, we’d like to race in GTLM in IMSA. It’s a massive market and a fantastic series and we’re not there yet.”

In addition to its presence in the British GT Championship and the Blancpain GT Series, Aston Martin would like to increase its presence in other European championships but not before the new GT3 car has been proven with customer teams in its existing markets.

“It’s more important in the first year that we don’t flood the market with cars when we’re not quite ready,” said King. “We want to place GT3 cars with a few key customer teams so they can go out and demonstrate how good the car is for us and then we can sell more in the second and third year. It’s about quality rather than quantity in GT3 in the first year. We need to see some strong teams running in Blancpain Endurance and British GT. ADAC GT Masters in Germany is important – we haven’t been represented there at all for a few years so we’d like to get a strong partner team in Germany as well.”

The new Aston Martin GT4 was presented at Le Mans this year but is not quite as far advanced in development as its sister GT3 car.

“The new GT4 is in development at the moment based on the new V8 Vantage and we’re not quite doing customer drives yet but we’ll be doing so fairly soon,” said David King. “GT4 is a massive market for us and it’s a very good way to link our road-car customers to racing and as an intro to racing and track days as well. We were first in to GT4 back in 2007 when SRO launched it so we’ve seen it grow and flourish. We’ll continue to play a big part in that.”

“There’d Be Nothing better For Me Than To Win It!” – GT SPORT Motul Team RJN’s Bob Neville On the Build-Up To The TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa (05.07.18)

Photo: www.blancpain-gt-series.com

Oxfordshire-based GT Sport Motul Team RJN will be bringing its new-for-2018 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa. Owner and Team Principal recently spoke to www.Blancpain-GT-Series.com and, in a fascinating interview, the full contents of you can read here, outlined the massive amount of work it takes to prepare a world-class GT3 car for the rigours of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

In the middle of packed schedule of racing, Neville has his sights firmly set on victory at Spa but is under no illusions about the challenges that the next three weeks offers before the #22 and #23 entries can join the grid on Saturday July 28.

“The logistical task is virtually carried on from when the chequered flag drops the previous year,” said Neville. “This year will be particularly difficult as there’s a British GT round the preceding weekend (as part of the SRO Spa Speedweek), which we’re also doing.”

“There are arrangements to be made with SRO, such as paddock and garage space, which is really important to be able to arrive there in the right frame of mind. All of that starts really early on.”

Continue reading “There’d Be Nothing better For Me Than To Win It!” – GT SPORT Motul Team RJN’s Bob Neville On the Build-Up To The TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa (05.07.18)

Packed Grid Announced For TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa (04.07.18)

Photo: Blancpain-GT-Series.com

The blue riband event of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series, the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa gets underway on Saturday July 28 at 16:30 with a total of 67 entries representing 13 manufacturers expected to be on the grid for arguably the greatest GT3 race in the world.

With the build-up already having begun with the Test Day at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Tuesday July 3, the packed grid gets to stretch its legs for the first time on the 7.004 kms track on Thursday July 26 with Free Practice 1.

The four 15-minute qualifying sessions begin later on the Thursday of race-week at 20:50 local time with the 30-minute Super Pole session taking place on Friday July 27 at 18:30.

Qualifying positions for the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa are initially set on the average lap-times of the drivers in each of the four qualifying sessions. At the end of the four sessions, the teams with cars occupying the top twenty grid positions will each nominate a driver for the Superpole session within 30 minutes of the end of qualifying.

In reverse order of the qualifying positions, each driver will complete one out-lap, two flying laps and one in-lap with the final qualifying positions being determined by the quickest lap-times from each driver.

GTEND-2018-07A-SPA-04 Testday Pitlane-1023-DBWP3404

Photo: Blancpain-GT-Series.com

The TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa also offers the interesting variation of awarding points at the six-hour and 12-hour mark as well as at the completion of the race. 12 points are available to the leader in each class at the six- and twelve-hour mark as well as 25 points to the winner of each class at the chequered flag. As a result, there are a considerable number of points available, hence the increased interest in racing at the iconic Belgian circuit.

After back-to-back victories in the previous round at Misano World Circuit, Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies, teammates in the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS, lead the overall Drivers Standings on 103.5 points, 24 points clear of Dries Vanthoor who will be joining Riberas and Mies in the #1 for Spa.

Endurance Cup Drivers Standings could not be closer with 10 points separating the top 11 drivers. Again, Vanthoor, Riberas and Mies head the table on 37 points, just two points ahead of Christian Klien, Albert Costa and Marco Seefried, crew of the #14 Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus RC F GT3, after victory for the Lexus at Circuit Paul Ricard in the last Endurance Cup round.

Lamborghini will have the largest presence on the Spa grid. 11 examples of the Sant’Agata Bolognese-manufacturer’s work will be present. 10 Huracán GT3s are entered with GRT Grasser Racing Team campaigning three, Daiko Lazarus Racing and Barwell Motorsport two and Attempto Racing, Target Racing and Ombra Racing with one apiece. GDL Motorsport has entered a single Super Trofeo.

Audi will have ten examples of the R8 LMS on the grid. Team WRT has entered three, two under the name of Audi Sport Team WRT and one in the name of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. Attempto Racing has entered two while Audi Sport Team Sainteloc Racing, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Car Collection Motorsport, Sainteloc Racing and Aust Motorsport have entered one apiece.

There will be much interest in the pair of Aston Martin V12 Vantages, two of four in total on the grid for the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, entered by R-Motorsport, after the team showed scorching pace at Silverstone in a weekend albeit marred by an issue with data-logger.

As ever, the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa promises to be a highly competitive race at one of most challenging and iconic circuits on the Blancpain GT Series calendar. Coverage and live timing can be found at www.blancpain-gt-series.com

R-Motorsport To Contest The 2018 Blancpain GT Endurance Series (30.11.17)

R-Motorsport, the motorsport division of AF Racing which is itself the motor racing arm of Aston Martin St. Gallen in Switzerland, has announced that it will partner with Arden Motorsport to compete in the 2018 Blancpain GT Endurance Series.

The team has been testing the Aston Martin V12 GT3 with Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner, FIA World Endurance Championship driver Alex Brundle and FIA Formula 3 European Championship pilot Jake Dennis.

Co-owner and Team Principal of R-Motorsport Dr Florian Kamelger said:

“We are extremely excited to be competing in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series in 2018. We have the ambition to fight for the win of the championship and to step onto the highest step of the podium at the 24 lours of Spa in 2018.”

“The Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 is such a great race car, the team is amazingly professional and our driver line-up will be fantastic. Being able to work with Arden Motorsport has been and is a great experience for us and we think we have found the perfect match.”