Tag Archives: Blancpain GT Series

Win For HubAuto Corsa’s Lester And Foster In Race One At Ningbo. GruppeM Racing Team Takes GT4 Victory. (13.10.18)

Photo: Blancpain GT Series Asia

Nick Foster and Jono Lester, piloting the 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 took the victory in Race One of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia season finale double-header at Ningbo International Speedpark, China, finishing 2.502 seconds ahead of the #3 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Franky Cheng Congfu and, bringing the car home, Martin Rump.

Completing the overall podium positions was the #97 Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Roelof Bruins and Manual Metzger, finishing 2.300 seconds behind the #97 entry.

In the GT4 category the win went to the #666 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 with the #81 BMW Team Studie BMW M4 GT4, driven by Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita in second.

Nico Bastian, behind the wheel of the #999 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4, led the field away from pole position. There was drama, however, as the grid turned into the first corner with Bastian being hit form behind, forcing the #999 entry intro the gravel and retirement. Further incidents during the opening two corners saw the retirements of the #23 KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 driven by Edoardo Liberati, the #37 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS of Anthony Liu and the #911 Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R of Sandy Stuvik.

The Safety Car was deployed to allow safe recovery of the stricken vehicles, resulting in the race being neutralised for over 15 minutes.

Nico Bastian, out at Turn One, was not impressed with driving standards at the race start.

“I was braking as normal at the first corner because you have to pay attention because you don’t win races in the first corner and then I got a big hit so there has to one guy who totally misjudged his braking point and shot me off,” said Bastian. “It’s a real disaster for the team and for Patric who is fighting for the championship. I don’t really understand why people drive like this and they go all-in at the first corner.”

Dennis Lind, in the #19 FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracán GT3 had the lead at the restart, followed by Jono Lester in the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari and Frank Cheng Congfu in the #3 Absolute Racing Audi.

Lind starting to a pull a gap to Lester, fully aware of the 15-second success penalty that the #27 car would have to serve at the pit stop. As the pit window opened Lind elected to stay out to see if the gap could be widened further.

After the driver changes had cycled through, it was the #27 HubAuto Corsa entry, now with Nick Foster at the wheel, who held the lead over Martin Rump in the #3 Absolute Racing entry.

However, the one-hour race saw further disruption when the #11 TTR Team SARD Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, piloted by Brian Lee, stopped at T17 and had to recovered, requiring a second Safety Car deployment.

As the race drew to a close, Raffaele Marciello, 2018 Blancpain GT Series Overall, Endurance and Sprint Cup Drivers Champion went on a charge, putting in the fastest race alp with 1:242.193 and moving the #888 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes up to fifth. As the race finished, however, it was announced that the #888 car was under investigation for an unsafe release so the result is provisional.

HubAuto Corsa’s Nick Foster and Jono Lester were delighted with the victory.

“This guy (Jono Lester) is a wizard!” said Nick Foster. “He starts P7 and he comes out P2. The team has worked super-hard between Shanghai and now. No one’s been here before so come out here and have this kind of place is unreal. They just handed me a rocket ship and I could just do what I do so I’m just super–stoked.

“We’ve got to stop making it so hard for ourselves,” said Jono Lester. “But it seems to be working and we’ve found the right formula. We had a good start and stuffed it right in there and were amongst it. We were quite lucky to avoid all that (the incidents). After we came out in second place, it was management – we weren’t going to change tyres so it was just about making sure that Nick could get to the end. The car was a rocket. It was quicker than in qualifying – at least on my part. We’ll carry a penalty in to tomorrow but anything could happen. With a third place starting position it means we’re in a much better starting position than in Shanghai.”

The lights go out for Race Two, Round 12 and the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia, at 10:55 local time on Sunday October 14.

All To Play For As Blancpain GT Series Asia Reaches Season Finale At Ningbo (10.10.18)

The 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia reaches its season finale at Ningbo International Speedpark, Ningbo, China on October 13 – 14, concluding the second year of SRO-organised top-level GT racing in Asia.

27 entries will take to the grid for Rounds 11 and 12, 19 in the GT3 class and eight in the GT4 category, for two one-hour races around the 23 corners of the 4.105 kms circuit, which first opened in August 2017.

There are seven changes to the GT3 entry list from the previous round at Shanghai. In the #5 Bentley Team Phoenix Racing Bentley Continental GT3 Andre Couto replaces 2017 GT3 Silver champion Marchy Lee and in the #97 Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Manuel Metzger replaces Juwun Seo to partner Roelof Bruins.

Missing from the GT3 category from the previous round will be the #45 KCMG Audi R8 LMS, driven Naoto Taleda and Takuya Shirasaka, the #59 Singha Plan-B Absolute Racing Audi of Jingzu Sun and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, the #66 Anstone Racing Mercedes of Massimilliano Wiser and David Chen Weian and the sister #71 entry, previously driven by Xu Wei and Naoki Yokomizo and the #8080 JR-M Porsche 991 GT3 R of Li Chao and Chris Van der Drift.

In the GT4 class Justin McMillan will race as a solo driver in the #10 M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT4 after Dean Koutsoumidis was prevented from attending due to personal commitments while Masahiko Ida partners with Leo Chang in the Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, previously driven by Jeremy Wang. Completing the changes in the GT4 entry list is the inclusion of Naomi Zhang to partner with Diana Rosario to form the first all-female driver line-up in Blancpain GT Series Asia history.

With 50 points on offer to the winner over the weekend’s two races, the overall GT3 drivers title is wide open with, potentially, ten drivers with a mathematical possibility of lifting the title. With two wins, at Suzuka and Shanghai and two second places, at Sepang and Chang, the #19 FFF Racing team by ACM pairing of Dennis Lind and Martin Kodric head the standings on 135 points with the GruppeM Racing Team’s Patric Niederhauser 12 points behind on 123 points. Nick Foster, driver of the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 is the only other driver on triple points in the standings, currently lying fourth with 115 points.

2017-Teams Champion GruppeM Racing Team head the Teams standings in the premier class on 233 points, seven points ahead of FFF Racing Team By ACM.

The overall GT4 drivers standings are headed by Reinhold Renger, driver of the GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4, the German driver ahead of the BMW Team Studie driver pairing of Takayuki Kinashita and Sunako Jukuchou by 11 points with Renger currently on 172 points. Ringo Chong, driver of the #72 Team iRace.Win Mercedes-AMG GT4 sits in third place in the drivers standings on 147 points.

Track action for the Blancpain GT Series Asia grid gets underway at 12:40 local time (05:40 UK time) on Friday October 12 with the first practice session. The first of the two 15-minute qualifying sessions begins at 11:35 (04:35 UK time) on Saturday October 13.

The lights go out for the first of the weekend’s one-hour races at 15:20 local time (08:20 UK time) on October 13 with the final round of the season getting underway on Sunday October 14 at 10:55 local time (03:55 UK time).

“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.”