Photo: Blancpain GT Series
The 2019 Blancpain GT Series gets back on track after the pre-24 Hours of Le Mans round at the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms with Round Five at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. For a series that got underway in Mid-April at Monza, this is only the second weekend for the World Challenge grid, the first being the double-header at Brands Hatch on May 4 – 5.
A capacity 28 cars will take to the grid on the circuit that lays some 15 kms west of San Marino – 13 entries in the pro class, seven in the Silver Cup category, five in the Pro-Am Cup category and three in the Am Cup class.
Changes to the entry list that competed at the previous World Challenge round at Brands Hatch include the withdrawal of the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3, previously driven by Ezequiel Perez Companc and Dries Vanthoor. Instead Charles Weerts, who, with teammate Christopher Mies, piloted the #2 entry, joins Dries Vanthoor in the team’s single Pro class entry.
There is new addition to the World Challenge Pro class at Misano – the Audi Sport Italia Audi R8. Andrea Fontana will join Pierre Kaffer in the #7 entry.
Also joining the grid will be the #15 Boutsen Ginion Am Cup entry where Claude-Yves Gosselin will be joined by Pierre Feligioni in the team’s Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo.
In the #87 Pro-Am Cup Akka ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mauro Ricci will replace Jean-Luc Beaubelique while in the #444 Am Cup HB Racing Ferrari F488 GT3, the seat previously occupied by Jens Liebhaser at Brands Hatch will be taken by Wolfgang Triller.
GetSpeed Performance is an addition to the Misano grid. Denis Remenyako and Adam Osieka will share the #13 Am Cup Mercedes-AMG GT3 with both drivers making their Blancpain GT Series debuts.
The 2019 Blancpain Series Drivers Standings are currently led by Orange 1 FFF Racing Team’s #563 pairing of Andrea Calderelli and Marco Mapelli. Team Principal Calderelli and Lamborghini factory driver and 2015 Liqui Moly Bathurst winner Mapelli have been in dominant form this season with a pair of second place finishes, including one in Race Two at Brands Hatch, and a podium at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Calderelli and Mapelli sit 6.5 points clear of BLACK FALCON’s Luca Stolz and Maro Engel who took the top step of the podium in race Two at Brands Hatch. Stolz and Engel are currently leading the World Challenge Europe drivers standings, courtesy of the win at the iconic Kent circuit. Sitting only 1.5 points behind the German duo is the SMP Racing pairing of Davide Rigon and Mikhail Aleshin. With SMP Racing competing in the Endurance Cup only, Stolz and Engel have the opportunity to pull clear in the standings at Misano.
2018 at Misano saw a double victory for the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMs driven by Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies with the Ingolstadt manufacturer locking out the first four places in Race Two. With the pace of the Lamborghinis in 2019, it is difficult to see that feat being repeated.
Track action for Round Five of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series gets underway with an official paid test session at 14:00 local time on Thursday June 27 followed by FP1 at 13:40 on Friday June 28.
Qualifying begins at 14:30 on Saturday June 29 with the Safety Car pulling off to signal the start of Race One later that evening at 19:45.
Race two begins at 14:00 on Sunday June 30.
The racing in this season’s Blancpain GT Series has been close and highly competitive with Balance of Performance producing some memorable closing laps. Round Five at Misano should be no exception. Live streaming of the two races can be found at GT World, the series organiser’s YouTube channel with live timing available at https://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live