Blancpain GT Series season starts with Sprint Cup weekend at Zolder
The Blancpain GT Series, which could be considered as the unofficial European GT Championship, is starting this weekend with two Sprint Cup races at Circuit Zolder.
Same as the year before, the season features five two-race events. Zolder will host the season-opener instead of Misano. The Italian round will be the third round in June, after the event at Brands Hatch in May. Hungaroring will host the fourth round in September and Nurburgring will be again a venue for the season-closing event on September 15-16.
Besides slight changes on the calendar, big changes occurred in sporting rules of the Sprint Cup. Previously, there were two races (Qualifying Race and Main Race) with separate point-systems. This year, the race weekend will consist of two races in which equal points would be scored.
Twenty-two crews are on the entry list for Zolder’s season-opener. Defending Sprint Cup champions Robin Frijns and Stuart Leonard will defend a title in the #17 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS. The Belgian team will have four cars in the Sprint Cup. Four more Audis are coming to Zolder, two operated by Sainteloc Racing and two operated by Attempto Racing.
One more team will filed four cars – the French Akka ASP Team. The team first announced three Mercedes-AMG GT3s and then added one more entry under the banner of the Russian SMP Racing. GRT Grasser Racing Team is entering the competition with three Lamborghini Huracans.
Among GRT’s six drivers, there are last year’s Endurance Cup champions Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Andrea Caldarelli. Bortolotti and Engelhart will compete in the Sprint Cup together in the #63 Lamborghini while Caldarelli will share the #19 Lamborghini with Ezequiel Perez Companc. The French Akka ASP will run Mercedes-AMG GT3 machines.
In addition to Audis, Huracans and Mercs, the other GT3 machines on the grid are Ferrari 488 GT3, Lexus RC F GT3, BMW M6 GT3, Bentley Continental GT3 and Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX.
2018 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup entry list
|1||Belgian Audi Club Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||Alex Riberas, Christopher Mies|
|2||Belgian Audi Club Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||Will Stevens, Dries Vanthoor|
|3||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||Gilles Magnus, Alessio Picariello|
|17||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard|
|11||Kessel Racing||Ferrari 488 GT3||Michael Broniszewski, Giacomo Piccini|
|39||TP 12 - Kessel Racing||Ferrari 488 GT3||Piti Bhirombhakdi, Carlo Van Dam|
|14||Emil Frey Lexus Racing||Lexus RC F GT3||Christian Klien, Albert Costa|
|114||Emil Frey Lexus Racing||Lexus RC F GT3||Stephane Ortelli, Norbert Siedler|
|15||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX||Claude-Yves Gosselin, Pierre Feligioni|
|19||GRT Grasser Racing Team||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||Andrea Caldarelli, Ezequiel Perez Companc|
|63||GRT Grasser Racing Team||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart|
|82||GRT Grasser Racing Team||Lamborghini Huracan GT3||Loris Hezemans, Franck Perera|
|25||Sainteloc Racing||Audi R8 LMS||Simon Gachet, Christopher Haase|
|26||Sainteloc Racing||Audi R8 LMS||Nyls Stievenart, Markus Winkelhock|
|31||Team Parker Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||Aron Taylor Smith, Josh Caygill|
|37||3Y Technology||BMW M6 GT3||Luks Moraes, Andrew Watson|
|55||Attempto Racing||Audi R8 LMS||Steijn Schothorst, Kelvin Van Der Linde|
|66||Attempto Racing||Audi R8 LMS||Pieter Schothorst, Pierre Kaffer|
|35||SMP Racing by Akka ASP||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Vladimir Atoev, Alexey Korneev|
|87||Akka ASP Team||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Nicolas Jamin, Felix Serralles|
|88||Akka ASP Team||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Raffaele Marciello, Michael Meadows|
|90||Akka ASP Team||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Jack Manchester, Nico Bastian|
Photos: Dirk Bogaerts Photography,