Blancpain GT Series 2015 season review
The 2015 season of the Blancpain GT Series was very interesting and full of suspense until the very end. The Blancpain GT championship is the world’s premiere GT3 and sports car racing series which combines Sprint (short races, two races per weekend) and Endurance (long races, one race per weekend) events.
Most of the drivers and the teams participate in both types of races and teams hire additional drivers for long events. As a result, the Blancpain GT series is full of new and perspective drivers and experienced racers all racing together behind the best GT3 machines and on some of Europe’s best racing tracks. Normally, for the Sprint race (1 hour long) the team consists of two drivers who race for half an hour each. However, for Endurance races (four to six hours long), teams hire two or three drivers more.
The season started on 6th of April on Nogaro circuit in France. The season opening was Sprint type which was best suited for short Nogaro track. The winner of the first race was the successful Belgian Audi Club Team WRT but the second race of the weekend BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil with their BMW Z4 GT3 took the first place.
The second event was held on the famous Monza track and it was an endurance race which featured the first official outing of new Lamborghini Huracan GT3. After four hours, the green Lamborghini crossed the finish line first and scored the first win for the new car. After Monza, the Blancpain GT series moved to England to the legendary Brands Hatch track where Audi was once again victorious in both Sprint races of the weekend. Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor duo proved that they are a perfect combination on shorter tracks. The true star of the second race was Kevin Estre in McLaren 650S GT3 but it wasn’t enough to win.
However, the next race in Silverstone was an endurance event, Von Ryan Racing with McLaren 650S GT3 managed to win in a massive race which featured almost 70 cars. Few weeks later, Blancpain GT Series moved to Netherlands on the Zolder track where Audi duo (Frijns and Vanthoor) was once again victorious in both Sprint races of the weekend. The endurance event on Le Castellet track was next where Nissan GT Academy Team RJN was the fastest with their Nissan GT-R GT3 race car. The Nissan team proved very competitive throughout the season and this win was well deserved.
However, two weeks later in Moscow, there was a surprise by Reiter Engineering who managed to win the first of two sprint races of the weekend with the “old” Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 car. The second race was won by Bentley Team HTP with Bentley Continental GT3 which proved to be very fast and was always near the top, earning valuable championship points.
Bentley drivers Vincent Abril and Maximilian Buhk showed remarkable skill in every race. The endurance event was next on the famous Spa circuit in Belgium and pressure was on the Audi Sport Team WRT and Laurens Vanthoor to win on his home track. But, luck was not on his side and the winner of this event were BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS and their talented driver Nick Catsburg.
Next on the calendar was Portugal with sprint races on Algarve track. The first race was won by the Bentley duo (Abril and Buhk) and the second by Audi duo (Frijns and Vanthoor), in a battle that was almost a preview for the championship title. Nurburgring was next and neither the Bentley or the Audi managed to win but Von Ryan Racing with their white McLaren 650S and the rather fantastic Kevin Estre scored big.
However, in the next sprint race in Misano (Italy) things changed. Both races were won by Rinaldi Racing with their Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 but the biggest news was Laurens Vanthoor’s crash during the qualifying session. He crashed while trying to overtake a slower car but spun and hit the guardrails very hard. The car was destroyed and he was injured. Fortunately, his injuries were not big, but he was forced to retire from the championship battle and the 2015 season was finished for him.
The last race of the 2015 season was in Zandvoort, Netherlands and Bentley team took its chance of attacking Audi who lost their star driver. Bentley won both races but didn’t manage to win the championship and the 2015 Blancpain GT title went to Robin Frijns with Bentley’s Maximilian Buhk on second place and season favourite, Laurens Vanthoor on third.