Who Can Stop The Raging Bull?
The 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance series rolls in to Silverstone this weekend for the 3 Hours of Silverstone with the big question, can anybody stop Lamborghini?
After winning the TM Performance 3 Hours of Monza and the Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch, Grasser Racing travel to Silverstone as the championship leaders.
Drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart, victorious in both events, enjoy the same position in the driver standings.
55 teams will face the starter at the second endurance race of the season at the home of British Motorsport with teams looking to end the green Labo’s domination of the opening round.
Among those are two squads that will certainly be among the British crowd’s favourites: Bentley Team M-Sport and Strakka Racing. The latter, having scored only 19 points for the team standings in the opening three rounds of 2017, would love to repeat the win McLaren scored two years ago. With reigning endurance champions Côme Ledogar and Rob Bell among their ranks, this is certainly a possibility.
Bentley Team M-Sport has a better position in the team standings – third with 33 points – but after a disappointing weekend in Brands Hatch, the Bentley Boys are aiming to finish the second part of the British double-header on a positive note.
Another British brand to receive ever increasing support is Jaguar, even though the Monza round left Emil Frey Jaguar Racing wanting for more. With former F1-driver Christian Klien and former Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion Stéphane Ortelli in their ranks, the Swiss squad could be a contender.
Silverstone is not only the home race for the British manufacturers. British drivers and teams competing with non-British machinery are aiming for a splendid performance as well. With Motul Team RJN representing the Nissan colours, and Barwell Motorsport entering two of the competitive Lamborghini Huracan, chances to see a Union Jack flying during the podium ceremonies increase significantly.
In Monza the fight for Pro-Am Cup honours also produced some close racing, resulting in a win for the #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin. Since the Aston Martin squad does not compete in the rounds of the Sprint Cup it is only in fourth in the overall team standings, but count on Ahmed Al Harthy and double British GT champion Jonny Adam to try and repeat their Monza performance in front of the brand’s home fans.
They will have strong opposition from the Ferrari teams Rinaldi Racing (leading the team standings after two wins in the Sprint Cup) and Kessel Racing (currently second), but with two Mercedes-AMG competing in the Pro-Am Cup, French squad AKKA-ASP (third) should be among the contenders as well.
Finally, Silverstone also sees six cars competing in the Am Cup. Among these will be the #188 Garage 59 McLaren of Alexander West, former FIA GT-driver and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin and BBC Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. After making his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup debut last year at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT3, 42-year-old Harris will be aiming to repeat his choice performance in last year’s Nürburgring round, when he finished on the Am Cup podium. For the McLaren-trio the Silverstone round will also serve as a preparation for the blue-riband event of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
On-line streaming of the Blancpain GT Series starts on Saturday with both the Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions .
Sunday’s action begins with qualifying (9.45 local time) and the three hour race (14.55) on Sunday.
Source: Blancpain GT/SRO Media