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Emil Frey Not Dropping F-Type; Lexus Set for Blancpain GT Debut
- Updated: March 14, 2017
Emil Frey is not giving up on its plans to develop the F-Type GT3 in collaboration with Jaguar, while hoping to debut the Lexus RC F GT3 in Blancpain GT competition later this year.
Lorenz Frey told Sportscar365 back in July that he was pushing to develop a new Jaguar F-Type GT3 car, to replace its current self-built, XK-based GT3 racer, although the project is now on hold due to the manufacturer’s Formula E program.
“It’s still our dream to develop a Jaguar F-Type GT3 car like before, but it didn’t materialize for this season,” Frey told Sportscar365 in the Paul Ricard paddock.
“We are definitely still pushing for the F-Type, the focus remains fully on the XK for now.
“Jaguar is currently focusing on electric cars and Formula E, so now we have to find a way so we can still do it.”
Frey confirmed he needed the support from the manufacturer to make it happen.
“GT3 got to another level in the last couple of years. The private tuners have now almost disappeared,” he said.
“There’s so much work involved to build a competitive GT3 [car] these days. Without the support from the manufacturer, with all the technical requirements, data and the financial input, it’s just not possible anymore to do it as a private team.”
Despite this setback, the Swiss team has grown its Blancpain GT involvement to two nationally homologated XKs for the entire Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season.
“We introduced a second car at Spa last year, which had a lot of new developments in it. Both cars are now on the same level,” Frey said.
Both Pro Cup lineups have remained almost unchanged apart from two new entries.
The No. 14 Jaguar is still driven by Frey, Albert Costa Balboa and Stéphane Ortelli, while Christian Klien, Jonathan Hirschi and Marco Seefried will pilot the sister No. 114 entry.
Frey might sit out one or two races to focus on running the team; fellow Swiss racer Philipp Frommenwiler would replace him on those occasions.
The team is targeting an expansion into the Sprint Cup next year and might enter one or two races at the end of the season in order to familiarize itself with the format.
They’re also involved with the development of the new Lexus RC F GT3, with the latest evolution of the car is already confirmed to take part in International GT Open this year.
“The target is definitely to do both Blancpain Endurance and Sprint with the Lexus next year. That’s why we are open to doing some Blancpain races this season,” Frey said.
“We are not sure [when it will debut in Blancpain GT]. It will depend on the performance of the car and the level we’ll reach by the middle of the season.
“The new car will arrive really late, right before the season starts. So for sure there will be some learning and development with the new Lexus.
“We hope we will be ready for some Blancpain [Endurance] and Sprint races later this year.”
It’s understood the Lexus has not yet completed SRO’s Balance of Performance tests, which is mandatory for participation in Blancpain GT.
However, a mid-season BoP test is scheduled for mid-July, prior to the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which could certify the Lexus for series competition in the second half of the year.