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Silverstone Pre-Race Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s pre-race notebook from Blancpain GT at Silverstone…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Click here for the final entry list ahead of today’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup race at Silverstone, with 55 cars.

***Polesitter Daniel Juncadella says that a viral video of him saving his AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 from a spin last weekend at Brands Hatch has been a great confidence boost. “It was great, and it was better than winning a race to be honest,” he told Sportscar365.

“It got so viral that it got more attention than if I had won the race. It was also great for my confidence because you get so many people saying congrats for saving the car!”

***A red flag was called with 30 seconds on the clock in Qualifying 3, for Manuel Metzger’s Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 to be retrieved. This affected many drivers, most notably Alex Buncombe, who was on a fast lap and in the final sector when the session was ended. 

***Audi, BMW and McLaren all failed to qualify in the top 20, despite strong showings from all three manufacturers in the first two sessions. The highest Audi R8 LMS on the grid is 21st, while the best-placed McLaren 650S GT3 is 23rd. The ROWE Racing BMWs are 32nd and 33rd, meanwhile.

***ROWE’s Alexander Sims arrived at Silverstone in time for Qualifying, having missed Saturday’s action while standing in as reserve driver for MS Amlin Andretti in yesterday’s Formula E Monaco ePrix. “I was purple in the second sector on my outlap, so it was fine!” he told Sportscar365. “I’ve driven here so many times. I felt at home immediately.”

***Last month’s Endurance Cup round at Monza saw track limits violations become a major problem, and SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel held a special drivers’ briefing ahead of the Silverstone round to enforce this issue.

***Ratel told Endurance-Info that changes to the penalty systems need to be made in order to ensure the consequences fit each particular violation. “The penalty must depend on the infringement,” he said. “A driver who does not respect the track limits four times gets a drive-through and a driver that causes a pileup is penalized in the same way. The scale is not what it should be.”

***Last year’s Silverstone winner Maxi Buhk will start third in his No. 84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport entry. “One of our main goals was to start in the top five, because otherwise you have problems in traffic,” he told Sportscar365.

“In our car, we have problems in a straight line trying to overtake the others, so it’s better to start at the front. I’m pretty sure we’ll be really good in the long-distance and we should be consistent on the tires, so I’m looking forward to it.

***The prohibited pit stop time this weekend has been set at 58 to 84 seconds, measured from pit in to pit out. Several drivers have been penalized already this weekend for speeding in the pit lane, meanwhile.

***Three drivers were given drive-through penalties during Qualifying to be served during the race: Henry Walkenhorst (No. 36 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3) for completing an extra lap at the end of Qualifying; Daniele Perfetti (No. 89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) for overtaking under the red flag; and Manuel Metzger (No. 16 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG) for causing the stoppage of Qualifying 3.

***While Herberth Motorsport’s entry is the only Porsche 911 GT3 R competing in the Blancpain GT Series this season, it is likely that one or two extra cars will be present at the Total 24 Hours of Spa in July.

***The race is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. BST. Watch live on the series’ website, GT World YouTube channel or Motor Trend OnDemand. 

***Eurosport and Motorsport TV will broadcast the race live across Europe, while CBS Sports will carry highlights for U.S. viewers.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

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