***A close battle for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe title will play out this afternoon between Andrea Caldarelli/Marco Mapelli and Maro Engel/Luca Stolz. The two driver pairings are separated by just two points, with the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team pair leading. A win this afternoon pays 16.5 points.
***Three crews could take the Silver Cup title – Nico Bastian/Thomas Neubauer, Milan Dontje/Mattia Drudi and Hugo de Sadeleer/Aaro Vainio. AKKA ASP’s Bastian and Neubauer have a 9.5-point lead over Attempto Racing’s Dontje and Drudi.
***Phil Keen and Hiroshi Hamaguchi hold a 12-point lead over David Perel and Rinat Salikhov in the Pro-Am title fight, meanwhile.
***The overall GT World Challenge Europe teams’ title is still a tight contest between FFF Racing Team, Black Falcon and AKKA ASP.
***GT World Challenge Europe is the first of the three regional series to finish. GT World Challenge Asia’s finale will take place at Shanghai in three weeks’ time, while GT World Challenge America will play out at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 18-20.
***In the combined standings, based on results in GT World Challenge Europe and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Caldarelli/Mapelli and Engel/Stolz are all tied. That championship will be decided at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya later this month.
***Both the Pro-Am and Silver Cup battles were decided on the last lap in Race 1 on Saturday, with late moves from Jim Pla on Phil Keen for Pro-Am and Nico Bastian on Aaro Vainio in the Silver Cup. It gave AKKA ASP a sweep of the overall, Pro-Am and Silver classes.
***Two cars will have three-place grid penalties in this afternoon’s race: Rinaldi Racing’s No. 333 Ferrari 488 GT3 (mechanic carrying two wheels in the pit stop) and R-Motorsport’s No. 62 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (unsafe release). Both are in championship battles in Pro-Am and Silver, respectively.
***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Black Falcon and Phoenix Racing are all in action on two fronts this weekend, with programs in the VLN race at the Nürburgring as well. Dinamic Motorsport is split between the Hungaroring and Monza for the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, meanwhile.
***This weekend marks Dinamic’s debut in GT World Challenge Europe competition. The Italian team has a single Porsche 911 GT3 R for Sven Mueller and Giorgio Roda in an exploratory campaign ahead of a possible full-season effort next year. It’s the first and only Porsche to compete in GT World Challenge Europe all year.
***FIA Formula 2 Championship regular Dorian Boccolaci is back at Sainteloc Racing as Stephane Ortelli after debuting in the series at the Nürburgring last weekend. The 20-year-old could also compete in the Endurance Cup finale at Barcelona.
***Nicki Shields is serving as pit lane reporter this weekend, replacing Dakota Jane. Shields usually presents coverage of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
***Russia, Denmark and Germany have all recently announced their FIA Motorsport Games entries, while France and Belgium are expected to follow suit soon.
***Aston Martin is taking a cautious approach to a Intercontinental GT Challenge program for the manufacturer next year, according to its sporting president David King. R-Motorsport team principal Florian Kamelger told Sportscar365 in July that he is “eager” to compete in the series full-time next year, subject to finding sufficient funding.
“We are well aware that it’s easy to want to do everything, and then end up not doing anything,” King told Sportscar365. “It does depend on having the right partner team willing to make the right level of commitment.”
Laurent Mercier and Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report