The Blancpain Endurance Series is set to break records again this weekend, with a grid of 63 entries for the Blancpain Endurance Series 1000 at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Paul Ricard will host a 1000 km BES round for the first time, as it is now regarded as the dress rehearsal for next month’s 24 Hours of Spa.
An unprecedented 30-car entry has been confirmed for the Pro Cup, five more than there were at Silverstone last month.
Two new Audi R8 LMS will race at Paul Ricard, one entered by Audi Sport Team WRT and one by Phoenix Racing. Laurens Vanthoor will join Mike Rockenfeller and René Rast in the No. 1 Audi.
As a result Vanthoor and teammate Robin Frijns, the current leaders in the Blancpain GT Series drivers rankings, will be separated for the first time this season.
Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase and Marcel Fässler will share the cockpit of the No. 5 Phoenix Racing Audi.
Two BMW Z4 GT3s are set to join the Pro Cup at Paul Ricard, with the ROAL Motorsport entry driven by Alex Zanardi, Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler, while BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS will enter one for Maxime Martin, Lucas Luhr and Markus Palttala.
AKKA ASP’s No. 20 Ferrari 458 Italia will move to Pro Cup, with the addition of Tristan Vautier and Alessandro Pier Guidi. Black Pearl Racing by Rinaldi will also run in Pro Cup, as Dominik Schwager joins Steve Parrow and Pierre Kaffer.
Attempto Racing’s second McLaren 650S GT3 is the final entry to change classes, with former GP2 driver Juan Cruz Alvarez leading a 100% Argentinian lineup on the No. 54 car.
Bruno Senna returns to the Von Ryan Racing squad after missing the Silverstone round due to Formula E commitments. His replacement at Silverstone, Le Mans LMP2 class winner Nicolas Lapierre, will race the No. 58 car this weekend, taking over from Shane van Gisbergen.
The 18-entry Pro Am class will see a couple of driver lineup changes this weekend.
Mark Shulzhitskiy will replace Jann Mardenborough in the No. 22 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in France, while Renger van der Zande strengthens the No. 34 Car Collection Motorsport lineup.
Team Russia by Barwell will be without Jonny Cocker this weekend, which means the team’s No. 78 BMW Z4 GT3 will race in the Am Cup, where it will be joined by the No. 48 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Martin Lanting, Patrick van Glabeke and Louis Philippe Soenen. Fifteen cars are entered in the class.
Track action at Paul Ricard gets underway on Friday, with the Bronze Test, Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying. Qualifying will take place on Saturday morning, with the 1000 km race to start at 5:00 p.m. local time.