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Brands Hatch Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s notebook from GTWC Europe Sprint Cup’s return to Brands Hatch…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***Christopher Mies has replaced fellow Audi factory driver Kelvin van der Linde in Team WRT’s No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for this weekend. Van der Linde has opted out of the Brands Hatch event to avoid any cross-channel travel implications that might affect his participation in next weekend’s Red Bull Ring DTM round.

***Mies contested the first three rounds of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season with Attempto Racing. The German driver has previously represented WRT in the series and was 2016 champion Enzo Ide’s primary driving partner.

***View the official 28-car entry list for Brands Hatch here.

***Recent 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner Robin Frijns is understood to be van der Linde’s substitute for the Nürburgring Endurance Cup round next weekend. Nico Bastian, who normally drives for GetSpeed Performance in the long-distance GTWC Europe races, is rumored to be in line to replace Vincent Abril at Haupt Racing Team. Marco Wittmann, Sheldon van der Linde, Philip Ellis and Daniel Juncadella are also affected by the date clash.

***Emil Frey Racing had a “very labor-intensive” August as it worked to prepare two new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos. The Swiss team had two of its three cars destroyed in a massive crash early into the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. Franck Perera ran his Emil Frey car unsighted into teammate Jack Aitken at the top of Raidillon, triggering an accident that involved two other vehicles.

***Championship co-leader Charles Weerts says teams will need to be “extremely careful” with their cars in each session at Brands Hatch, due to the compact nature of the two-day event with both races on Sunday.

“It’s not going to be easy, as Brands Hatch is a difficult circuit, where you can do no mistakes and where overtaking is not easy, so doing well in qualifying will be crucial,” said the Belgian. “Also, the format of the weekend is different, with less driving time than usual and going almost straight into qualifying and the races, so we will have to be extremely careful with the car.”

***Misano double winners Weerts and Dries Vanthoor are aiming to become the first driver pairing to win three consecutive Sprint Cup races since Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor in 2015. Brands Hatch formed part of the WRT duo’s streak six years ago.

***Four weight-based Balance of Performance adjustments have been made since the previous Sprint Cup round at Misano. The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is running 10 kg heavier than it did in Italy, while the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo has gained 5 kg. Weight reductions of 5 kg have been applied to the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

***The two-day nature of the Brands Hatch event means that the two qualifying sessions for each race will take place one after the other. Sprint Cup qualifying sessions are usually separately, with Q2 slotting in between the two races. The compact format will also be used at Valencia next month.

***The minimum pit stop time for cars in the Pro-Am class has been set at 57 seconds, with each car having a single one-second tolerance ‘joker’ available to use.

***This weekend marks GTWC Europe’s first visit to the United Kingdom in two years, while a total of 11 Sprint Cup events have taken place since the last Brands Hatch fixture.

***Half a dozen British drivers are racing on ‘home soil’. They are Ben Barnicoat, Oliver Wilkinson, Frank Bird, Chris Froggatt, Adam Christodoulou and Jonny Adam. JOTA, which typically races internationally in both LMP2 and GT3, is making a rare home race appearance with its McLaren 720S GT3.

***The last three Brands Hatch Sprint Cup rounds have been swept by cars from the same team. Grasser Racing Team, Team WRTT and Black Falcon each won both of the races on the schedule in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.

***Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R is absent from the grid due to Adrien de Leener’s ongoing recovery from breaking three vertebrae in a crash at Misano. The Belgian was injured after his car was launched into the air by a curb in the run-off area.

***Assetto Corsa Competizione, the licensed simulation game of GTWC Europe, is receiving an upgrade to be compatible with latest generation consoles. Title developers 505 Games and KUNOS Simulazioni announced earlier this week that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version will launch on Feb. 24 next year.

***Vintage racing forms part of the support bill this weekend, with a handful of Classic Sports Car Club series in competition. Historic GT and touring cars from the 1950s and 1960s will be represented on the Classic K and Swinging Sixties grids, while Magnificent Sevens and New Millennium (post-2000 production-based racers) add further variety to the program.

***Saturday’s official track action starts with a 30-minute Free Practice session starting at 9:30 a.m. local time (4:30 a.m. EST). Half an hour of testing has been reserved for Bronze and Silver-rated drivers immediately before FP.

***Pre-Qualifying lasts one hour and gets underway at 12:10 p.m. (7:10 a.m. EST). Qualifying runs from 3:20 to 4:10 p.m. (10:20 to 11:10 a.m. EST) as two 20-minute sessions.

Rene de Boer contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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