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Nürburgring Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s weekend notebook from the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup finale…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Maxi Buhk and Franck Perera head into this afternoon’s Main Race as the title favorites, holding a seven-point lead over Dries Vanthoor and Marcel Fassler. Perera will start from pole while Fassler will line up in third position.

***Buhk won the Sprint Cup title in 2015 and the overall Blancpain GT championship last season, while it would be Perera’s first series championship win.

***Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart are amongst the total of ten drivers who could still win take the Sprint Cup honors this afternoon but a poor result in the Qualifying Race puts the No. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 down in 19th on the grid. The pairing still leads the overall Blancpain GT standings, comprising both Sprint and Endurance Cup results.

***Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport’s Qualifying Race win ended Vanthoor and Fassler’s dominant run in the series. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers led every session last time out at Hungaroring before topping both Free Practice sessions and qualifying at Nürburgring.

***Lorenzo Case and Phil Quaife’s weekend ended prematurely following a crash during qualifying, damaging the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 beyond repair at the track.

***The Lexus RC F GT3 makes its Blancpain GT debut this weekend with a single car run by Emil Frey Lexus Racing. Lexus GT3 program coordinator Loic David is pleased with the car’s progress so far after already winning several International GT Open races.

“It is [going well] with five races won in International GT Open plus one in VLN, all in just a year after the homologation and the car’s unveil,” he told Endurance-Info. “The Lexus also won a victory in Japan. All that remains is the United States. The performance is there in all the championships. It is also important to note that the Lexus is reliable. This is a good sign for the future.”

***The date of next year’s Silverstone round has been moved back one week to avoid a clash with the Nürburgring 24. It is understood the original date was chosen with the SRO unaware of the N24’s schedule.

***Black Falcon is amongst the teams evaluating a Sprint Cup program next season. The Mercedes squad has only competed in the Endurance Cup rounds this year.

***AKKA ASP is set to have at least one Mercedes-AMG GT3 to finish its season at the Gulf 12 Hours in December, and is likely to have a similar program in 2018, focusing on the Blancpain GT Series, although possibly also racing in the FFSA GT Championship as well.

***Chevrolet is expected to unveil its 2018 plans for the Camaro GT4.R soon, and it is likely that the car could compete in Europe as well as the U.S.

***Piti Bhirombhakdi is looking to enter both the Blancpain GT Sprint and Endurance Cups next year with the Kessel Racing TP12 outfit, and is also expected to enter the Sepang 12 Hours later this year with his Ferrari 488 GT3.

***Three Mercedes-AMG GT4s will take part in the 24H TCE Series 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Oct. 6-8, with one car each run by Black Falcon, HTP Motorsport and Uwe Alzen Automotive.

***The Main Race starts at 3:30 p.m. local time this afternoon and will be streamed on the GT World YouTube channel. Click here for the entry list and here for the grid.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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