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Paul Ricard Pre-Race Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ pre-race notebook from Paul Ricard…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***The Paul Ricard 1000 km sees two generations of related drivers united in the same event. Father-and-son Paul and Max Van Splunteren will share the wheel of the No. 100 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Meanwhile father-and-daughter Peter and Stephane Kox (pictured above) will be competing against each other in different cars (WRT Audi vs. Scuderia Praha Ferrari).

***After WRT’s surprise sub-70-seconds (full service) pitstop at Silverstone, there’s talk of changing the sporting regulations in order to prohibit teams from applying this tactic in the future. All teams would need to agree before this rule could be changed mid-season. It’s not clear if that is the case at the moment.

***The prohibited pitstop range for this event is set at 74-94 seconds (+4 seconds compared to Silverstone). However, the nature of the Paul Ricard and the fuel consumption of the cars basically rules out a repeat of WRT’s quick full service stop seen at Silverstone.

***Patrick Pilet will join IMSA Performance for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Porsche works driver will share the No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R with season regulars Raymond Narac, Thierry Comac and Maxime Jousse in the Pro Am Cup. Pilet previously competed with the French team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, GT Open, Le Mans Series and FIA GT2 European Cup.

***The No. 78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Marco Mapelli, Phil Keen and Leo Machitski underwent an engine change yesterday evening. The No. 76 IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R also suffered engine troubles after this morning’s Qualifying and is in a race against to install a new engine in time for the race. As a result, both Pro Am Cup-entered cars will start the race from the pit lane later today.

***Grasser Racing Team will add third car to its lineup for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Contrary to the two full season Pro Cup lineups, the third Lamborghini Huracán GT3 will most likely compete in the Pro Am Cup. So far only Lamborghini GT3 Junior Driver Nicolas Pohler is confirmed. Pohler already competes with the Austrian team in the Blancpain Sprint Cup and the ADAC GT Masters.

***GRT will return with one of its Lamborghinis to Paul Ricard for next month’s Creventic-run 24 Hours of Paul Ricard, with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Rolf Ineichen and Adrian Amstutz set to drive the car. The entry will serve as preparation for the Total 24 Hours of Spa and an endurance test for some new components on the Huracán GT3.

***Another team returning to Paul Ricard for the 24-hour race is SPS Automotive Performance. The German squad is making a one-off guest appearance with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Cup to prepare for the Creventic enduro. Lance David Arnold, Alex Müller and Valentin Pierburg are entered on the car that features a special “jungle” livery.

***According to Lago Racing will return with a Lamborghini Gallardo REX to the Total 24 Hours of Spa this year. Roger Lago will team up with David Russell, Steve Owen and Jonathon Webb. Last year’s entry didn’t happen as Lago was involved in a big crash prior to Spa. Reiter Engineering will provide the Gallardo R-EX and service it.

***A record 29 cars will compete in the third round and the halfway mark of the 2016 Blancpain GT Sports Club season. The former F1 venue in southern France attracted a varied line-up comprising seven different manufacturers and 12 models of balanced GTE and GT3 cars.

***Of note is the arrival of the GT3 Le Mans Cup regular Mentos Racing; the team will field a new Porsche 911 GT3 R for Egidio Perfetti, while Augusto Perfetti is entered on an older 997 Porsche. Click here to see the entry list.

***Fifteen years after it began involvement in the 24 Hours of Spa, SRO Motorsports Group will honor all those who played a part in making the history of the Belgian endurance classic by creating the “Total 24 Hours of Spa Drivers Circle.” It will unite all drivers who have taken part in the race.

***During the 2016 edition, the members’ program will include a group picture on the starting grid, a meeting with the fans in the club house, and the senior member of the circle will present one of the trophies after the race. There will be more initiatives, which will be confirmed in due course.

***Be sure to download the official SRO Spotter Guide, which features all 57 starters for today’s race, including all the liveries and lineups. Click here to download the latest version.

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

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