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Paul Ricard Pre-Race Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Saturday Notebook from Paul Ricard…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***A dozen of cars are expected to take part in the Bancpain Ultracar & GT1 Sportsclub over the weekend, including a Ferrari 550 Maranello (driven by Steve Zacchia), Corvette C6.R, Maserati MC12 and a Ferrari 575 GTC. The Blancpain GT Sports Club will have 23 gentleman drivers on the grid here in Paul Ricard (entry list).

***For reasons of sporting fairness, drivers who compete in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Blancpain GT Sports Club have missed the first free practice session of the GT Sports Club and the Bronze Test of the Endurance Cup. This measure only concerns Michael Broniszeswki for now.

***Luca Fillipi has returned to the Blancpain GT Series paddock after he was replaced by Bertrand Baguette in the No. 66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 earlier this season. The Italian subs for Gustavo Yacaman in the Orange1 Team Lazarus Lamborghini of Nicolas Pohler and Fabrizio Crestani. Fillipi still carries with him a ten-place grid drop penalty for the avoidable collision with a WRT Audi at Monza, which will be enforced this weekend.

***Aston Martin Brussels is planning to enter an V12 Vantage GT3 for an all Belgian lineup in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Tim Verbergt and Sam Dejonghe were already confirmed as part of the effort. Both drivers recently competed in the GT Open round at Spa. The car will be entered in either the Pro-Am or Am Cup.

***Goodsmile Racing & Team Ukyo has revealed its livery for its European debut at Spa next month. The Super GT regulars are known for its manga-style liveries and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Kamui Kobayashi, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka will be no different.

***Emil Frey Jaguar Racing carried out an endurance test at Portimão earlier this month. The test was completed with one Jaguar G3 and all six drivers. “We were able to run 14 hours straight without any issues, tried and tested a few new components such as new LED lights and are pleased with the result,” said Lorenz Frey, team principal and driver of the No. 14 Jaguar. 

***Track limits at the end of the Mistral straight exiting Signes will be strictly enforced. A couple of rubber flaps have been installed to mark how far the drivers can go.

***The championship is using a new GPS system this weekend on a dozen cars with the objective of equipping the entire field with the technology in 2018.

***There’s currently some uncertainty whether or not the traditional parade to the city center of Spa in the build up to the race will go ahead as usual. A new local decree regarding water sources has limited the areas where motorsport events can take place in Spa, which is also home to a well known brand of mineral water. A small historic rally was already cancelled because of the decree.

***Be sure to download the official SRO Spotter Guide, which features all 58 starters for today’s six-hour race, including all the new liveries and lineups. The most notable changes are the No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes (matt bronze) and the four factory Audis run by WRT, ISR and Sainteloc. Click here to download the Spotter Guide and click here to download the starting grid.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this notebook.

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

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