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Paul Ricard Thursday Afternoon Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Thursday afternoon notebook from Paul Ricard…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Rinaldi Racing has entered three Ferraris in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, adding one new Ferrari 488 GT3 to the existing two 458 Italias. The German team might also add a third car in the Sprint Cup rounds at the Barcelona and Nürburgring, as Rinat Salikhov wants to try out the shorter sprint format.

***While Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler will race a new Ferrari 488 GT3 in the Sprint Cup, the German-Austrian duo will have to switch back to a 458 Italia in the Endurance Cup. Unlike last year, the car will compete in Pro-Am, as Rinat Salikhov was granted a downgrade from Silver to Bronze status. Rinaldi’s 488 will be entered in the Am Cup.

***Stéphane Ortelli tested the Emil Frey Jaguar G3 yesterday. The Frenchman is one of the most successful drivers in Blancpain history, a reputation he build up with WRT over the past five seasons. Following the loss of his drive with the Belgian team, Ortelli is now looking for other opportunities.

***The Emil Frey Jaguar G3 has been entered in the Pro Cup this season, with Lorenz Frey the only driver confirmed so far. The Jaguar scored its first Pro-Am Cup win at the Nürburgring BES finale last year.

***Garage 59 will indeed add an extra McLaren 650S GT3 to its Blancpain Sprint program. The entry should have a competitive lineup with yet-to-be confirmed (factory) drivers.

***Driver weight will be taken into account this season. If a driver weighs less than 85kg, extra ballast will be added to the car if the difference is not compensated by the extra weight of one of the other drivers in the lineup (average). In Sprint this means a 170kg (x2), in endurance 255kg (3x) or 340kg (x4) depending on the number of drivers.

***Grasser Racing Team has shaken up its driver lineups. The addition of a third Lamborghini Huracán GT3 to its Blancpain Endurance program sees Vadim Gitlin move to the Am Cup with yet to be confirmed drivers. His place alongside Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mirko Bortolotti in the Pro Cup has been taken up by Swiss driver Rolf Ineichen, who was initially announced at Konrad Motorsport.

***Following several years of many clashes between the Blancpain GT and ADAC GT Masters calendars, only the season finales at Barcelona and Hockenheim take place on the same weekend. The result is a couple of extra German teams in the SRO Motorsports Group series and several factory drivers doing a double program. However, choices will have to made for the final race weekend of the year.

***The Sean Edwards Test will be retained and further developed this year. Each driver will have to complete the questionnaire regarding the safety regulations and procedures.

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

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