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Silverstone Saturday Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s Saturday notebook from Blancpain GT at Silverstone…

Photo: McLaren GT

Photo: McLaren GT

***McLaren held a photoshoot on the Silverstone pit straight yesterday (pictured above), showcasing every model McLaren Automotive and McLaren GT has produced. Many of the cars are present in the paddock and open for fans to admire, with a selection including a P1 GTR, a British GT-entered 570S GT4 in Black Bull Garage 59 colors, and the manufacturer’s new 720S road car.

***There have been several driver changes on the entry list for the second Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup round of the season, although the field remains at 55 cars with no competitors pulling out or joining since the provisional entry list was released.

***Robin Frijns is once again absent from the paddock this weekend, having missed the Monza round due to injury. This time, he is racing in the Formula E Monaco ePrix, and so has been replaced by Jamie Green in the No. 17 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS. 

***Jens Klingmann has been replaced by Alexander Sims at ROWE Racing in the team’s No. 99 BMW M6 GT3. The Brit raced with the German outfit last season but is focusing his effort on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year. While he isn’t at Silverstone today, he will be present in time for Qualifying tomorrow morning.

***Another absentee is Luca Filippi, who is set to serve a ten-place grid penalty at his next race for causing a collision with Nathanael Berthon during Free Practice at Monza last month. However, the Italian driver has been replaced by Bertrand Baguette in the No. 66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 this weekend. 

***Furthermore, Joerg Viebahn has replaced Vincent Vong on the entry list at Team Zakspeed, and Christian Krognes is in for Jaap van Lagen in the Pro Cup-entered Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, while Matias Henkola replaces Stef van Campenhoudt in the team’s Am car.

***Hunter Abbott subs in for Michael Avenatti in the No. 86 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, while Mike Stursburg is in for Dominic Joest at Team HB Racing.

***With three Behaviour Warning Points, Jules Syzmkowiak has been given a grid penalty for his contact with the ISR Audi at Brands Hatch last weekend. He isn’t competing in the Endurance Cup, but his HTP Mercedes-AMG will start five positions further back in the next Sprint Cup round at Zolder.

***Oliver Webb makes his Blancpain GT return this weekend, competing in the series for the first time in two years. The ByKolles LMP1 driver was drafted in to replace Nick Leventis at Strakka Racing, and will also join the team in the Total 24 Hours of Spa in July. “Other than 24H Dubai I don’t really do any GT racing, so it’s nice to get in the car,” Webb told Sportscar365. “Obviously the track is very different to how I normally feel it, but I’m loving it.

“Nick Leventis asked me to fill in, I did a test before this weekend, we spoke and decided to do Spa together as well. He’s not racing here this weekend but I’ll be with him and Lewis [Williamson] for Spa, which I’m looking forward to.”

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT co-drivers Will Stevens and Dries Vanthoor will join JMW Motorsport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it was announced yesterday. “I love Le Mans, it’s a great race,” Stevens told Sportscar365.

“I only wanted to go back if it was a strong lineup and a good chance of winning our class. I’ve never driven a Ferrari before or in GTE, but it’s just something to get used to and I’m sure we can have a good solid race.”

***Paul Wilson passed away earlier this week after a battle with cancer, aged just 41. A former Aston Martin racer, Wilson won Pro-Am honors in the Blancpain GT race at Silverstone two years ago. Sportscar365 extends its condolences to Paul’s friends and family at this difficult time.

***Qualifying will get underway at 9:45 a.m. BST tomorrow morning, ahead of the three-hour race at 2:55 p.m. Both will be streamed live on the series’ website and GT World YouTube channel.

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

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