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GT World Challenge Europe

23-Car Grid Set for Triple-Header Sprint Cup Opener at Misano

Sprint Cup field set for opening triple-header round at Misano with 23 cars listed…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup kicks off this weekend with three races at Misano that are set to be contested by a 23-car field.

The provisional entry list for the Sprint season-opener shows ten cars in the Pro category, eight cars in Silver Cup and five in Pro-Am.

While Orange 1 FFF Racing Team – which won the 2019 overall drivers’ title – has opted to skip the Sprint season to focus on its endurance programs, Lamborghini’s cause has been picked up by International GT Open champion squad Emil Frey Racing.

The Swiss team has two Pro Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos confirmed for Giacomo Altoe/Albert Costa and Norbert Siedler/Mikael Grenier, which were the exact lineups that finished first and second in last year’s GT Open standings.

Haupt Racing Team is set to make its Sprint Cup debut in the place of Black Falcon, which finished runner-up to FFF Racing Team in 2019.

Maro Engel and Luca Stolz will continue to pair up in the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 which is now in Evo specification.

2019 front-runner Raffaele Marciello is back with Mercedes stalwart AKKA-ASP, but the Italian has a new co-driver in Timur Boguslavskiy who replaces Vincent Abril.

Sainteloc Racing has also returned, while the French Audi squad has split up its best 2019 season pairing of Simon Gachet and Christopher Haase across its two cars.

Haase will continue in the Pro ranks with GT4 graduate Arthur Rougier, while Gachet will share Sainteloc’s Silver Cup Audi with Steven Palette.

Six-time overall Sprint teams’ champion WRT, which won the Endurance Cup opener at Imola two weeks ago, is fielding three Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos including two in the top class for Charles Weerts/Dries Vanthoor and Kelvin van der Linde/Ryuichiro Tomita.

Attempto Racing has a streamlined two-car Pro Audi effort following its triple entry with an additional Silver machine last year.

The team has arranged a much-altered lineup for its third season with the R8 LMS package involving Frederic Vervisch, Nicolas Schoell, Mattia Drudi and Tommaso Mosca.

Reigning Nürburgring 24 winner Vervisch arrives from Phoenix Racing’s 2019 lineup, while Drudi is the only member of Attempto’s 2020 squad to return.

Bentley makes its return to the Pro category for the first time since 2017, courtesy of CMR’s entry for Nelson Panciatici and factory driver Jules Gounon.

The French squad also has a car in Silver that was originally set for Pro-Am before Hugo Chevalier arrived to replace Erwin Creed in the lineup alongside Pierre-Alexandre Jean.

Additionally, the two Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos that were assigned for the overall category on the full-season entry list have since joined the Silver Cup ranks.

The German rallying outfit, which made its sports car debut last year in ADAC GT Masters, will field cars for Oscar Tunjo/Juuso Puhakka and Kris Heidorn/Robin Rogalski.

Elsewhere in Silver Cup, Mercedes customer Madpanda Motorsport makes its Sprint series debut while Tech 1 Racing joins the class with its Lexus RC F GT3. 

Five cars, including the only Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s in the field, are present in Pro-Am.

Sky Tempesta Racing and AF Corse fly the flag for the Italian manufacturer, while SPS Automotive Performance is running two Mercedes-AMGs.

The Pro-Am grid is completed by the Mercedes-AMG of ERC Sport, which graduates from the GT Sports Club series.

No Sports Club cars across the GT3 and GT2 formulas are on the entry list for the European season-opener.

GTWC Europe track action begins on Friday with two Free Practice sessions, followed by qualifying during the day on Saturday.

The first 60-minute Sprint Cup race is set for 7:15 p.m. CEST (1:15 p.m. EST), while races two and three are on Sunday at 11:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. EST) and 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EST).

Live streaming will be available on the GT World YouTube channel.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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