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40-Car Field Set for Endurance Cup Decider at Paul Ricard

GTWC Europe field set for final round of 2020 Endurance Cup season at Paul Ricard…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

A total of 40 cars are signed up for this weekend’s Paul Ricard 1000km which marks the final round of the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season.

The six-hour race on Sunday, Nov. 15 will decide the Endurance Cup drivers’ champions and the winners of the overall GT World Challenge Europe title which combines results from SRO Motorsports Group’s long-distance series and the concluded Sprint Cup.

The 40-car field for Paul Ricard is the lowest Endurance Cup entry of the season, while four competitors that were slated to contest the full four-round campaign are absent.

These include the No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Total 24 Hours of Spa winner ROWE Racing and the No. 69 Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3.

ROWE took two Porsches to the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring and Spa but has elected to forgo the last round of the season altogether for reasons that are not currently known.

The Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos from SPS Automotive Performance and the No. 87 AKKA-ASP crew are also not listed, as are the Nürburgring and Spa-only entries from ROWE Racing, Herberth Motorsport and JP Motorsport.

SPS Automotive Performance Bronze-rated driver Christian Hook is now in a second Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that also includes David Perel and Manuel Lauck.

As announced last week, AKKA-ASP’s Endurance Cup points leaders Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy are sharing the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG with Maximilian Buhk, who is filling in for Felipe Fraga.

Buhk started the season in a GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG, which is back on the grid this weekend after missing Spa.

The German team has brought in Yelmer Buurman to replace Buhk in its lineup alongside Alessio Lorandi and Fabian Schiller.

Marciello and Boguslavskiy’s main Endurance Cup title rivals are Dinamic Motorsport Porsche drivers Matteo Cairoli, Sven Mueller and recently-crowned ADAC GT Masters champion Christian Engelhart who are level on points.

AKKA-ASP’s Fraga is one of six drivers needing a replacement for Paul Ricard because of a date clash with the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain.

The scheduling conflict has also prompted Ferrari to introduce four new drivers – Antonio Fuoco, Toni Vilander, Come Ledogar and Sam Bird – into its two-car Pro squad.

Additionally, Marvin Kirchhoefer has been brought in to replace the Bahrain-bound Jonny Adam at the wheel of Garage 59’s Pro-Am Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

There are single ‘TBA’ driver slots in the No. 108 CMR Bentley, the No. 90 Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG and the Pro-class No. 163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini.

Franck Perera is unable to take up his seat in the Emil Frey lineup alongside Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoe owing to the Frenchman’s commitments with GRT Grasser Racing Team in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The driver lineup for Sainteloc Racing’s No. 26 Audi, which is the only car registered in Am Cup, has yet to be confirmed.

A total of 18 Pro cars are entered, while Silver Cup and Pro-Am have 11 and 10 participants respectively.

The Paul Ricard 1000km will be going ahead under France’s tighter national ‘lockdown’ measures, which allow professional sporting events to take place behind closed doors.

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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