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Barcelona Pre-Race Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ pre-race Blancpain GT notebook from Barcelona…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***The No. 26 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS of Marco Bonanomi and Mike Parisy will not take part in the Main Race. The car sustained too much damage in a contact with Jazeman Jaafar’s No. 85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 in this morning’s Qualifying Race.

***While initially stating that the engine on the No. 1 WRT Audi R8 LMS would have to be changed following a loss of power in the first practice session, Laurens Vanthoor and Frédéric Vervisch were able to continue with their old engine after all. In the end the team only had to change a part that connects the engine with the gearbox.

***Laurens Vanthoor already dropped several hints that his career might take a different turn next year, which might not necessarily be within the Audi family. The Belgian who has been competing in Blancpain GT for five years now said that “it’s time for a new story.”

***It’s unlikely Shane van Gisbergen will be able to defend his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup title next year. The recently released 2017 Australian Supercars calendar already counts four clashes with the Blancpain GT schedule (Monza, Brands Hatch, Spa and Nürburgring), with the dates of two other rounds yet to be confirmed. The Kiwi already indicated that his Supercars commitments would get priority.

***Jochen Bitzer, Head of AMG Customer Sports, has confirmed that Mercedes will return to the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (Nov. 17-20), where it intends to defend the title the claimed during the inaugural event last year. Bitzer also stated that demand for the AMG GT3 has exceeded expectations, resulting in an expansion of the production capacity.

***Several Blancpain GT will take part in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai. Black Falcon has already entered two Mercedes-AMG GT3s, with Zakspeed entering one, as should HTP Motorsport. Attempto Racing and Grasser Racing Team are both expected to enter Lamborghini Huracán GT3s. IMSA Performance will field its Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***WRT, on the other hand, may not defend its Dubai win as the Belgian squad is evaluating an entry in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Sepang 12 Hours and FIA GT World Cup in the streets of Macau are more than likely to feature on WRT’s schedule again.

***Paul Yao, one of the main people behind the GT Asia Series, is here this weekend in Barcelona to have a look around. SRO Motorsports Group announced at Spa that it will launch a Blancpain GT Asia Series in 2017 with six-round on the schedule.

***The final race of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup will be shown live from Barcelona on Eurosport International on Sunday, presented by sports car regulars Mark Cole and Martin Haven. The 60-minute Main Race starts at 13.00 CET (7 a.m. ET) , and will be shown around the globe on the Eurosport’s English-language International service.

***Be sure to download the official SRO Spotter Guide, which features all 33 starters for today’s race, including all the liveries and lineups. Click here to access the latest version.

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

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