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Barcelona Saturday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Saturday Blancpain GT notebook from Barcelona…



***It’s been 13 years since an SRO organized series visited Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The first round of the 2003 FIA GT season was won by Matteo Bobbi and Thomas Biagi, leading an all-Ferrari 550 Maranello podium. Jean-Philippe Belloc is the only driver on this weekend’s entry list (No. 89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3) that also competed in that race.

***The final version of the entry list features only 34 cars, as the No. 90 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Raffaele Giammaria and Ezequiel Perez Companc was a no-show.

***Christopher Brück was the latest the addition to the entry list. The 31-year-old German who competed for Bentley Team Abt at the Nürburgring 24 will race alongside Alexander Matschull in the No. 458 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 458 Italia (Pro-Am). Matschull won the Pro-Am Cup at Nürburgring two weeks ago with an impressive fifth overall.

***Meanwhile, Mitsunori Takaboshi is back behind the wheel of the No. 23 RJN Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 he shares with Alex Buncombe. The Japanese Formula 3 drivers missed the last Sprint Cup round at the Hungaroring to compete in the Super GT Suzuka 1000km event and retakes the seat Lucas Ordonez kept warm for him.

***Barcelona is expected to be hard on the Pirelli tires this weekend. “It is a very abrasive track,” said Bentley driver Andy Soucek. “So even though we are going there with the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and change tires after half an hour, it can be very hard to keep your tires alive.”

***Rinaldi Racing remained at the Nürburgring following the Endurance Cup finale to compete in the eighth VLN round of the season the next weekend. The team gave the Ferrari 488 GT3 it usually campaigns in Blancpain GT its Nordschleife debut. Wochenspiegel drivers and Porsche regulars Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach finished 9th in the race.

***This weekend’s GT Sports Club entry list (Click Here) features 24 cars and six different manufacturers. The series open to GTE, GT3 and single-make cars started with 13 cars for the inaugural event almost 18 months ago and reached its peak at Paul Ricard at the end of June with 29 cars on the grid.

***With the GT Sports Club title decided in Michal Broniszewski’s favor at Spa-Francorchamps in late July, all eyes are on the Iron Cup battle – reserved for drivers aged 60 and over – currently led by reigning champion Martin Lanting. The Monegasque has won four times this year, but only enjoys an 11-point lead over main rival Stephen Earle.

***The final stop on the Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club schedule was supposed to take place at Barcelona this weekend. The event, however, has been canceled. The Ultracars joined the regular Blancpain GT bill at Brands Hatch and Paul Ricard earlier this season and featured cars like the Aston Martin Vulcan, Pagani Huayra Tempesta, McLaren P1 GTR and Ferrari LaFerrari.

***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.

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

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