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Barcelona Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s weekend notebook from the Blancpain GT Series finale at Barcelona…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel will host a press conference this evening at 6:30 p.m. local time to announce details ahead of the 2019 season. 

***Sportscar365 understands it is likely to include details of the SRO’s new ‘World Challenge’ title for manufacturers, as well as an update on the GT2 platform, both of which were initially revealed at the Total 24 Hours of Spa in July.

***Audi is set to reveal a car, likely its R8 LMS Evo, at the Paris Motor Show on Oct. 2, after hinting an unveiling on the Audi Sport Twitter account on Thursday.

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT team principal Vincent Vosse confirmed to Endurance-Info that when he went into the Attempto Racing garage during the Sprint Cup finale race at the Nürburgring two weeks ago, he did so to “ask them if they could make it easier for us”.

Vosse explained that he did not know that Attempto drivers Steijn Schothorst and Kelvin van der Linde were fighting for third in the championship, which was the reason the Dutchman didn’t let Riberas through.

***Sportscar365 understands that the introduction of minimum pit stop times in the Sprint Cup next year is now unlikely, after Ratel has been evaluating a possible implementation with teams in recent weeks.

***WRT’s Vosse is against implementing a minimum pit stop time for the Sprint Cup, telling Endurance-Info it would “be tantamount to condemning” the championship. 

***This weekend marks the final appearance of the Emil Frey Jaguar G3 which has run a partial season this year alongside the Swiss team’s pair of Lexus RC F GT3s. The nationally-homologated Jaguar has been a regular entry in series since 2012.

***It is also likely to be the last appearance of the previous-gen Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Bentley Continental GT3 as well as the Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX. With Aston Martin replacing its Vantage GT3 with a new model next year, this weekend could also mark the final appearance of a V12 car in the series.

***Aston Martin’s outgoing GT3 car ended its British GT Championship career with a championship win at Donington Park last weekend, with an Optimum Motorsport entry driven by Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh. The manufacturer placed five of its factory drivers in different British GT teams this season.

***Reiter Engineering is running a single Gallardo R-EX this weekend in what could be its final Blancpain GT appearance. Sportscar365 has learned that the Bavarian-based outfit is likely to focus entirely on its GT4 programs with the KTM X-Bow GT4 next year.

***Bentley Team M-Sport has brought two brand new Continental GT3s to Barcelona, as part of an intricate distribution of the second-gen cars to customers. This weekend’s cars will become M-Sport’s entries next season, while the cars that the Cumbria-based team ran earlier this season are in the process of being distributed to customers.

***Michael Broniszewski makes his long-awaited racing return this weekend after an injury he sustained in the paddock at Monza in April ruled him out of most of the season. He shares his No. 11 Kessel Racing Ferrari with Alessandro Pier Guidi. 

***Anders Fjordbach replaces Pierre Kaffer at Attempto Racing this weekend, joining Kim Luis Schramm and Jeffrey Schmidt in the team’s No. 55 Audi.

***The final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will return to the Nürburgring next year, with Barcelona instead hosting the Sprint Cup finale. The Endurance season will end almost a month earlier on Sept. 1 while the Barcelona date remains the same (Sept. 28-29), following a Sprint Cup race at the Hungaroring on Sept. 7-8.

***Sunday’s race will get underway at 3 p.m. local time and will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel in most regions.

***Eurosport will show the final part of the race in UK and Europe beginning at 3:30 p.m. BST / 4:30 p.m. CEST with commentary from Mark Cole and Tom Gilmor.

***More than ten championships are still up for grabs but the main battle is in the Endurance Cup overall drivers’ standings, in which 29 drivers have a chance of winning. Every driver down to joint 15th place in the standings is in contention, apart from Adam Christodoulou and Christian Krognes, neither of whom are racing this weekend.

***In the overall Blancpain GT title fight, comprising both Endurance and Sprint Cup races, Raffaele Marciello is 18.5 points clear of Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

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


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