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Monza Pre-Race Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ pre-race notebook for the Monza season opener

Photo: Brecht Decancq Photography

Photo: Brecht Decancq Photography

*** The No. 7 Bentley Continental GT3 that Steven Kane crashed during Qualifying yesterday will make it to the grid later today, the Bentley boys having worked all night to get it fixed in time. The car left the circuit last night to head to a local body shop, as a chassis leg got bent and had to be straightened up. The brand new Continental GT3 returned to the pitlane at 3 a.m. local time. Based on their performance from yesterday, the team is aiming for a result in the top five, as they are expecting a strong race pace and a car that is kind with its tires.

*** Full season entrant AF Racing International is not present at Monza this weekend, tough the Belgian licensed team has confirmed to Sportscar365 that it will make all the other rounds of the Blancpain Endurance Series. The team managed by José Mario Lopez faced a setback at the Dubai 24 Hours, where their first Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 had a big crash. Lopez also confirmed the team received its second Lamborghini last week, which still needs to be worked on.

*** Sales of the Bentley Continental GT3 are well underway. After selling its first customer car to Generation Bentley Racing earlier this year, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson confirmed to Sportscar365 that four additional Continental GT3s have been sold. Two of those will head to the U.S., while the other pair is destined for the Asian market. The cars M-Sport Bentley are running this weekend are both brand new chassis, the car used in the Gulf 12 Hours is now a test car.

*** Only 38 of the 40 cars on the entry list will take part in today’s race. The Emil Frey Racing Jaguar XK G3, which ended up second in Friday’s test for Bronze rated drivers once again got hit by engine troubles (wiring), while the Insight Racing with Flex-Box Ferrari crashed heavily during Pre Qualifying.

*** Today’s 38-car field is fifth smallest in the history of the Blancpain Endurance Series. In its first season the series had an average field of 32 cars per race, not including the Spa 24 Hours. Navarra at the end of the 2012 season had 39 starters. However, 12 out of the 38 cars that will compete today qualified within a second of each other.

*** SRO has once again expanded TV Coverage for its Blancpain branded series this year. After focusing on the German and Brazilian market in 2013, deals have now been made with BT Sport in the UK, RAI Sport in Italy and Eurosport. The Pan-European broadcaster will bring highlights of all 12 races and live coverage of three Sprint events and the Total 24 Hours of Spa. FOX Sports 1/2 will air highlights of the series in North America.

*** Watch lights-to-flag coverage of the 3 hours Blancpain Endurance Series race at Monza at, starting Sunday at 8:45 a.m. ET.

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

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