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Nürburgring Friday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Blancpain Endurance Friday Nürburgring notebook …

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Fifty-five cars have shown up at the Nürburgring, instead of the originally planned 56. The Am Cup field has been reduced from 13 to 11 entries, as both the Sport Garage and Glorax Racing Ferraris have been withdrawn. This means the battle for the drivers’ title in the class has become a three-way fight between the drivers of the No. 24 Team Parker Racing Audi, No. 56 Attempto Racing Porsche and No. 111 Kessel Racing Ferrari. (up-to-date entry list)

***After the reduced grids back in 2014, the Blancpain Endurance Series enjoyed a small revival in its fifth season. The average number of entries over the five rounds is upwards of 58 GT3s. The Pro Cup is especially on the rise, with more than 20 cars vying for the overall honors.

***If Stéphane Ortelli walks away with the title on Sunday, it would make him the only two-time Pro Cup Champion in Blancpain Endurance Series history. The 45-year-old Monégasque driver claimed his first title back in 2012, together with Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase. “If I win the title, it will be my seventh major international title and I would be very happy, but I would be even happier for Frank, who has done a tremendous job for WRT and Audi and brings a lot of serenity to the team,” Ortelli said.

***Audi provided around 60 drivers and team bosses the opportunity to get to know and drive the new R8 LMS for the first time at the Nürburgring earlier this week. Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng assisted the customers during the test, which took place in mixed conditions.

***“The fact that in addition to existing customers many potential new customers that have so far been driving other brands accepted our invitation was particularly positive,” said Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, about the test.

***For the second consecutive year iRacing.com is the title sponsor of the Series’ visit to the Nürburgring, which coincides with the SimRacing EXPO at the “Ring Boulevard” exhibition center. More than 20 exhibitors are present with novelties related to virtual racing and visitors will be able to try out the simulators themselves on-site.

***Always Evolving Motorsport has carried over its black and green Pirelli World Challenge livery to the Blancpain Endurance Series this weekend, as the American team looks to gather more experience and data with the 2015-spec Nissan GT-R. The second ROWE Racing Mercedes that is making a return this weekend also features a new color scheme, which is almost entirely matt black.

***The rare Lambda Performance GT3-spec Ford GT re-emerged this week. The German company took over the project from Matech Concepts and further developed the car to compete in the ADAC GT Masters. On Wednesday Nico Verdonck and Frank Kechele tested the white Ford GT at Hockenheim, with the prospect of making a one-off return to German GT3 series at the end of season at the same track.

***Konrad Motorsport is very close to confirming its Lamborghini GT3 program for next year. Expect an announcement in the coming days. Both the 24 Hours of Dubai and Rolex 24 at Daytona are first on the agenda. Konrad is campaigning three Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars at the Nürburgring this weekend.

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

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