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Nürburgring Saturday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ BES Saturday Notebook from the Nürburgring…

Photo: @Nüburgring

Photo: Nüburgring

***Grégoire Demoustier is a surprise last-minute addition to the field. The Frenchman, competing in the WTCC, will make his return to GT racing with Saintéloc Racing, where he’ll join Marc Rostan and Gilles Lallement in the No. 36 Audi R8 LMS ultra. This means the French Audi will move up from the Am Cup to the Pro Am Cup.

***Marco Seefried will miss Petit Le Mans due to a conflict with the Blancpain Sprint Series event at Misano. Seefried remains in championship contention in his Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. A replacement for him at Magnus Racing for the 10-hour TUDOR Championship season finale is expected to be announced shortly.

***It’s difficult to compare prices between the new GT3s that will hit the market in 2016. It’s not always an easy task to navigate between certain manufacturers who advertise a base price and those who give a price including an endurance kit and other extras. The Ferrari 488 GT3 appears to be the most expensive car at the moment, with a price upwards of 500,000 Euros ($565,000).

***The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe continues to grow and gain momentum. More than 40 cars are expected next year. Additionally championship leader Patrick Kujala and Alberto Di Folco will get an outing in the GT3-version of the Huracán GT3 at the BSS round at Misano in two weeks’ time.

***The Boutsen Racing Ginion BMW Z4 GT3 is a write-off following its huge accident in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Belgian team is using the second TDS Racing chassis for the final Endurance race. The two teams also share the same box this weekend.

***The M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Andy Soucek, Maxi Buhk and Maxim Soulet will swap its regular No. 8 for the historic No. 31, a race-winning number for Bentley at the famous Brooklands racetrack in 1929. The Continental GT3 of title contenders Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick will continue to wear No. 7.

***Miguel Molina is making his GT3 debut this weekend. The Spanish driver follows in the footsteps of fellow Audi DTM factory aces Edoardo Mortara (Monza & Paul Ricard) and Adrien Tambay (Paul Ricard) in driving Sainteloc’s Pro Cup entered Audi. Molina will team up with Grégory Guilvert and Christopher Mies, who replaces Edward Sandström.

***Both Bentley Team HTP and ROWE Racing already raced at the Nürburgring on Pirelli tires one month ago, though the ADAC GT Masters used the shorter layout of the Eifel track. To further add to their advantage, the weekend was held in the same mixed conditions.

***TF Sport is making a guest appearance in the Series this weekend. The British squad entered an Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 for Bradley Ellis, Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluk in the Pro Am Cup, and is looking at returning full time next year. “We came here more for experience than anything else, as the drivers are looking at it potentially for next year,” said team owner Tom Ferrier.

***Michael Bartels will be driving a BMW Z4 GT3 at the Nürburgring, though he won’t join the Blancpain cars on the GP loop (pictured above). Instead the 2010 FIA GT1 World Champion will be running laps on the Nordschleife on his own. Bartels will be competing against virtual racers, on the occasion of the SimRacing EXPO.

***Reigning Blancpain Endurance and GT champion Laurens Vanthoor will be involved in the fine-tuning of the iRacing sim version of the new Audi R8 LMS GT3. “I helped in the development of the new R8 and so it will be interesting to have influenced the real and the digital version of the same car,” he said.

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


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