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Paul Ricard Thursday Notebook

Laurent Mercier’s Thursday notebook from Le Castellet…

Photo: Laurent Mercier

Photo: Laurent Mercier

***The SRO Ultracar Sports Club launches this weekend. A brainchild of Stephane Ratel, the track-day style meeting for hypercars will feature a McLaren P1 GTR, Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, Aston Martin One-77 and a Lamborghini Veneno Cup.

***GT Russian Team will only field a single Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 this weekend after its second chassis was damaged in Zolder. Alexey Karachev, Alexey Vasilyev and Marko Asmer will pilot the Pro-Am Cup entry.

***Sainteloc Racing is without driver Edward Sandstrom this weekend, due to the Swede’s commitments in the ADAC GT Masters race at Spa-Francorchamps. Both MRS GT Racing and HTP Team Bentley are pulling double-duty in fielding cars in the two events.

***While temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit today, Alex Zanardi was spotted lapping the track in his hand-pedaled cycle. The Italian will make his Blancpain Endurance Series debut this weekend in a ROAL Motorsport-entered BMW Z4 GT3.

***A number of drivers are fresh off last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre, Marcel Fassler, Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Alex Buncombe, Mark Shulzhitskiy, Nicolas Lapierre, Rob Bell, Pierre Kaffer, Marco Bonanomi, Marco Seefried, Gaetan Paletou, Gilles Vannelet and Duncan Cameron.

***Attempto Racing is sporting another new livery this weekend. In addition to its usual McLaren 650S GT3, the German team is also fielding a McLaren MP4-12C for the Argentinian trio of Juan Cruz Alvarez, Gustavo Borches and Sergio Alejandro Yazbik.

***Several Blancpain Endurance Series teams will also be taking part in Sunday’s SRO GT Sports Club event with the same cars they race on Saturday. The list includes Team AKKA-ASP, TDS Racing, AF Corse, WRT, Kessel Racing, Sainteloc Racing, Attempto Racing and HTP Motorsports, although the latter with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.

***It’s a packed weekend at Paul Ricard, with nearly 150 GT cars in attendance between the Blancpain Endurance Series, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, as well as the GT and Ultracar Sports Clubs.

***With it being a 1000km race this weekend, there is a revised points system in place. 1st – 33, 2nd – 24, -19 3rd, 4th – 15 5th -12, 6th – 9 7th – 6 , 8th – 4, 9th – 10th and 2 – 1

***The rumor in the paddock at Le Mans last week indicated that Honda could be developing its NSX to GT3 specification for a possible debut in 2017. No official word has come from the Japanese manufacturer.

Laurent Mercier (@LaurentMercier2) is the Editor-in-Chief of, the leading French-language source for the latest sports car racing news from around the world.

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