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Spa Tuesday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Tuesday notebook from Spa…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Rowe Racing has withdrawn the No. 98 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 from the event. The car was entered for the entire season, with Pro Cup drivers Thomas Jäger, Indy Dontje and Nicolai Sylvest scheduled to compete at Spa. A reason for the forfeit was not given. The German team will instead focus on the No. 99 Mercedes of Daniel Juncadella, Nico Bastian and Stef Dusseldorp that recently finished fourth in the Paul Ricard 1000km.

***Aston Martin will not be represented in the Pro Cup after all. The No. 44 Oman Racing Team V12 Vantage GT3 of Jonny Adam, Daniel Lloyd and Ahmad Al Harthy sees the late addition of Jonathan Venter, downgrading the car from the Pro Cup to the Pro Am Cup. “The big decision for us this year was to move into the Pro-Am class so we needed to add a driver with the right ingredients to complete our lineup,” said team Principal David Bartrum.

***A similar situation occurred at Rinaldi Racing, now also competing in Pro Am, after local driver Stef Vancampenhoudt joined the team. The Pro Cup will now play host to 23 cars and seven brands, while the overall number of entries is down to 57.

***2014 ELMS LMP2 champion Paul-Loup Chatin is a surprise late entry in the Am Cup. The 23-year-old Frenchman will compete with the Delahaye Racing Team Porsche, one of only two 997 GT3-Rs entered in the event. Chatin is rated Gold by the official drivers’ categorization of the FIA but SRO made an exception as he has little GT experience, thus making it possible for him to compete in the Am Cup.

***BMW Team Brasil has already put both of its BMW Z4 GT3s up for sale. The cars will become available immediately after the Blancpain Sprint Series finale at Zandvoort in October, at a price of 270,000 Euros ($295,000) a piece. Team boss Antonio Hermann already confirmed to Sportscar365 they will acquire new cars for the 2016 season, likely to be the BMW M6 GT3.

***While the Brazilian team is currently in its third season of SRO competition, 2015 will mark its first participation in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. After the Silverstone round it scaled back to one car for the Endurance races, with Sergio Jimenez, Felipe Fraga and Cacá Bueno sharing the No. 77 Z4 GT3 this weekend. “I think that is a favorable track for us. I’m excited, but I don’t see us as favorites. We should be able to get in the top-10, and our goal is the top-5, which would be a great result for our first participation,” said Bueno.

***Besides the official Test Day for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, several drivers made use of the 25 Hours VW Fun Cup to further prepare themselves for the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series. Among them were Wolfgang Reip, Nico Verdonck, Maxime Soulet, Eric van de Poele, Jean-Karl Vernay, Robin Frijns, Stéphane Richelmi, Mike Parisy, Oliver Bryant, Fred Vervisch, Sacha Bottemanne, Pieter Schothorst, and many others. The British GT Championship also made an appearance in the build up to the 25-hour race.

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

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