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Baku Thursday Notebook

Marcel ten Caat’s Thursday notebook from Baku…

Photo: Marcel ten Caat

Photo: Marcel ten Caat

***The second Baku World Challenge will be held on revised circuit on the streets of Baku. The modifications have resulted in a 2.4 miles long track, compared to 2.7 miles last year. Last year’s ‘Bus Stop’ after the first hairpin has been removed and the entry into the old city has been altered to reduce the speed. The third chicane has been removed, while the final chicane has been altered from right-to-left to left-to-right.

***GT Russian Team has a new Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 for the Baku World Challenge, following Alexey Vasiliev’s heavy crash at the Zolder round earlier this month. The silver livery is gone, red-white-blue is the new combination for the No. 177 car.

***Thirty cars will start this weekend, but more teams requested an entry for the event. Unfortunately SRO had to turn their applications down, due to a lack of space in the paddock area and logistical issues.

***Three planes were used to transport the GT3 cars, spares and equipment, as well as the cars for the supporting events. Not on the planes were the tires and as the teams prepared their race cars in the paddock area three Pirelli trucks arrived directly from Italy. Distance between Baku and Milan, some 2,600 miles.

***Boutsen Ginion Racing has confirmed it will enter its Maserati Trofeo MC in the tenth anniversary edition of the Hankook 24H Dubai in January. The team has brought the Maserati to Azerbaijan, with Renaud Kuppens and Steve Vanbellingen driving VIPs around the circuit.

***A lot has changed in Baku since the previous Baku World Challenge in November last year. Ahead of the inaugural European Games, the European Olympics, in 2015, new sports stadiums and hotels are under construction or have recently been finished.

***The Baku World Challenge will kick off tomorrow evening with the parade into the city. This year the cars will drive from the circuit to the Heydar Aliyev Center. The center recently won the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award 2014.

***Several drivers are slightly concerned about the forecasted weather for Sunday. There is an 80% chance of rain for race day, which could result in a very slippery surface during the two races. Last year’s event had several track-related delays.

Marcel ten Caat (@marceltencaat) is a contributor to Sportscar365 and other publications including

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