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Baku Weekend Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ weekend notebook from the Baku World Challenge…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Organizers didn’t manage to build the Baku World Challenge street circuit overnight. While on track action was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. local time, it soon became clear there was still a lot of work to do. The concrete curbstones had to be changed as they were already showing signs of decay; the track layout was also altered at the final chicane before pit entry.

On Sunday morning locals made the mistake of pouring contaminated sea water on a very cold track resulting in additional delays. Despite some concerns during the buildup, the circuit received praise from several drivers and produced quite a show during Sundays Main Race. Local authorities and Aztexnika are keen to make the event a permanent fixture on the international motorsport calendar.

***Callaway Competition is finalizing the design of the new Corvette C7 GT3 racer. While production of the first chassis has yet to begin, Callaway remains confident the car will have a successful development year in 2014 before bringing it on the market in 2015. The deadline for the first chassis to be rolling is September 2014 as a BoP-test will be held then.

There are some concerns though whether the for 2016 new GT regulations will still leave some room for private tuners to develop their own race cars. A common chassis between for ‘GT+’ and ‘GT’ could mean that Pratt & Miller would most likely build the chassis.

***With the recent announcement of the calendar and new Blancpain Sprint Series name, most teams are already considering their options for next season and several have expressed their intention to return to Stéphane Ratels sprint championship.

Newly crowned champions WRT will most likely opt for a similar program next year, entering both Blancpain championships with a yet to be determined number of cars. Together with Sébastien Loeb Racing the Belgian Audi team will start pre-season testing mid-December at the Navarra circuit in Northern Spain. In addition, Italian squad Bhai Tech Racing recently expressed interest in switching to the Blancpain Sprint Series with its two McLarens after clinching the GTS-title in the international GT Open this year.

***BMW Team Brasil has given up on its plan to go to Le Mans and will instead remain focused on returning to the series next year, along with an attack on the 24 Hours of Spa, an intention that failed to materialize this year.

***HTP Gravity Charouz has put all of its three Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 on sale. Team manager Jarek Janis – who was back behind the wheel this weekend – isn’t pondering to stop racing with the SLS, but is looking for a good deal on the cars that already have significant mileage on them and remains open-minded for new opportunities in the future. For 2014 the Czech team is considering entering the European Le Mans Series (GTC) or ADAC GT Masters, but could as well return the Blancpain Sprint Series as the team now has valuable experience in the series.

*** Maxime Martin’s racing program hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the Belgian driver made it very clear that he wants to race in DTM in the near future. “BMW knows my goal is DTM, so I’m waiting for them to make the next step,” Martin told Sportscar365. The Belgian already tested BMW’s M3 DTM-car on several occasions and was official reserve driver for the German manufacturer this year. An announcement is expected at BMW’s annual motorsport party at the beginning of December.

*** Watch highlights of the Baku World Challenge at

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

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