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Brands Hatch Notebook

Vincent Wouter’s pre-race notebook for the Blancpain Sprint Series…

Photo: Brecht Decancq Photography

Photo: Brecht Decancq Photography

***The Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R that was set to make its Blancpain Sprint Series debut this weekend didn’t make it past the first free practice session. Swiss driver Philip Frommenwiler lost control after running wide on the exit of the Westfield Bend and subsequently ended up in the armco barriers on the other side of the track, crashing his car head on. The car sustained chassis damage and will have to return to the factory.

***Farnbacher Racing, however, is hoping to return to the series as soon as possible and is in talks with its backers to see what’s possible. The season finale on the Baku street circuit in Azerbaijan is definitely something Farnbacher Racing is interested in.

***The cars and the drivers’ helmets of BMW Team Brasil feature special stickers this weekend with the message: ‘Ayrton Senna Sempre’. The message takes place in partnership with the Ayrton Senna Institute, which is a realization of the dream of the legendary driver, who wanted to offer development opportunities to all Brazilians and children in particular.

“We are currently the only 100 percent Brazilian team present in the Blancpain GT Series, the best supported and most competitive GT competition in the world,” said team principal Antonio Hermann. “Like Senna, we are very proud to take the flag of Brazil around the world and even more proud to help promote the important educational work that is being done by the Institute Ayrton Senna.”

***This weekend’s Blancpain Sprint Series event marks the first time since 1996 that an international Stéphane Ratel-organized series will visit Brands Hatch. The venue played host to the BPR Global GT Series 18 years ago, with the 4 Hours of Brands Hatch, which was won by the Porsche 911 GT1 of Hans-Joachim Stuck and Thierry Boutsen. BPR was an organization led by Ratel, Jürgen Barth and Patrick Peter.

***ROAL Motorsport driver Alex Zanardi was appointed as a new BMW Brand Ambassador this week. In this role the BMW works driver will not only represent the brand by competing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, but also off the race-track at various events world-wide. “BMW is like a second family, and over the past years we did not only enjoyed great times together at the track, but we have also become close friends,” said Zanardi.

***For the 47-year-old Italian, the Kent venue holds good memories. During the London Paralympics, the Brands Hatch racetrack was the scene of the handbike competitions back in 2012, where he won two gold medals and one silver. “For me Brands Hatch has proved a very special place, as the memories from the Paralympics are still fresh with me, and then to come back and do so well in my BMW is just amazing,” said Zanardi after qualifying.

***As was announced yesterday, CBS Sports Network will televise same-day coverage of the Blancpain GT Series. The network has scheduled a two-hour show starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon, with the races being shown “as live.” International viewers can still get access to all the action via the following link:

***Be sure to download the official SRO Spotter Guide for the Blancpain Sprint Series round at Brands Hatch, which features all 19 starters in tomorrow’s races. It’s the perfect resource for keeping track of driver, team and livery details. Click Here to download.

Arne Simons contributed to this report.

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

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