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Moscow Thursday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Thursday notebook from Moscow…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency/SRO

Photo: Vision Sport Agency/SRO

***All 18 cars taking part in this weekend’s race, which marks the halfway point of the season, were on display at the Red Square today. Cars were transported in their trailers more than 70 miles from Moscow Raceway to the city center. On-track action starts tomorrow afternoon with two free practice sessions.

***There’s a considerable Russian presence on the Blancpain Sprint Series grid this weekend. Besides the GT Russian Team Mercedes SLS AMG GT3s with amateur drivers Alexey Karachev and Alexey Vasilyev, and the Russian-backed Rinaldi Racing Ferrari, Nissan fields a GT-R NISMO GT3 for Mark Shulzhitskiy while Attempto Racing enters a Porsche for Ivan Samarin.

***SMP Racing looked set to spice up the grid this weekend with no less than three Ferraris and drivers such as Andrea Bertolini, Mikhail Aleshin, Victor Shaytar and Kirill Ladygin. However, as the event was relocated to the outskirts of Moscow, the team decided to withdraw its cars. “We managed to find partners for a street race but they were not necessarily ready to follow us to the Moscow Raceway,” the team said in a statement.

***The No. 84 Bentley Team HTP Continental GT3 of Maxi Buhk and Vincent Abril will feature a special livery this weekend to support the Only Watch charity event. Abril will join drivers like Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of this auction organized by the Monegasque Association against Myopathies which, to this day, gave about 16 million Euros to the scientific and medical research.

***SRO previously visited the Moscow Raceway in 2012 with the GT1 World Championship, which had then switched to GT3 cars in what turned out the be the final season of the series. The Hexis Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3 of Fred Makowiecki and Stef Dusseldorp won the Championship Race back then.

*** has been named title sponsor of the Blancpain Endurance Series race at the Nurburging on Sept. 19-20. This marks the second consecutive year the online motorsports simulation service sponsors the Blancpain Endurance Series’ visit to the legendary German circuit which coincides with SimRacing EXPO at the “ring boulevard” exhibition center.

Laurent Mercier 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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