***GT Russian Team welcomed two new drivers to its lineup this weekend. Roman Mavlanov replaces team owner Alexey Vasilyev in the No. 71 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. The 21-year-old Russian, who won the International GT Open in 2014, teams up with Platinum-rated Marko Asmer, therefor the car is no longer eligible to compete in the Pro-Am Cup. Meanwhile, Indy Dontje, who already raced with the team in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, takes Christophe Bouchut’s seat in the No. 70 SLS.
***The late addition of Dontje means there are now six Dutch drivers on the entry list. The other local drivers are Nick Catsburg, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Max Van Splunteren, Jules Szymkowiak and title favorite Robin Frijns. Click Here to check the final version of the entry list.
***Prior to finishing second in last weekend’s eighth VLN race of the season, the brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 completed an endurance test. The car was subjected to a 30-hour run at the undulating Portimao track.
***As previously reported on Sportscar365, ex-Formula One ace Olivier Panis is working on his own LMP2 project alongside French soccer star Fabien Barthez. Panis is currently Vincent Abril’s manager, which could open a door for the young French talent to expand into prototype racing. Abril told Sportscar365 he’ll test the LMP2 car during the winter months, but he’s still very much focussed on GT3 racing, with the aim of securing a factory drive as soon as possible.
***Two teams enjoyed a small head start this weekend. Both Benltey Team HTP and Reiter Engineering entered two cars in the penultimate round of the ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort a couple of weeks ago. The German GT3 series also runs Pirelli tires, but features a different BoP.
***Frédéric Vervisch’s original aim was to compete in Blancpain Sprint this season, but as ISR’s lineups for BSS were already full, the Belgian ace instead competed in the Endurance races for the Czech team. Vervisch showed his speed on several occasions and often outpaced teammate and Audi LMP1 factory driver Marco Bonanomi.
***Jeroen Bleekemolen was a surprise last minute addition to entry list. This weekend will mark the Dutchman’s first outing in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, though the versatile driver already has some experience with the GTE-spec 458, competing in last year’s Fuji FIA WEC round.
***The Fjordbach twins returned to the series last weekend at Misano after skipping the Moscow and Algarve rounds. However, Thomas Fjordbach is not at Zandvoort as he’ll be racing in Audi R8 LMS Cup at Fuji, where he’s currently third in the standings with two rounds to go.
***Following Marc VDS Racing’s shock announcement that it will cease its car racing activities, SRO felt the need to remind everyone that it is not mandatory for a team to participate in the full Blancpain GT Series season in order to enter a car in the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa.
***For a specific model of car to be eligible to compete in rounds of the Pro category of the 2016 Blancpain GT Series, at least two cars of that model must be entered in all rounds (Endurance and Sprint), with at least one in the Pro category.
***BMW works driver and former BSS competitor Alex Zanardi will participate in the famous long-distance Ironman triathlon in Hawaii for the second time today. Zanardi will compete in this ultimate endurance test over a total distance of 226.255 kilometres solely with the power of his arms. On his debut last year, Zanardi completed the event in a time of 9:47:14 hours. He was 272nd overall of the 2,187 athletes to reach the finish.