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Driver Lineups Confirmed in 52-Car Entry for Endurance Opener

Largest GTWC Europe grid outside Spa since 2018 set for season-opener at Imola…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

SRO Motorsports Group has released a 52-car entry list confirming the driver lineups for next weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season-opener at Imola.

A total of 17 crews are set to compete for overall honors in the Pro division, while the new Gold Cup category has attracted 13 entries for its maiden event.

The field is completed by a class-record 18 cars in Silver Cup and four in Pro-Am, with the quartet of categories combining for the series’ largest grid outside the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa since 2018. That season’s Barcelona finale attracted 53 entries.

Most of the driving crews have already been announced by their teams, however some gaps have been filled following the publication of the Imola entry list.

Newly-signed McLaren factory driver Marvin Kirchhofer slots into the JOTA McLaren 720S GT3 alongside the returning Rob Bell and Oliver Wilkinson.

Kirchhofer, who previously raced for the R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad, replaces former McLaren factory ace Ben Barnicoat who moved to Lexus during the winter.

Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella return to the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in an all-factory driver trio.

The French team will also contest the Silver Cup class with its No. 87 AMG. The roster includes Russian-born Konstantin Tereschenko who is registered under a neutral FIA flag in accordance with rules laid out by the global motorsport federation.

AKKA-ASP was also considering an Endurance Cup entry involving Russian driver Timur Boguslavskiy, however that has not materialized. He is aiming to race in Sprint Cup.

Attempto Racing has signed Finnish racer Juuso Puhakka to its Pro lineup alongside Audi Sport factory drivers Markus Winkelhock and Dennis Marschall.

Puhakka drove a Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG in the Silver class of last year’s Sprint Cup. Marschall remains at Attempto for another year, while Winkelhock joins the German squad after previously working with Sainteloc Racing.

To-be-announced drivers include the third member of Garage 59’s Silver Cup McLaren crew, and the co-driver to Ben Barker and James Dorlin at Barwell Motorsport.

Alex Malykhin was named as the designated Bronze in the No. 78 Gold-class Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo earlier this month but is not shown on the Imola list.

No teams have dropped out of the Endurance Cup since the publication of an increased 52-car full-season entry in early March.

Audi is the best-represented brand in the field with 12 examples of its updated R8 LMS GT3 Evo II product heading to Italy, while Mercedes-AMG is represented by 11 entries.

Teams running McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin and Lamborghini machinery also appear in the Pro class, while Bentley is represented by CMR’s single Continental GT3 which is running in Pro-Am.

Defending Imola winners Kelvin van der Linde and Mirko Bortolotti line up in the No. 32 Team WRT Audi and the No. 63 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini respectively.

A field of 46 cars contested the Endurance Cup’s first and most recent visit to Imola at the start of the 2020 season, which van der Linde and Bortolotti won alongside Matthieu Vaxiviere in a WRT Audi.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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