***The Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup grid boasts a lot of color in 2017. Several teams, including Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, have opted for new liveries on their cars in an effort to make them easier to identify. A group photo was organized before the start of the first practice session (pictured above).
***There have been little to no changes to the Misano entry list since it was released at Paul Ricard. One of the final driver lineups to be confirmed was Saintéloc Racing’s No. 26 Audi R8 LMS, which will be driven by Christopher Haase and Romain Monti. Both drivers already competed for the team last year, but have been put together after scaling back to a single entry.
***Two full-season drivers are absent this weekend because of their Formula E commitments. Both Antonio Felix da Costa and Robin Frijns will be competing (as teammates) in Mexico this weekend with Amlin Andretti. Audi DTM driver Jamie Green will replace the latter in the No. 17 Team WRT Audi, while Tom Blomqvist takes Da Costa’s seat in the No. 98 ROWE BMW M6 GT3 alongside Philipp Eng.
***ISR has withdrawn its second Endurance Cup entry after failing to attract any additional entries. The Czech team had initially entered two cars for both Sprint and Endurance. Frank Stippler and Kevin Ceccon are in the No. 74 Audi this weekend, while Filip Salaquarda and Clemens Schmid share the No. 75 car. Stippler, Schmid and Salaquarda will pilot the single Endurance Cup entry.
***Click here for the latest version of the 34-car Sprint Cup entry list for Misano. SRO has another two series running in the support program this weekend with the Blancpain GT Series Sports (entry list) Club and GT4 European Series Northern Cup (entry list), bringing the total number of cars racing under the SRO umbrella up to 93 cars.
***New WRT Audi recruit Marcel Fässler received an offer from Toyota to race at Le Mans this year. However, the Swiss driver turned it down to instead focus on his Blancpain GT and Corvette programs. “I was pretty happy to know that I got an offer from them to drive their third car at Le Mans,” he told Sportscar365 in Misano. “Obviously I’m Audi contracted, so I could not do it. In the end it would not have been possible because I would’ve had too many clashes with Blancpain.”
***Following a positive evaluation after the Paul Ricard test days, each car will have large see-through numbers on the windscreen to help in identification this year.
***Track limits have always been an issue at Misano. It’s no different this year as the the first practice session was marred with plenty of track limit warnings. Misano is a circuit where a lot of lap time can be gained by cutting certain corners and going wide at others.
***Eurosport TV kicks off its extensive Blancpain GT Series live coverage at Misano this weekend, airing Sunday’s main race at 11:30 a.m. BST, 12:30 p.m. CET. Mark Cole and Martin Haven present the British and International Eurosport English commentary, which will include highlights of Saturday’s one-hour qualifying night race on the Rimini circuit before the main race is shown live.