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GT World Challenge Europe

Paul Ricard Test Notebook

Sportscar365’s notebook from the GTWC Europe test at Circuit Paul Ricard…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***The cancelation of GTWC Europe’s opening round at Monza, on account of the Covid-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc with global motorsport calendars, means the track is absent from the series’ schedule for the first time ever.

***The circuit, located just outside Milan, has hosted the three-hour opening round of the Endurance Cup every year since its formation in 2014. This also means that the new season-opener, at Brands Hatch on May 2-3, will be the latest the series has ever gotten underway.

***GT Sports Club has had a similar schedule change to GTWC Europe on account of the cancelation of Monza, and will now race at the Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 Imola event instead of Monza.

***Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, however, couldn’t implement a similar schedule change. The Italian manufacturer’s annual World Final, where the final rounds of the Super Trofeo Europe, North America and Asia series are held before races comprising all three series’ grids, is scheduled on the same weekend.

***Furthermore, the World Final this year will take place at Misano, only around 60 miles from Imola. Lamborghini announced on Tuesday that it would make up its missed round from Monza with an additional round at Misano, during the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup weekend on July 3-5.

***The SRO Motorsports Group released another statement on Thursday evening, clarifying that is is working on contingency plans in the event that all races up to June have to be canceled. Nevertheless, Stephane Ratel says he “absolutely guarantees” a full ten-round GTWC Europe schedule.

***Louis Deletraz is testing for GPX Racing and is set to join Romain Dumas and Thomas Preining in the team’s lead car at Paul Ricard, when full-season driver Dennis Olsen is preoccupied with his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship commitments with Pfaff Motorsports.

***GPX has new black and while color schemes for its Porsches, but it’s understood these might not be final. Gulf logos remain on the car but without the traditional Gulf colors it ran last year and at the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai in January.

***Ram Racing has revealed a striking art car-style livery for its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which will be driven by Remon Vos, Tom Onslow-Cole and Martin Konrard.

***ROWE Racing is yet to confirm drivers for its Endurance Cup program, for which it has scaled back to a single Porsche 911 GT3 R. Dirk Werner, Julien Andlauer and Klaus Bachler are likely candidates for the seats.

***Walkenhorst Motorsport is testing two BMW M6 GT3s but won’t enter them in the GTWC Europe season. The German team will be present at Spa, however, due to its season-long commitment to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

***Boutsen Ginion is the only BMW team competing in the European series this season. Thierry Boutsen is present this week and had plans to drive the car on Friday. The team will run Jens Klingmann, Karim Ojjeh and Gilles Vannelet for the full-season, competing for Pro-Am honors.

***Madpanda Motorsport is yet to finalize its lineup for a full-season Silver Cup assault, but has tested potential drivers recently. Jorge Cabezas Catalan, who drove in GT4 European Series was amongst them. Team owner Ezequiel Perez Companc conducted the majority of running in recent weeks.

***The new Spanish team is sharing a pit box with HTP Winward Motorsport this week. HTP Winward’s old-gen Mercedes is driven by Indy Dontje, Philip Ellis and Bryce Ward.

***Phoenix Racing will be absent from GTWC Europe this year, instead focusing its resources on the new DTM Trophy where it will field Audi GT4 machinery.

***Raton Racing has launched a strong attack on the Am Cup with a new lineup of Miguel Ramos, Stefano Constantini and Christoph Lenz for its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

***Additional lineups are expected to be confirmed in coming weeks, although no drivers were included on the entry lists released on Thursday.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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