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Silverstone Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s weekend notebook from the Blancpain GT Series round at Silverstone…

Photo: Bentley

***The entire Bentley Team M-Sport crew assembled for a group photo outside its pit box to honor Guy Smith on Friday (pictured). The 43-year-old announced earlier in the week that this race would be his last as a Bentley factory driver, and that he will now focus on supporting the brand’s customer programs.

***His achievements include winning the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans with Bentley and 2011 American Le Mans Series title. He was also part of the lineup that gave the previous-gen Bentley Continental GT3 its first win in this race four years ago.

***Fifty cars are on the final entry list for tomorrow’s three-hour race, following the withdrawal of the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS and No. 11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3. The Ferrari misses its second consecutive round with Michael Broniszewski still recovering from injuries sustained at Monza.

***Maro Engel is competing in both the Blancpain GT Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship this weekend and will fly in from Germany in time for qualifying on Sunday morning. He finished eighth in the Berlin E-Prix on Saturday evening.

***Several further driver lineup changes have been made since the release of the provisional entry list, including Giovanni Venturini replacing the Super GT-bound Marco Mapelli in the No. 19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

***ROWE Racing has switched around its new lineups with John Edwards, Ricky Collard and Nick Yelloly in the No. 98 BMW M6 GT3 and Jens Klingmann, Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn in the No. 99 car.

***Despite winning the second Sprint Cup race at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, Frederic Vervisch doesn’t have any more Blancpain GT races in his schedule. He could compete in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, and has told Sportscar365 it would not necessarily be with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

***The minimum pit stop time for refuelling this weekend is 64 seconds. 

***Sainteloc Racing will run a pair of Audis at Spa, with one in the Pro Cup and another in the Am category. Defending race winners Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase will be joined by a currently unannounced third driver in the Audi Sport Team Sainteloc entry, while the Am car will be driven by Simon Gachet, Nyls Stievenart, Marc Rostan and Christian Kelders.

***Winkelhock and Haase won’t be joined by their 2017 co-winner Jules Gounon, who has since become a Bentley factory driver and will compete in the race with the M-Sport squad.

***A pair of second-place finishes at Brands Hatch has promoted Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies to the lead of the overall standings while they are joined by Endurance co-driver Dries Vanthoor at the top of the Endurance Cup points following their Monza victory.

***The Silverstone round has been part of the series since 2011 and six different manufacturers have claimed victory in seven races. No brand has been able to win twice since BMW’s Marc VDS entry won in 2011 and 2012. Since 2013, Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Lamborghini have all won the race once.

***Blancpain GT is the first major series to race at Silverstone since the circuit was resurfaced earlier in the year for the first time since 1996.

***The race will get underway at 3 p.m. local time on Sunday and will be streamed live on the series’ website and GT World YouTube channel.

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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