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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Spa Test Day Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s notebook from the official test day for the Total 24 Hours of Spa…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***The official test day for the Total 24 Hours of Spa on Tuesday saw cars take to the track for eight hours of running at in the Ardennes, while the provisional entry list for the Blancpain GT Series blue riband event was released between the two sessions.

***Sixty-eight cars, including 30 Pro Cup entries, are set to make the start of the race for its 70th running on July 28-29 with a total of 13 manufacturers represented, the most since the race adopted GT3 machinery.

***JAS Motorsport will run the Castrol Honda Racing entry in the Honda NSX GT3’s Blancpain GT debut after the car’s global customer program was revealed at the race last year.

***The Bronze-rated co-drivers for Esteban Guerrieri and Bertrand Baguette have not been announced although Riccardo Patrese, who made 256 Formula 1 starts between 1977 and 1993 is understood to be in the running. Honda touring car driver Tiago Montiero has also been spotted in the paddock today. 

***Walkenhorst Motorsport has added a one-off Pro Cup entry to its full-season Am Cup program. Its No. 34 BMW M6 GT3 will be driven by works drivers Tom Blomqvist and Philipp Eng as well as Silver-rated Christian Krognes.

***ROWE Racing is yet to announce the drivers for its pair of Pro Cup BMWs although it has run both cars today with Marco Wittmann and John Edwards amongst the drivers testing.

***HTP Motorsport will make its series return with a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s including a works-supported car for Edoardo Mortara, Renger van der Zande and Gary Paffett, while Kenny Habul, Thomas Jaeger and Bernd Schneider will pilot a SunEnergy1-backed entry.

***ABB FIA Formula E Championship race-winner Felix Rosenqvist will serve as Ram Racing’s fourth driver in its No. 49 Mercedes, driving alongside Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Darren Burke. The full-season trio picked up the Pro-Am win at Silverstone in May.

***2016 Blancpain GT champion Dominik Baumann will replace Alex Brundle at R-Motorsport for Spa, and possibly the season-finale at Barcelona. The team has stated that Brundle “will now prioritize R-Motorsport’s 2019 program”. Baumann is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with 3GT Racing this season and scored the class win at Mid-Ohio in May.

***Adam Christodoulou joins Black Falcon’s Pro-Am entry as the fourth driver after competing with AKKA ASP in the last two races. He sits third in the Endurance Cup standings with a second and fourth-place finish at Silverstone and Paul Ricard.

***Black Swan Racing has signed Marc Lieb and Marc Miller to race with Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen in its No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The American outfit finished third overall and won the Pro-Am class at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February and has committed to the remainder of the IGTC season.

***Michael Broniszewski and the No. 11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 are set to return to action following a heavy crash at Monza which left the Polish driver injured. The team, which planned to do the full Endurance and Sprint season, has missed the last four rounds. 

***2015 British GT GT4 champion Ross Gunn has been added to Oman Racing with TF Sport’s lineup to partner Ahmad Al Harthy, Charlie Eastwood and Euan McKay while 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD class winner Rik Breukers will drive the No. 78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

***Olivier Pla tested with Garage 59 today in its No. 58 McLaren 650S GT3 which led for most of the Paul Ricard 1000 km last month. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing WEC driver hasn’t competed in the race since 2015.

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s plans to run a fourth Audi R8 LMS GT3 didn’t materialize, with the long-time Blancpain GT squad instead focusing on a three-car program. It includes two works-supported cars, with one driven by championship leaders Dries Vanthoor, Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies and a one-off car for Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Nico Mueller.

***A handful of British GT and Blancpain GT Sports Club teams took to the track today to test at the circuit ahead of their races later this month. The two championships, as well as the GT4 European Series, will run at Spa on the weekend prior to the 24-hour race as part of the SRO Speedweek.

***Several WeatherTech Championship drivers flew from New York to Belgium following Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen and will return across the pond to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend to complete the North American series’ double-header.

***The next official on-track action will be the Bronze Test on Tuesday, July 24, while all competitors will be allowed on track for Free Practice on the Thursday of race week.

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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