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GT World Challenge Europe

Ten Brands in 49-Strong Endurance Cup Field

Ten brands for Endurance Cup, steady growth in GT World Challenge Europe…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Ten manufacturers will be represented in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this season as part of a 49-car entry list released by the SRO Motorsports Group on Wednesday.

The grid will be a similar size to last season, with additional entries at the Paul Ricard 1000km and Total 24 Hours of Spa in the summer.

It includes entries representing Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.

Several teams, including those running Aston Martin, Audi, Lamborghini and Porsches, will all be competing with new-for-2019 cars, either through Evo upgrade kits or outright new models.

Blancpain GT powerhouse teams such as AKKA ASP, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Grasser Racing Team will all return with multi-car entries.

Many new outfits, including some which have already announced entries, will make their series debuts, including the likes of GPX Racing, Orange 1 FFF Racing Team and Tech 1 Racing.

Of note, the likes of Garage 59 and ROWE Racing have switched from their long-time partner manufacturers to Aston Martin and Porsche, respectively.

Lamborghini is the best represented manufacturer in the field, with 12 cars spread throughout the Pro, Pro-Am, Silver and Am classes.

“I am pleased to see another extremely healthy entry list for the Blancpain GT Series and to welcome a number of new and returning teams to the paddock this season,” said SRO Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“We are also particularly thankful to the teams that have been most faithful to the series and continue to race with us year after year.

“The Endurance Cup grid remains at the same extremely high level that we have become accustomed to, with ten brands represented in 2019, extending the long run of success that the category has enjoyed since its creation.

“Among this year’s entrants, we will see the first full season in Endurance for Honda with its NSX GT3, as well as a number of new and updated cars from our existing brands.”

Growth in Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe

A 24-car entry list in Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe sees growth in the sprint championship, up from 20 cars for the full season last year.

It comprises a field of Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Aston Martin machinery.

Ten of the entries are Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos, while Audi outfit WRT and Mercedes-AMG customer AKKA ASP have each entered four cars as the largest contingents on the grid.

The GT World Challenge Europe series replaces the Sprint Cup and brings the SRO’s European sprint series in line with its equivalents in North America and Asia.

Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have both committed to the global World Challenge initiative, and have three and five cars for the European races, respectively.

“There is also a healthy grid for the launch of Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe,” Ratel added.

“The numbers are up from last year’s Sprint Cup field and competitors are clearly excited by the new GT World Challenge concept.”

“Overall, we can see increased balance between professional and non-professional drivers this season. This was a founding principle of our series and remains a matter of great importance.

“We have put significant work into this area and I am glad to see that it is paying off.”

The Blancpain GT Endurance Cup gets underway at Monza on April 12-14, before races at Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Spa and Barcelona, while GT World Challenge Europe starts at Brands Hatch on May 4-5.

The series’ pre-season test is currently taking place at Paul Ricard with sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.

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

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