If you want Classic Motorsport? One word…Blancpain.
The 1st Round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance Championship was action packed with thrills spills and one of the biggest pile ups in Circuit Racing’s History.
The 2017 Season brings much change. Pirelli have come out with a with a brand new compound for GT Racing, but most notably a lot of the driver line ups have changed. New teams have joined the ever growing category with big names like Walkenhorst, Strakka, Black Falcon & SMP Racing.
After the exhilarating three hours concluded it was the #63 Grasser Lamborghini that crossed the finish line first, the star studded line up of Christian Engelhart, Andrea Caldarelli & Mirko Bortolotti performed a faultless race and effectively sprinted away from the rest of the field. Co-incidentally their team car the #16 was involved in the lap 1 shunt that eliminated themselves and 10 others, the incident unfolded at the head of the pack when the #7 Bentley squeezed the #16 car onto the grass causing him to spin into the charging pack dominoing into an enormous! pile up.
Second place was going to be the #75 ISR Audi, but with 6 minutes to go the R8’s left rear tyre delaminated under braking for turn 1 and Clemens Schmid had to park the car on the side of the road. So, therefore, crossing the line in second was the Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo & Alessandro Pier Guidi driven #50 Ferrari. The AF Corse car had a stellar race and didn’t really put a foot wrong. The 488 sat behind the ISR Audi for a lot of the race waiting for an invitation to get past, but he RSVP’d when the Audi’s tyre went up in smoke like their chances of finishing on the podium
In 3rd place was a car and team that flew underneath the radar for a lot of the time. The #84 HTP Merc. Maxi Buhk started the AMG and managed to get through the 1st lap crash by taking to the grass and “basically hoping for the best” he said. Buhk got through safe and sound only driving over a polystyrene braking marker. After the restart he charged on up through the field getting from 13th to 4th within an hour.
5th place was a car that seemed to be in a street fight all race. The number 55 Macro Cioci, James Calado, Giancarlo Fisichella driven Kaspersky Ferrari making up a lot of places in the hands of James Calado hustling its way in the last pit stop up to fifth.
6th was our pole sitter the SMP Ferrari which had a miserable race and unfortunately dropped like a stone through the field until Davide Rigon jumped in for the final stint, but the team that caused much controversy was next- Bentley Team M-Sport with their number 8 car came across the line in 7th place. It was a hard fought 7th as the car literally looked like it was being bullied by everyone else. Controversy aside Vincent Abril, Andy Soucek & Maxime Soulet drove a fantastic race and did the enough passing to deserve Holiday.
Pro-Am was taken out by TF Sport and their stunning Aston Martin, Johnny Adam passing the Kessel Ferrari for the lead on the Penultimate lap and taking the win. His co-driver Ahmad Al Harthy drove a super double stint and hoped out the car like he had being lying on the beach for the last two hours. Overall it was a great effort by the TF Squad and a solid result to start off their Blancpain Debut Season.
The Am race was looking like it was going to be the Renaldi Racing’s but when the car caught fire in the final stint they handed the victory to the “Lebanon is Calling” crew, Davide Rizzo bringing the car home for team mates Alex Demirdjian & Abbie Eaton who becomes the first female driver to win in class in the Blancpain GT Series.
The next round takes us North to sunny Brands Hatch for the second sprint event, the races being held on the 6th and 7th of May.