21 cars have been confirmed for round two of this year’s Blancpain GT Sports Club on May 12-13, as SRO Motorsports Group’s Bronze-only drivers series travels to the Home of British Motor Racing for the very first time in its young history.
Blancpain GT Sports Club runners and riders will once again star on an action-packed weekend, with Silverstone also hosting the fourth meeting of the blue riband Blancpain GT Series.
Four prestigious manufacturers – BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes– are set to fly the Blancpain GT Sports Club banner at the iconic British Grand Prix venue, thus generating one of the most varied grids in GT racing.
AKKA ASP emerged victorious from the season opener in Italy, securing two wins in as many races. The team looks to extend its dominance around the fast and flowing 5.891km landmark, with Misano pole sitter and Qualifying Race winner Anthony Pons featuring among the early favourites.
Former 24 Hours of Spa class winner Mark Thomas joins him on the second AKKA ASP-entered Mercedes AMG-GT3 and hopes to pick up where the outfit left off last month.
Cédric Leimer and his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 provided the stiffest opposition to Pons at Misano with two podium finishes. The Autovitesse Garage R.Affolter driver is keen to go even stronger at Silverstone, as he chases his first victory of the season.
Driving the same model for Shipex by Ombra Racing is last year’s Blancpain GT Sports Club runner-up Nicolas Vandierendonck, who seeks to leave his challenging Misano weekend behind in a bid to get his 2017 campaign back on tracks in the UK.
In the Iron Cup, the Blancpain GT Sports Club classification reserved for pilots aged 60 and over, Kessel Racing’s Stephen Earle aims to increase the three-point lead he currently holds over Artega Rennsport’s Klaus Dieter Frers.
The US racer has stayed faithful to the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 this year, while his German rival is racing the famed Italian constructor’s 488 GT3 model. Both need to keep an eye on Louis Philippe Soenen, who remains a strong contender following his switch to Ferrari machinery with an AF Corse-run 488 GT3.
Amato Ferrari’s prestigious structure actually boasts the largest line-up at the Northamptonshire venue with no less than four entries spanning a great variety of models. Belgian ace Patrick van Glabeke is also competing at the wheel of a 488 GT3 car, while Austrian pilot Christoph Ulrich is driving a 458 Italia GT3.
AF Corse’s fourth member is Howard Blank, whose Ferrari 458 Challenge means the US racer is competing in the Cup Class, which caters to single-make cars.
Ferrari is also well represented by Swiss front-running squad Kessel Racing, which fields three 458 Italia GT3s for Stephen Earle, Alexis de Bernardi, and Fons Scheltema.
With seven cars entering the Silverstone round, Lamborghini has the second biggest contingent among the manufacturers involved. Besides Leimer’s charger and Vandierendonck’s challenger, more Huracan GT3s can be found at HP Racing in the capable hands of Coach McKansy and Daniel Vogt, as well as at Barwell Motorsport where Jon Minshaw is set to make his Blancpain GT Sports Club debut on home soil.
Boutsen Ginion round up the Lamborghini battalion with two Gallardo Extenso R-EXs entered for Frenchmen Pierre Feligioni and Claude-Yves Gosselin. GDL Racing’s Roberto Rayneri makes it four Mercedes in the field, with the Italian ace running the SLS AMG GT3 model.
Last but not least, round two will once again feature a pair of BMW chargers courtesy of former Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Karim Ojjeh’s Boutsen Ginion-entered M6 GT3 and Pierre Hirschi’s CMR-run Z4 GT3.
Friday’s Blancpain GT Sports Club action at Silverstone begins with two 30-minute practice sessions followed by a 20-minute qualifying run. The 25-minute Qualifying Race takes place on Saturday before drivers and teams return later that same day for their 40-minute Main Race.
2017 Blancpain GT Sports Club - Silverstone Provisional Entry List
Blancpain GT Sports Club Schedule: Silverstone*
Friday 12 May
10:00 - 10:30: Free Practice 1
14:05 - 14:35: Free Practice 2
16:05 - 16:25: Qualifying
Saturday 13 May
12:10 - 12:35: Qualifying Race
17:35 - 18:15: Main Race
*All times are local