Brands Hatch was the arena for the opener of the Blancpain Series on Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May. The weather over the weekend was with the usual ups and downs ..... cold, wind hail, rain and occasional sun. We were certainly not allowed to complain because their colleagues at Spa Francorchamp were allowed to race with snow for the WEC 6hours or Spa Francorchamps.
Under these harsh weather conditions, the field was split into the GT World Challenge Europe, the GT4 European Series, the Porshe Club championships and the Toyo Tires 7 Race Series.
The Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe kicked off at Brands Hatch, on this legendary Grand Prix Circuit, a line up of 26 racing supercars from the world’s leading manufacturers.
The Audi R8 LMS GT3 is strongly represented in this race with no less than 12 cars, including four cars of The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, with Belgian star driver, Dries Vanthoor, who shares the seat with Ezequiel Perez Companc, and Britain’s Tom Camble, who will co-drive his Audi R8 with Shae Davis.
Other star drivers amongst Audi’s ranks, include Fredderic Vervisch (Phoenix Racing) and Markus Winkelhock (Sainteloc Racing). Vervisch will share his Phoenix Rang Audi R8 with Briton Finlay Hutchinson and Winkelhock will be supported by Steven Palette in his Audi R8 for Sainteloc Racing. Frank Stippler and Kim-Luis Schramm complete the line-up for Phoenix Racing. Sainteloc Racing was represented by 3 cars, one featured by Nyls Stievenart and Stephane Ortelle and another by Simon Gachet and Christopher Haase. Three Audis had been entered by Attempto Racing and this ensuring the German manufacturer makes up for almost half of the grid.
Another opponent for Audi was the Mercedes AMG, with five cars entering for the new season. This includes the reigning champion Raffaele Marciello in the first of four Akka ASP Team GT3s, alongside his new partner Vincent Abri. Another strong line-up in the Mercedes AMG ranks and winner at Brands Hatch will be the Black Falcon of Maro Engel and Luca Stolz.
The Italian Job, four Lamborghini Huracan GT3s will be on the grid for this race. The first Italian Bull is for GRT Grasser Racing Team with Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti on the wheel. Phil Keen should be another Lamborghini driver for the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team and he shares the Lamborghini with Hiroshi Hamaguchi. The sister car of Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli ought to be competitive too and shared second place on the podium on Sunday.
Three Ferrari 488 GT3s will add more Italian flair to the grid together with the two R-Motorsport prepared Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3s
The GT4 European Series were well represented at Brands Hatch with 10 GT4 manufactures as Alpine Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Kris, Ginetta, KTM, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche.
McLaren drivers Daniel Mckay and Benjamin Lessennes lead the series after claiming a victory at Monza last month. The Equipe Verschuur duo mastered the difficult conditions in Italy in their McLaren 570S GT4. Euan McKay, brother of Daniel McKay will race the Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4.
Academy Motorsport has entered two new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4s for the race at Brands Hatch. Fiona James will partner Tom Wood in one car in the Pro-Am category , whilst Will Moore and Matthew Cowley race the other Aston Martin in the Silver Cup.
Former Aston Martin and Bentley driver Andy Meyrick drove one of the two Mercedes AMG GT4s in the Pro-Am Classe.
A sole Audi R8LMS GT4 has been entered by Phoenix Racing for Nicolaj Moller, who is defending the Silver Cup Champion. Schede Motorsport is back at Brands Hatch and team owner, Phillip Berthke and former FIA GT1 World Champs Marc Basseng, will co-drive one of the two Mercedes AMG GT4s.
With a line up of 30 cars the Porsche Club Championship, with Pirelli and Classic Restoracing Championship, opens the battle for the Porsche Cayman S and Boxster S.
After a fantastic opening event at Spa Francorchamps and this time under the Easter sun, it’s time for the Toyo 7 Race Series to come home to Brands Hatch, or as I like to say, Little Spa Francorchamps, with an entry list of 41 cars, including 31 cars in the 420R class.