The Blancpain GT Sports Club returns to action following a four-week break for its second round of the 2016 season at Brands Hatch this weekend (May 7/8) where a 20-car entry will be attempting to dethrone early pace-setter Mario Cordoni.
SRO’s sportscar championship reserved for amateur drivers brings together and balances the performance of GTE, GT3 and single-make ‘Trophy’ cars, generating one of the most varied grids in GT racing.
And that will most definitely be the case at Brands Hatch this weekend when six manufacturers and nine different models battle it out around Britain’s fast and furious nine-turn, 3.916km-long former Grand Prix circuit.
No less than nine Ferraris (seven 458 GT3s and two 458 GTEs) will take the start of Sunday’s 25-minute Qualifying and 40-minute Main races. AF Corse and Kessel Racing each enter four Prancing Horses, while AKKA ASP brings a single GTE variant.
Audi also has six entries courtesy of its ever popular R8 LMS ultra GT3, half of which are prepared by Sainteloc Junior Team. Two Mercedes, one of which is the new AMG GT3 model, will provide a thunderous soundtrack, while Lamborghini, BMW and Corvette are also represented.
With the championship entering only its second season and no previous Brands Hatch results to consult the smart money should once again be on Cordoni whose chief Misano sparring partner, Nicolas Misslin, isn’t racing this weekend. The Italian enjoys a two-point championship lead thanks, in part, to his Main Race victory on home soil at the start of the season.
But Cordoni’s AF Corse-run Ferrari is not the only major player in town. Former ELMS GTE Am champion Anthony Pons finished third in Misano’s Qualifying Race while Nicolas Vandierendonck will be eager to improve on his fifth place aboard the distinctive Corvette C6 ZR1 GTE.
Michal Broniszewski has swept all before him in the Blancpain GT Series’ Pro-Am Cup class this season, so don’t be surprised to see his Kessel Racing Ferrari amongst the front-runners here, while Patrick Van Glabeke will be hoping that a switch to the 458 GT3 allows him to deliver his full potential following a problematic first outing with the new 488 in Misano.
Also look out for series newcomer Karim Ojjeh; the former Le Mans 24 Hours class winner brings a new-generation BMW M6, run by Boutsen Ginion Racing, to Kent.
With Misano’s double overall podium finisher and Iron Cup points leader Pierguiseppe Perazzini opting to skip Brands, the way has been left clear for other drivers over the age of 60 to make their mark. Chief among them will be reigning class champion Martin Lanting who finished second behind the Italian in Misano’s Main Race. Double podium finisher Stephen Earle should also be at the sharp end along with 2015 Iron Cup runner-up Louis Philippe Soenen.
Blancpain GT Sports Club’s track action at Brands Hatch begins at 11.50 local time on Saturday 7 May.