2016’s Blancpain GT Series campaign came to its formal conclusion last Sunday at the Tower of London where SRO’s Night of the Champions awards ceremony took place.
Attended by drivers and teams from all championships promoted and organised by the SRO Motorsports Group, the annual event again provided a wonderful opportunity to put 2016’s champions in a well-deserved spotlight.
The 2016 Blancpain GT Series proved to be an exciting affair, with the overall title, Sprint and Endurance Cups only decided on the final lap of the final race. HTP Motorsport duo Maxi Buhk and Dominik Baumann collected the trophy for the overall Blancpain GT Series drivers’ title, while their German squad also secured the teams’ crown for the first time. The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup overall winners were Garage 59 trio Rob Bell, Come Ledogar and Shane Van Gisbergen, while Belgian Audi Club Team WRT driver Enzo Ide took the highest honour in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. Their respective teams collected the teams’ trophies as well.
This year’s Pro-Am category was dominated by Michal Broniszewski and Kessel Racing who won the overall, Sprint and Endurance Cup titles. Another Kessel Racing trio – Liam Talbot, Marco Zanuttini and Vadim Gitlin – took the Am Cup in the Endurance races, but the overall and Sprint Cup Am honours went to AF Corse and Claudio Sdanewitsch.
SRO’s Night of the Champions also featured the inaugural Sean Edwards Trophy, which is awarded to a driver aged 21 or under. They must have experienced both Sprint and Endurance racing during the season, and – as well as showing both speed and skill – have demonstrated the same spirit as Sean. For the 2016 season the nominees were Luca Stolz, Jules Szymkowiak and Dries Vanthoor, with the Sean EdwardsTrophy eventually going to Jules Szymkowiak. The 21-year-old Dutchman paired up with experienced Bernd Schneider this year, took the win in the Brands Hatch Qualifying Race and finished in fourth in the overall Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup standings.
The champions in the Blancpain GT Sports Club were honoured as well, with Michal Broniszewski taking the overall drivers’ title and Martin Lanting claiming the Iron Cup for a second year running.
Stephane Ratel (Founder and CEO, SRO Motorsports Group): “2016 was another eventful and successful season, with never-before-seen starting grids for all ten races of the Blancpain GT Series. The current formula clearly works and we are aiming to make it even better next year. The British GT Championship showed some close and exciting racing and the second season of the Blancpain GT Sports Club was a success as well. Furthermore, our successful participation in the Pirelli World Challenge gives the SRO Motorsports Group a true global dimension. Next year will see the introduction of the GT4 European Series Southern Cup in Europe, we will expand the Blancpain GT Sports Club and the Intercontinental GT Challenge will get a round in the United States. In short: we are looking forward to 2017! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our drivers, teams, event promoters and partners, especially Blancpain and Pirelli, without whom it would not be possible to organise and promote our series.