2013 Blancpain Endurance Series Season Preview

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2013 Blancpain Endurance Series Season Preview

Now into its third year, the Blancpain Endurance Series features Grand Tourer racing cars modified from production road cars that comply with the FIA’s GT3 & GT4 regulations.  Sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Blancpain, the series is running five 2013 races, the first three events in Monza, Silverstone and Paul Ricard being three hour events, the race in Spa a twenty-four hour affair, with the fifth at the Nurburgring lasting for 1000 kilometers.

The teams are divided into three categories – the GT3 Professional class, the GT3 Pro/Am class, and the GT3 Gentleman class.  GT3 Pro sees solely professional drivers, while the GT3 Pro/Am class has teams with mixed professional and Amateur drivers.  The GT3 Gentlemans class is for drivers using cars that are at least one year old.

The series sees a whole array of manufacturers providing cars, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Nissan, and Aston Martin, most of them entering more than one class.  We also get to see a whole host of top class and highly rated racing drivers on show, including Oliver Jarvis, Alexander Sims, Alvaro Parente, Rene Rast, Andy Soucek, Yelmer Buurman, Maxime Martin, Markus Winkelhock & a whole host of others.  Its a series growing, with over 60 entries for the first round in Monza, a big increase on 2012, especially in the Professional class.

The 2012 GT3 Pro Drivers Champions were Christopher Haase, Stephane Ortelli and Christopher Mies, while the team award went to Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.  The GT3 Pro/Am honours went to Louis Machiels & Niek Hommerson for the drivers, and AF Corse for the teams.  The GT3 Gentlemans class was won by Robert Hissom and Pierre Hirschi for the drivers, and Sainteloc Racing for the teams.

So who starts out as favourites?  The Audi team look strong on paper, however the series implements extensive performance balancing and handicap weights to try and artifically make the cars more equal on the road.  Many teams have good drivers, so it should be up to them to get the various cars to the front.  It could be an interesting season.

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GT3 PRO Teams

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT – Audi R8 LMS Ultra
1 – Stephane Ortelli – Monaco / Laurens Vanthoor – Belgium / Rene Rast – Germany
2 – Edward Sandstrom – Sweden / Frank Stippler – Germany / Christopher Mies – Germany
13 – Rahel Frey – Switzerland / Niki Mayr-Melnhof – Austria / Matt Halliday – Australia

Marc VDS Racing Team – BMW Z4
3 – Bas Leinders – Belgium / Maxime Martin – Belgium / Yelmer Buurman – Netherlands
4 – Henri Moser – Switzerland / Markus Palttala – Finland / Nick Catsburg – Netherlands

Phoenix Racing – Audi R8 LMS Ultra
6 – Oliver Jarvis – Great Britain / Christopher Haase – Germany / Harold Primat – Switzerland
16 – Enzo Ide – Belgium / Anthony Kumpen – Belgium / Markus Winkelhock – Germany

Hexis Racing – McLaren MP4-12C
7 – Alvaro Parente – Portugal / Alexander Sims – Great Britain / Stef Dusseldorp – Netherlands

ART Grand Prix – McLaren MP4-12C
11 – Antoine Leclerc – France / Andy Soucek – Spain / Mike Parisy – France

JRM Motorsport – Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3
23 – Lucas Luhr – Germany / Steven Kane – Great Britain / Peter Dumbreck – Great Britain

Vita4one Racing – BMW Z4
26 – Franck Kechele – Germany / Greg Franchi – Belgium / Stephano Colombo – Italy
27 – Stefano Cressoni – Italy / Matias Russo – Argentina / Martin Matzke – Czech Republic

Sainteloc Racing – Audi R8 LMS Ultra
40 – Gregory Guilvert – France / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA

Kessel Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
44 – Daniel Zampieri – Italy / Cesar Ramos – Brazil / Davide Rigon – Italy

Vita4one Team Italy – Ferrari 458 Italia
57 – Eugenio Amos – Italy / Giacomo Petrobelli – Italy / Francesco Castellacci – Italy

Gulf Racing – McLaren MP4-12C
69 – Rob Bell – Great Britain / Adam Carroll – Great Britain / Nico Verdonck – Belgium

SMP Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
71 – Kirill Ladygin – Russia / Victor Shaitar – Russia / Mikhail Aleshin – Russia

Prospeed Competition – Porsche 997 GT3 R
75 – Maxime Soulet – Belgium / Xavier Maassen – Netherlands / Marc Hennerici – Germany

Young Driver AMR / Emil Frey Racing – Aston Martin Vantage GT3
80 – Fredy Barth – Switzerland / Lorenz Frey – Switzerland / Gabriele Gardel – Switzerland

SMG Challenge – Porsche 997 GT3 R
83 – Marco Mapelli – Italy / Eric Clement – France / Nicolas Armindo – France

Fortec Motorsport – Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
62 – Withdrew from Monza weekend due to late arrival of sponsorship – aim to run from round 2
63 – Withdrew from Monza weekend due to late arrival of sponsorship – aim to run from round 2

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GT3 Pro/Am Teams

Boutsen Ginion – McLaren MP4-12C
5 – Koen Wauters – Belgium / David Dermont – France / Frederic Vervich – Belgium

Haribo Racing Team – Porsche 997 GT3 R
8 – Hans Guido Riegel – Germany / Mike Stursberg – Germany / Emmanuel Collard – France

Gulf Racing – McLaren MP4-12C
9 – Mike Wainwright – Great Britain / Andy Meyrick – Great Britain

ART Grand Prix – McLaren MP4-12C
12 – Gregoire Demoustier – France / Gilles Vannelet – France / Yann Goudy – France

Insight Racing with Flex Box – Ferrari 458 Italia
17 – Dennis Anderson – Denmark / Martin Jensen – Denmark

Black Falcon – Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
18 – Klaas Hummel – Netherlands / Steve Jans – Luxembourg / Adam Christodoulou – Great Britain

Preci Spark – Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
22 – David Jones – Great Britain / Godfrey Jones – Great Britain

Blancpain Racing – Lamborghini LP560-4
24 – Marc A. Hayek – Switzerland / Peter Kox – Netherlands

TDS Racing – BMW Z4
25 – Henry Hassid – France / Ludovic Badey – France

Nissan GT Academy Team RJN – Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3
32 – Wolfgang Reip – Germany / Mark Shulzhitskiy – Russia / Peter Pyzera – Germany
35 – Lucas Ordonez – Spain / Alex Buncombe – Great Britain / Steve Doherty – United States

Pro GT by Almeras – Porsche 997 GT3 R
33 – Eric Dermont – France / Franck Perera – France

Saintloc Racing – Audi R8 LMS Ultra
42 – Ronnie Latinne – Belgium / David Hallyday – France / Romain Monti – France

ROAL Motorsport – BMW Z4
43 – Edoardo Liberati – Italy / Michela Cerruti – Italy / Mario Ferraris – Italy

Prospeed Competition – Porsche 997 GT3 R
48 – Charles Putman – United States / Charles Espenlaub – United States / Joe Foster – United States

AF Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia
50 – Niek Hommerson – Netherlands / Louis Machiels – Belgium / Andrea Bertolini – Italy

Mtech Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
54 – Jake Rattenbury – Great Britain / Andrew Danyliw – Canada / Stephen Jelly – United States
55 – Diego Menendez – Argentina / Fabian Taraborelli – Argentina / Jorge Ginaz – Argentina

SMP Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
70 – Alexey Basov – Russia / Alexander Skryabin – Russia / Alessandro Pier Guidi – Italy
72 – Boris Rotenberg – Russia / Sergey Zlobin – Russia / Daniil Move – Russia
73 – Yuri Evstigneev – Russia / Alexander Frolov – Russia / Devi Markozov – Russia

MRS GT Racing – McLaren MP4-12C
77 – Rodin Younessi – United States / Carlos Kray – Brazil / Philipp Eng – Austria

GRT Grasser-Racing Team – Lamborghini LP560-4
78 – Hari Proczyk – Austria / Gerhard Tweraser – Austria / Gottfried Grasser – Austria

Von Ryan Racing – McLaren MP4-12C
88 – Leon Price – South Africa / Rob Barff – Great Britain / Jordan Grogor – South Africa

Beechdean AMR – Aston Martin Vantage GT3
99 – Andrew Howard – Great Britain / Jonny Adam – Great Britain / Daniel Mckenzie – Great Britain

Kessel Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
111 – Marco Zanuttini – Italy / Stefano Gattuso – Italy / Thomas Kemenater – Germany

Team Ukraine – Ferrari 458 Italia
123 – TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA

JRM Motorsport – Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3
230 – Matt Bell – Great Britain / Charles Bateman – Great Britain / Humaid Al Masaood – United Arab Emirates

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GT3 Gentleman’s Class Teams

SOFREV Auto Sport Promotion – Ferrari 458 Italia
10 – Gabriel Balthazard – France / Maurice Ricci – France / Jerome Policand – France
20 – Jean-Luc Beaubelique – France / Jean-Luc Blanchemain – France / Patrice Goueslard – France

Boutsen Ginion – McLaren MP4-12C
15 – Karim Ojjeh – Saudi Arabia / Marlene Broggi – Belgium / TBA – TBA

Black Falcon – Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
19 – Robert Hissom – Great Britain / Oliver Morley – Great Britain / Andreii Lebad – Germany

Pro GT by Almeras – Porsche 997 GT3 R
34 – Christian Blugeon – France / Nicolas Armengol – Switzerland / Philippe Giauque – France

Sainteloc Racing – Audi R8 LMS Ultra
41 – Pierre Hirschi – Switzerland / Marc Sourd – France / Claude-Yves Gosselin – France

AF Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia
51 – Filipe Barreiros – Portugal / Francisco Guedes – Portugal / Raffaele Giannoni – Italy

Sport Garage – Ferrari 458 Italia
52 – George Cabanne – France / Romain Brandela – France / Lionel Comole – France
53 – Leonardo Gorinni – Italy / Thierry Stepec – France / Thierry Prignault – France

Delahaye Racing – Porsche 997 GT3 R
58 – Christian Kelders – Belgium / Daniel Desbrueres – France

ARC Bratislava – Porsche 997 GT3 R
66 – Miro Konopka – Slovakia / Ahmed Al Harty – Oman

Kessel Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia
79 – Lorenzo Bontempelli – Italy / Beniamino Caccia – Italy / Alessandro Garofano – Italy

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2013 Blancpain Endurance Series Race Schedule

Round 1: Autodromo Nazionale Monza – 14th April; Round 2: Silverstone Circuit – 02nd June; Round 3: Circuit Paul Ricard – 30th June; Round 4 – Total 24 Hours of Spa – 28th July; Round 5 – Nurburgring – 22nd September.

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