28.05.2012: • International field features nine McLarens vying for British bragging rights
Blancpain Endurances Series SILVERSTONE, Britain: EVENT
• International field features nine McLarens vying for British bragging rights
Blancpain Endurances Series SILVERSTONE, Britain: EVENT
The second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series visits Silverstone on June 2-3 with British bragging rights up for grabs on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
There will be nine British-bred McLarens doing battle and a total of 33 British drivers among an international field.
To add to the Britishness of the occasion, the Emil Frey Jaguar XK GT3 will makes its debut in the 2012 series. Team manager Fredy Barth will be among the driver line-up for the Swiss outfit.
The 11 brands assembled are Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Dodge, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan and Porsche with teams and drivers representing more than 20 nations.
The legendary Scottish outfit Ecurie Ecosse, run by Barwell Motorsport, will also attract strong local support for their BMW Z4. The team makes a full return to top level international competition this season, 60 years after it was first formed.
Ecurie Ecosse arrive fresh from strong performances in the most recent round of the British GT Championship at Nurburgring. Former BMW Scholarship driver Ollie Millroy, who produced a stunning performance on his GT racing debut in Monza, partners fellow Brit Joe Twyman with the third driver due to be announced shortly.
After a promising debut in difficult conditions at Monza, they are targeting a PRO-AM class podium finish at a circuit they know well.
The entry list includes former Formula One drivers Karl Wendlinger (AUT) and Mark Blundell (GBR), Le Mans 24 winner David Brabham (AUS) and endurance specialists like Stephane Ortelli (MON), along with FIA GT1 World Championship co-driver Laurens Vanthoor (BEL).
Ortelli and Vanthoor are on opposite sides of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT garage for the Blancpain. The Monegasque driver, Ortelli, spearheads Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s defence of their PRO CUP teams’ title in one of two Audi R8 LMS ultras.
He also partners Christopher Haase (DEU) who was among a quartet of drivers who shared victory in the recent Nurburgring 24-Hour Race.
Englishman Duncan Tappy is paired with Gregoire Demoustier (FRA) in the French-run ARTGrand Prix team, debutants in 2012. They were seventh in class in Monza in their McLaren GT MP4-12C and the best of the McLarens overall. The second best McLaren was the Von Ryan Racing entry of fellow-Brits of Julien and Matt Draper and Stephen Jelley.
Brit trio Alex Buncombe, Chris Ward and the latest Academy winner Jann Mardenborough fly the flag for Nissan in the GT Academy RJN Motorsport Team Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in PRO-AM.
Marc VDS Racing will chase a fourth straight Blancpain Endurance Series victory in PRO CUP with Belgian pair Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders and Finland’s Markus Palttala.
Their BMW Z4 secured victory in treacherous conditions in the opening round at Monza in April, thanks to a stunning closing stint by Martin on a rain-sodden Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Prior to that, wins also came at Magny Cours and at the season-finale at Silverstone in 2011. Pole position at the Total 24 Hours of Spa was also a highlight last season. Two weeks’ ago they were fourth overall at Nurburgring.
The Marc VDS crew will face strong opposition from the Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia of Italians Stefano Gattuso, Davide Rigon and Daniel Zampieri, the PRO CUP pole-sitters on home soil.
In the Gentlemen Trophy class Kessel Racing’s Paolo Andreasi (VEN), Pablo Paladino (ARG) and Beniamino Caccia (CHE) in the Ferrari 430 Scuderia upstaged the defending teams’ champions Ruffier Racing (Lamborghini LP 520+) at Monza.
Ruffier’s Georges Cabannes (FRA), Fabien Thuner (SWI) and Romain Brandela (FRA) were fourth in Monza just behind the fellow French outfit Sainteloc Racing in the Audi R8 LMS and the GCR Racing Dodge Viper. The battle for class honours will be every bit as intense at Silverstone.
Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, promoters of the Blancpain Endurance Series, is delighted to be bringing the series to Silverstone for the second consecutive year.
“It is a pleasure to be able to provide the British motorsport public with truly world class sportscar racing featuring a superb field of cars, teams and drivers,” he said.
“Last year, Silverstone played host to a thrilling finale of the series and we can expect more of the same this year with plenty of British interest not the least of which is the appearance of the iconic Jaguar marque – the very essence of Britain - on the grid.
“The battle between the McLarens will also be keenly fought. The two-day format, sought after by the teams and drivers, will ensure a lively weekend.”
The action starts at Silverstone on Saturday 2nd June with Free Practice, Pre-Qualifying and Qualifying. The three-hour Race starts at 12:45 local time on Sunday.
Blancpain is the title sponsor and official timekeeper with commercial and technical support for the series comes in the shape of Michelin as the official tyre supplier and Audi as the official car supplier. Hexis, a long-time supporter of the SRO Motorsports Group, continues as official partner.
Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Blancpain, said: “With 57 cars entered for the first race in Monza, the Blancpain Endurance Series confirms its success. This second season will be exciting. As a driver, I am really looking forward to being back on the mythical racetrack of Silverstone. I like this fast track and Peter (Kox) is very strong there. We hope that the British weather will be mild."
Blancpain Endurance Series – 2012 calendar
April 13th – 15th Monza, Itlay June 2nd – 3rd Silverstone, UK June 29th – July 1st Paul Ricard, France July 25th – 29th Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium September 22nd – 23rd Nurburgring, Germany October 13th – 14th Navarra, Spain
How to follow the Blancpain Endurance Series:
Live streaming of each race will also be shown on the official web site www.blancpainendurance-series.com
Watch the 2012 season preview on the Blancpain Endurance Series Youtube channel.
Read David Addison’s blog Moonlighting at www.blancpain-endurance-series.com
The series will feature in live broadcast across 22 channels globally with a number of other key broadcasters showing extended highlights in territories such as Europe, Australia, North America and Latin America.
Bloomberg Television will also broadcast highlights worldwide (Americas, Pan Euro, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific). That all adds up to a global audience reach of over 350 million homes.
Motors TV will carry live coverage to viewers in over 20 countries across Europe.
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