GT4 European Series kicks off second half of the season at Spa with 41 cars

GT4 European Series kicks off second half of the season at Spa with 41 cars

27.07.2021: • Silver Cup: CMR drivers Lémeret and Potty to defend points lead at home event • Pro-Am: Saintéloc Racing’s Guilvert and Michal the crew to beat • Am Cup: Grid boosted by strong guest entries • McLaren CEO Zak Brown to contest Spa round with Uni

•    Silver Cup: CMR drivers Lémeret and Potty to defend points lead at home event

•    Pro-Am: Saintéloc Racing’s Guilvert and Michal the crew to beat

•    Am Cup: Grid boosted by strong guest entries

•    McLaren CEO Zak Brown to contest Spa round with United Autosports

The second half of the GT4 European Series season gets underway at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend (28 – 31 July) when a 41-car grid will contest a pair of one-hour races at the legendary venue in the Belgian Ardennes.

Combining 19 medium and high-speed corners with long straights, the 7.004km circuit is arguably the most demanding on the GT4 European Series calendar and is a favourite among drivers and teams alike. In 11 of its previous 13 seasons the championship has visited the Belgian circuit and will do so this year in support of the 73rd TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.

Silver Cup: Lémeret and Potty aiming increase points advantage at Spa

Silver Cup points leaders Stephane Lémeret and Antoine Potty (#8 CMR Toyota) will be looking for victory on home soil to extend their championship lead. They head to Spa knowing that their car is capable of winning, having taken the Toyota’s maiden outright victory at the track in October 2020.

After a perfect start of the season at Monza, United Autosports drivers Charlie Fagg and Bailey Voisin finished outside the podium places at Zandvoort, but the #23 McLaren is still only 11 points back in the title fight. Behind these two, Lluc Ibanez and Xavier Lloveras (#15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG) and César Gazeau and Konstantin Lachenauer (#27 AGS Events Aston Martin) are fighting for third place. The Mercedes-AMG crew are currently four points clear of their rivals, though the #27 Aston Martin was a winner at Spa last season.

Thijmen Nabuurs and Jop Rappange lead the scrap for fifth place in the Silver Cup standings as the series heads for the Ardennes. The #17 V8 Racing Chevrolet drivers have amassed 42 points in the first six races, which gives them a small advantage over the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Zandvoort race 2 winners Paul Evrard and Timothé Buret, while the #22 Allied Racing Porsche of Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Joel Sturm and the #30 CMR Alpine of Loris Cabirou and Vincent Beltoise are not far behind.

Gus Bowers and Dean Macdonald (#32 United Autosports McLaren) will hope to get back into the fight after a weekend to forget in the Netherlands, while further entries from Team Speedcar (Audi), Saintéloc Racing (Audi), Mirage Racing (Aston Martin), Trivellato Racing by Villorba Corse (Mercedes-AMG), CD Sport (Mercedes-AMG) and AGS Events (Aston Martin) complete the 16-car Silver Cup grid at Spa.

Pro-Am Cup: who can stop Saintéloc Racing in Belgium?

A record of four wins and two further podiums from the first six races of the season has given Grégory Guilvert and Fabien Michal a comfortable lead in the Pro-Am Cup. The #42 Audi leads the championship with 136 points, 50 clear of second-placed Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (#87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG), who won the last race at Zandvoort.

Centri Porsche Ticino drivers Max Busnelli and Ivan Jacoma are third in the standings with the #718 Porsche, followed by young Italian driver Luca Bosco (#34 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes-AMG), who will be joined for the trip to Spa by local expert and former Bentley factory driver Maxime Soulet.

Team Fullmotorsport, Team Speedcar, Hella Pagid - racing one and Saintéloc Racing field the other Audi entries in Pro-Am this weekend, while BMW is represented by two cars from Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport. NM Racing Team and CD Sport fly the flag for Mercedes-AMG, while Allied Racing has opted to run one Porsche in the class The #36 Arkadia Racing Alpine completes the list of 14 full-season Pro-Am entries competing at Spa.

PROsport Racing and Optimum Motorsport will make guest appearances at Spa this weekend. PROsport Racing has entered the #63 Aston Martin for Belgian drivers Rodrigue Gillion and Nico Verdonck, while Optimum Motorsport will add another McLaren to the grid for Lars Dahmann and Charlie Hollings.

Am Cup: Title contenders to face stiff new opposition at Spa

Team Fullmotorsport drivers Michael Blanchemain and Christophe Hamon are the Am Cup leaders after six races, but they will face some fierce competition at Spa. The #69 Audi pairing heads into the Ardennes with a 15-point lead over Wilfred Cazalbon and Andrea Benezet in the #3 CMR Toyota, meaning they cannot afford any mistakes this weekend.

Third ahead of the Spa round are Paolo Meloni and Massimiliano Tresoldi (#50 W&D Racing Team BMW), closely followed by the #89 AGS Events Aston Martin of Nicolas Gomar and Eric Herr. Zandvoort podium finishers Street Art Racing (Aston Martin, Pascal Bachmann and Paul Theysgens) and AKKA ASP (Mercedes-AMG, Benjamin and Mauro Ricci) will aim for more silverware this weekend, with Street Art Racing hoping to impress in their home round.

The regular Am Cup competitors will face stiffer opposition than usual at Spa. The #33 SVC Sport Management Toyota of Piotr and Antoni Chodzen returns to the series at Spa and Bob Herber, winner of four races in 2020, is back in the #35 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes-AMG.

Completing the field for the fourth round of the 2021 season are United Autosports owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean. They will enter the Am Cup at Spa with the #230 McLaren, the third United Autosports entry this weekend.

Brown and Dean were initially set to compete at Zandvoort last month but withdrew their entry after the passing of McLaren's long-time shareholder Mansour Ojjeh. Both drivers look forward to join the grid at Spa and get behind the wheel of a modern car, having raced historic cars in recent years.

For the Chief Executive of McLaren Racing competing at Spa means a welcome return to the SRO paddock as a competitor. Brown raced a McLaren GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2012 and the British GT Championship in 2013. In 2011, exactly 10 years ago this weekend, Brown competed in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa with his own team.

GT4 European Series part of packed TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa weekend

The GT4 European Series forms part of an action-packed TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa line-up. Track activity for the series gets underway with two optional test sessions on Tuesday, while two official practice sessions take place on Thursday at 13:10 and 19:25 (CET).

Qualifying for both races is scheduled for Friday at 11:30, followed by the first competitive action of the weekend at 17:00. The second race gets underway at 12:20 on Saturday, just hours before the start of the 73rd TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa

Qualifying and the two races will be shown live on the GTWorld YouTube channel as well as the GT4 European Series website and Facebook page.

- SRO also photo


27.07.2021 / MaP

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