At the Nürburgring, the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup will see seven driver pairings still in contention for the overall drivers’ title, with four teams competing for the teams’ title. The Pro-Am category crown is still on the cards for two driver pairings and two teams, and even the overall Blancpain GT Series could be decided during the weekend of September 16th and 17th. There is plenty to look forward to!
Unlike previous years, the Nürburgring event of the Blancpain GT Series now hosts the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. Two one-hour races will be held on the Grand Prix-circuit of the legendary Eifel track.
Fourteen drivers still have a shot at the drivers title, which has never happened before in the history of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. This should come as no surprise however, as the four main races of the 2017 season were won by four different pairings, with a fifth duo claiming a win in a qualifying race.
The title fight will certainly go down the wire with Mirko Bortolotti-Christian Engelhart (#63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, 57 pts.), Dries Vanthoor-Marcel Fässler (#5 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, 56 pts.), Stuart Leonard-Robin Frijns (#17 Team WRT Audi, 56 pts.) and Markus Winkelhock-Will Stevens (#2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, 54 pts.) all within six points of the leaders #84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport-pairing Maxi Buhk and Franck Perera (60 pts.).
The chances are that the new Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champions will be one of the aforementioned duos, although four more drivers also have a mathematical chance of taking the trophy home. With 34 points up for grabs during the final weekend, Vincent Abril-Steven Kane (#7 Bentley Team M-Sport, 32 pts.) and Pieter Schothorst-Jake Dennis (#3 Team WRT Audi, 27 pts.) would need a perfect weekend and a complete off-day for all their rivals in order to secure the crown.
In the teams’ standings of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will try to protect their 13-point advantage over sister squad Team WRT and GRT Grasser Racing Team (70 pts. each) with HTP Motorsport a further point behind.
Pro-Am: Ferrari vs. Ferrari
Both the Silver Cup and Am Cup category of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup were decided at the penultimate round in Budapest. Jules Szymkowiak, Fabian Schiller and HTP Motorsport are this year’s Silver Cup winners, with Stephen Earle, David Perel and Kessel Racing taking the honours in the Am Cup category.
The Pro-Am category is still wide open though. Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz (#333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari) have won three of the four sprint rounds this season, but by finishing second in all four main races of the 2017 series, rookies Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam (#39 Kessel Racing TP12 Ferrari) are only thirteen points behind their Ferrari colleagues. In the teams’ Pro-Am standings, the gap between the Rinaldi and Kessel squads is even smaller – ten points – thanks to the win of defending champions Broniszewski and Piccini (#11 Kessel Racing Ferrari) in Zolder.
Blancpain GT Series: will the championship be decided at the Nürburgring?
The Sprint round at the 5,137 km long Grand Prix-track of the Nürburgring is also the penultimate round of the overall Blancpain GT Series, which means that the title fight in the fastest GT championship of the motorsports planet could also be decided. If Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart (leading with 18 points) and the GRT Grasser Racing Team (12 points) manage to extend their advantage to 27 points, they will be the new champions, even before the final round in Barcelona at the beginning of next month. In the Pro-Am Cup driver championship the same goes for Alexander Mattschull, with both Rinaldi Racing and Kessel Racing able to claim the overall Pro-Am teams’ crown at the Nürburgring, since the Ferrari squads are only separated by one point in the standings.
David Perel looks set to claim the overall Am Cup title without turning a wheel at the Nürburgring, for his competitors are absent in the Eifel. Kessel Racing was already certain of the overall Am Cup teams’ title after the previous round in Budapest.
It’s clear there will be plenty of exciting racing to look forward to at the Nürburgring, but the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup is not the only race series present at the iconic track. With the close racing of the Formula Renault Northern European Cup, the sheer power of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and the outstanding GT competition from the GT4 European Series Northern Cup, there will be plenty of track action, with eight race starts in total.
The qualifying race starts at 14.00 on Saturday September 16th, with the all-deciding main race getting underway at 15.30 on Sunday afternoon. You can also follow the action on our website or on our social media channels.