Final preparations for the 2018 Blancpain GT Series season begun today with teams and drivers completing the first day of testing at Circuit Paul Ricard.
A total of 45 cars are at the French circuit for the two-day official test, with each of the 11 manufacturers that will contest the 2018 season in attendance.
Clear skies and bright sunshine greeted them when the morning session began at 09:00 local time, ensuring that engines were quickly firing up as cars headed out of the garages.
There was particular focus on tyre work, with series suppliers Pirelli having produced a new specification for the 2018 campaign, while teams were also getting to grips with the recently-resurfaced Paul Ricard track.
This led to a busy few hours of work for the competitors, with several cars notching up in excess of 70 laps before the lunch break.
The #30 Team Parker machine paced the morning session with their Bentley Continental GT3 edging out a quartet of Mercedes-AMG cars. The #49 Ram Racing effort was second fastest followed by the #6 Black Falcon, the #42 Strakka Racing effort and the #4 Black Falcon.
And Team Parker completed a strong first day by remaining on top in the afternoon session, proving that there’s life in their older-spec Continental GT3 yet.
There was greater variety among the pace-setters after the lunch break, with four manufacturers occupying the top four spots. The Bentley was followed by Attempto Racing’s #66 Audi, while the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG showed well again with the third quickest lap. P4 belonged to the Lamborghini of Team Lazarus, with the #42 Strakka Mercedes-AMG completing the top five.
With the exception of a few brief red flag periods it proved to be a clean day on-track, allowing teams and drivers to work through their test programmes. They will return to the circuit tomorrow at 09:00 local time, once again running through to 13:00 and then from 14:00 to a 17:00 chequered flag.
Test Day 1 Morning Session Result List : click here
Test Day 1 Afternoon Session Result List : click here