Just like the French track of Nogaro, host of the inaugural round of the new Blancpain Sprint Series, the Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch is considered to be a mid-downforce, lower speed circuit. One might expect the same teams and drivers at the narrow end of the field, but the differences in France were so small that the races in Kent may well have a totally different outcome.
In particular, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT pairing of Cesar Ramos and Laurens Vanthoor will be determined to completely erase the bad memories of Nogaro. The winners of the Qualifying Race were involved in an incident during the formation lap of the Main Race, and were never able to defend their chances. The HTP Motorsport duo of Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Buhk took full advantage of the confusion at the start to quickly open up a gap and they were never threatened on their way to the first win of the season.
Expect those teams and drivers to be at the front in Brands Hatch again, but also pay attention to the drivers who were not present at the opening round. FIA GT Series race winner Stefan Rosina joins forces with Tomas Enge in the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini, while the Porsche 997 GT3R of Farnbacher Racing could well be among the contenders for a podium finish as well. The first Porsche of the 2014 series will be shared by Swiss GT-specialist Philipp Frommenwiler and crowd favourite Nick Tandy.
In the Silver Cup, all eyes will be on Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski. The French-Polish drivers created a surprise in Nogaro by not only winning their Silver Cup category – reserved for Silver drivers of 25 and younger – but also by finishing third overall. It immediately made them firm favourites for the inaugural Silver Cup title. However, rest assured that the competition in the category will take the fight to the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT duo.
In the Pro-Am Trophy, the Blancpain Racing Lamborghini driven by Peter Kox and Blancpain President & CEO Marc A. Hayek will now have competition from the Austrian duo of Sascha Halek and Stefan Landmann at the wheel of the Grasser Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL II. Marc Basseng and Italo-Briton Alessandro Latif, driving the Phoenix Racing Audi, are now racing in the Pro-Am Trophy as well.
There is one driver for whom Brands Hatch is a very special venue. It is at this track that in September 2012 Alex Zanardi took two Gold Medals at the London Paralympics, winning both the road race and the time trial in the H4 handbike competition. The Italian, who was heading for a points finish in Nogaro until a clutch problem on his ROAL Motorsport BMW dropped him to 13th, will certainly want to do well on the track that has brought him so much joy in the past.
Laurens Vanthoor (Belgian Audi Club Team WRT): “There is no use on lingering on what happened in Nogaro. We had a perfect weekend there, from free practice to the qualifying race, and what happened afterwards was not our fault. It can only motivate us to do well again in Brands Hatch. I don’t know the circuit that well – I have only driven on the Indy circuit with an F3 car – but based on my simulator sessions I gather this track should suit our Audi well. The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit has a challenging layout and a driver willing to push the limits will surely make the difference here.”
Sérgio Jimenez (BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil): “Brands Hatch is a new track for everyone. We hope that the circuit will suit us well, because it’s a track with a high average speed, which is a good thing for the BMW Z4 GT3. Everything indicates that we will have a more competitive race than in France. We will not have much time to set up the car, however. The weekend will be short, with free practice and the qualifying on Saturday and the two races on Sunday. So it is important to start well and I believe we can do so. Our intention is to have another podium finish, and by doing so hold our position among the frontrunners in the standings.”
Over 275 years of tradition in motion:
Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the watch brand bearing his name is the oldest in the world. Blancpain is currently engaged to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking and to passing on exceptional expertise from one generation to the next through constant investment in human resources, production facilities and research. This approach is its strength and the expression of our long-term vision, even though it goes against the tide of a certain tendency to seek immediate profit. From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Over the past nine years, the Manufacture has indeed developed no less than 32 new calibres.
Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the sportive L-evolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection, the high complication from Le Brassus collection and the Women models.
Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier
Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.
Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past.The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.