iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 to decide 2014 Blancpain Endurance Titles

15 September 2014 iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 to decide 2014 Blancpain Endurance Titles
Next weekend, the iconic Nürburgring will host the final round of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series. The fight for this year’s titles is still wide open in all three categories, with several drivers and teams hoping for a favourable outcome. The iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 is a six-hour race, the second longest race of the season after the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The length of the race and the unpredictable Eifel weather conditions should produce an unforgettable season finale, especially since the regular Blancpain Endurance Series participants will be joined by some interesting new drivers and teams.

Pro Cup: Vanthoor against them all

The Pro Cup has the largest number of remaining title candidates. In the Drivers’ standings, no fewer than six driver combinations are still in contention for this year’s title. After his win in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Laurens Vanthoor is leading the standings. The Belgian is the only driver on the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT who still has a shot at the title, due to the team’s line-up changes for Spa. Vanthoor now has a seven point lead over the #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi trio of Sandström-Ortelli-Guilvert. In the knowledge that the winner of the iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 gets 33 points and the drivers of the second placed car 24, it is clear that if either of the two Audi cars wins its class, its driver(s) will also conquer the 2014 Pro Cup title.

But chances are that this will be more than a two-way fight. Andy Meyrick, Guy Smith and Steven Kane – who won the Silverstone and Le Castellet rounds with their #7 M-Sport Bentley – are only 15 points behind Vanthoor. Three further driver pairings have a mathematical chance at the title (Demoustier-Parente on the #98 ART Grand Prix McLaren, Primat-Verdonck on the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes and Nash-Stippler-Mies on the #3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi), but they all need a win on Sunday, with Vanthoor not finishing in the top six.

In the Teams’ classification five teams can conquer the 2014 Pro Cup title. Their perfect score at the Total 24 Hours of Spa gave the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT the lead, with 89 points, but M-Sport Bentley, Sainteloc Racing, ART Grand Prix and HTP Motorsport still nourish some title ambitions. Of these five squads, Sainteloc Racing is the only team with a single entry in the Pro Cup category, all others have two cars at the Nürburgring.
There will be fourteen cars entered in the Pro Cup, with the #888 Triple 888 Racing BMW making its second appearance of the season, after having raced in the Pro-Am Cup at Silverstone.

Pro-Am Cup: Italy vs. Britain

In the Pro-Am Cup the Drivers’ title will probably be the subject of a duel between Andrea Rizzoli (#90 Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari) and Andrew Smith, Alasdair McCaig and Oliver Bryant (#79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW). Due to his improved driver classification (from Bronze to Silver) Rizzoli will have to look for different team-mates for the Nürburgring though. The Ferrari and BMW drivers are separated by twelve points in the standings and although they clearly have the better title chances, there is still a third driver combination that might leave the Nürburgring as the new champions in the Pro-Am Cup. To do so Richard Abra, Mark Poole, Joe Osborne and their #38 MP Motorsport AMR Aston Martin will have to cross the line in first, and hope that their competitors do not score too many points.

The top two in the Pro-Am Cup Teams’ standings reflect the Drivers’ classification, but together with MP Motorsport AMR (6th in the standings) TDS Racing, AF Corse and Nissan GT Academy Team RJN are still in contention for the title as well. The latter have slightly altered the line-up of their #35 car, with Wolfgang Reip – one of the drivers that took the team to the title last year – making his first appearance on the car this year. Together with TDS Racing, the Nissan squad is also the only teams’ title contender with two entries in the Pro-Am Cup.

Some new teams make the Pro-Am Cup entry list 19 cars strong. The German Audi Race Experience enters an Audi R8 LMS ultra, while the GT Russian Team hopes to shine with their Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. After having raced in the category for the first time at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi is again racing in the Pro-Am Cup as well. 24-year-old single-seater talent Stephane Richelmi will make his Series’ debut at the wheel of the Audi.

Gentlemen Trophy: Duel among Ferraristi

Only two teams and two driver pairings are still vying for the 2014 crown in the Gentlemen Trophy. After their class win in the Total 24 Hours of Spa Francisco Guedes and Peter Mann (who will share the #51 AF Corse Ferrari with Filipe Barreiros at the Nürburgring) have a 22-point lead over Alexander Mattschull and Frank Schmickler. The GT Corse by Rinaldi duo (rejoined by Pierre Ehret for the final round) may have scored three wins in a row at the first three rounds of the season, their lack of points at Spa left them with a big mountain to climb at the Nürburgring. The difference in the Teams’ standings is less important (16 points) but with two cars at the start, against the single Ferrari for GT Corse by Rinaldi, AF Corse is the clear favourite in that battle.

One new entry in the Gentlemen Trophy at the Nürburgring, although the names of the team and drivers are very familiar. Karim Ojjeh and Olivier Grotz have left the Pro-Am Cup and swapped their McLaren MP4-12C for a BMW Z4, still driving for the Belgian Boutsen Ginion squad.

As you can see, the final round of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series promises to be exciting from start to finish. The on-track action starts on Friday and the start of the iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 will be given at 11:45 on Sunday morning. Motorsports fans attending the iRacing.com Nürburgring 1000 will also have the opportunity to test iRacing throughout the race weekend at the SimRacingExpo 2014, which will be held in the exposition centre adjacent to the circuit.

---

---

Useful information

Blancpain Endurance Series: Round 5 of 5 – Nürburgring (DEU)
September 19th – September 21st, 2014
4.556 km / 12-turn race circuit
Race Duration: 1000kms/6-hours maximum

Points awarded for each class as follows:
1st: 33 points; 2nd 24 points; 3rd: 19 points; 4th: 15 points; 5th: 12 points ; 6th: 9 points ; 7th: 6 points; 8th: 4 points; 9th: 2 points; 10th: 1 point

Event Schedule (All times CET):

Friday 19th September
Bronze Test Session: 16.55-17.55

Saturday 20th September
Free Practice: 09.10-10.40
Pre-Qualifying: 12.55-14.25
Qualifying Practice: 17.15-18.15

Sunday, 21st September
Main Race: 11.45-17.45

Live streaming and timing here - http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/endurance/live

-------

More information

Press Images & Results : www.blancpain-GT-series/pressmembers

Twitter: www.twitter.com/BlancpainGT

Facebook : Blancpain GT Series

_____

Blancpain - Innovation is our Tradition

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.

--

iRacing.com

The company was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry and subsequently released as iRacing.com in August 2008. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, McLaren Electronics, Williams F1, Volkswagen, Ford, the Skip Barber Racing School, GM, BMW and Toyota.  

____

SRO Motorsports Group

SRO Motorsports Group was founded by Stephane Ratel and has specialised in the promotion, support and organisation of many national and international motorsport series since 1995.

In 2014, SRO promotes several championships and series, such as the Blancpain GT Series with the Blancpain Sprint Series and the Blancpain Endurance Series, including the iconic Total 24 hours of Spa, the Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and has various franchise agreements including the GT4 European Series.

SRO has offices in London, Paris and Liège.
_____

@V-Images/Eric Fabre