In Moscow Lamborghini (#88 Reiter Engineering Gallardo of Albert Von Thurn und Taxis and Nick Catsburg) and Bentley (#84 Bentley Team HTP of Maxi Buhk and Vincent Abril) joined the ranks of race winners of the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series, the fastest GT series on the planet, an exclusive circle which already counted BMW and Audi as its members.
Championship leaders Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor had a difficult end of the first half of the season and with their #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 they only managed a fifth place in the main race of the Russian round. That means that even though they had a perfect weekend in Brands Hatch and Zolder, the Belgian-Dutch pairing arrives in Portugal with just fifteen points in hand over the Bentley-duo of Buhk and Abril. With 102 points still to play for, an exciting second half of the season seems guaranteed.
Especially since Maxi Buhk and Vincent Abril are not the only title rivals for series leaders Frijns and Vanthoor. Even though Valdeno Brito and Atila Abreu missed the opening round in Nogaro and have yet to stand on the top step of a rostrum in 2015, the Brazilian drivers are only 19 points behind the leaders. The Algarve round is held at the Autodromo Internacional in Portimao, which forms the European base of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil. One might consider it to be a home race for the yellow-and-green machines, and Brito and Abreu will do everything it takes to conquer their first win of the season in Portugal.
It would be the second victory for the Brazilian squad however, since talented substitutes Dirk Müller and Maxime Martin opened the score in Nogaro. The 31 points scored in France come in very handy in the teams’ standings, where BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil sits in second place, 16 points behind Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. However, the Belgian squad has the advantage of having three cars regularly scoring points – Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi are in fourth in the driver standings – whereas the Brazilians have to defend their chances with two cars.
Another duo vying for their first win of the season are Ferrari drivers Norbert Siedler and Marco Seefried. In 2015 their green Rinaldi Racing 458 Italia has been on the front two rows of the main race three times already – twice on the front row even – but due to bad luck and racing incidents the Austrian-German pairing only managed one podium finish, in Moscow. It is clear that the car and the drivers have a lot potential, so count on them to be at the sharp of the field in Algarve.
The Portuguese round of the Blancpain Sprint Series, which hosts also the 3rd round of the GT Sports Club, starts with an exhibition and a parade in Portimao on Thursday September 3rd. From 17:00 onwards the cars will be in front of the Santa Catarina Fortress, while the parade will start at 20:15. It will be followed by an autograph session with the Blancpain Sprints Series drivers.
Thursday 3 September
17:00 – 21:00 Parade & Autograph session in Portimao
Friday 4 September
13:45 – 15:05 Free Practice 1
15:45 – 17:05 Free Practice 2
Saturday 5 September
09:45 - 10:40 Qualifying Practice (live TV)
14:15 – 15:15 Qualifying Race (live TV)
Sunday 6 September
08:50 – 09:10 Warm-up
14:05 – 15:05 Main Race (live TV)
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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 ten years, the Manufacture has indeed developed no less than 35 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.
SRO Motorsports Group - The architect of modern GT Racing
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 2015, 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 Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the newly-created GT Sports Club and Ultracar Sports Club. SRO Motorsports Group has various franchise agreements, including the GT4 European Series.
SRO Motorsports Group runs also the SRO Race Centre by MMC, a high-level technical centre at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France.
SRO has offices in London, Paris and Liège.