Now the 2016 Blancpain GT Series season is over, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights of the past ten races. In this top-10 series, we’ll take a look at the performances that were sometimes not that obvious, but played a crucial part in the outcome of the race. We’re up to the third round of the season, and in Brands Hatch Jules Szymkowiak showed the rest of the GT world that he well and truly deserves his spot at the top.
When Jules Szymkowiak made his Blancpain GT Series sprint debut in 2015, the then 19-year-old Dutchman immediately showed potential. Unfortunately for him, his performances were not yet consistent enough, leaving many a fan wondering whether he was cut out for the job at hand.
At the HTP Motorsport squad they never lost faith in the Dutchman and for 2016 he was teamed up with tintop-legend Bernd Schneider. Even though there is a slight age difference (31 years!) between them, they got along great and they quickly reaped the rewards of their collaboration.
At Brands Hatch, the second of the 2016 sprint events, Szymkowiak managed to put the #86 Mercedes-AMG on the front row for the qualifying race. Impressive, but the real test would come in the opening stint of that first race. Szymkowiak had to take on the likes of Franck Perera, Christopher Mies, Alvaro Parente, Laurens Vanthoor or other Robin Frijns.
The Dutch youngster was not impressed by the reputation of his more experienced colleagues. After a perfect start, he took the lead passing the polesitter on the outside of Paddock Hill bend and quickly created a lead of over five seconds. He made no mistakes, kept his head cool when backmarkers showed strange behaviour and made it all look very easy. In the second half of the race Bernd Schneider had little trouble holding on to that advantage, crossing the line in first. When he got out of the car, the German multiple champion was the first to congratulate Jules Szymkowiak on a job well done.
Watch the highlights of the Brands Hatch qualifying race: