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. In Silverstone, the second endurance race of the season, the fight for the Pro-Am honours was only decided in the final minutes of the race, with Black Falcon-driver Maro Engel climbing from third to first in the last two laps.
The Pro-Am category in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup always produces close racing, but in Silverstone it looked like the #74 ISR Audi would take the class win. Franck Perera had qualified the car on the front row of the grid and together with team-mates Henry Hassid and Philippe Giauque they dominated the Pro-Am category.
A late safety car-intervention to remove the stranded Ferrari of Nyls Stievenart reduced the Audi’s lead to naught however. It looked like third-placed Maro Engel in the #56 Black Falcon Mercedes would benefit too, but the 2015 GT World Cup winner was trapped behind the overall race leaders and therefore a full lap behind. After two aborted re-starts, Engel was given permission to overtake the safety car and catch up to the back of the train.
What followed was a exciting three-car fight between Philippe Giauque in the #74 Audi, Jonny Adam in the #44 Aston Martin and a gaining Engel. When the clock counted down to zero, Engel was still in third, trying to find a gap to pass the Aston Martin. Their battling looked to have given Giauque the break he needed, but with just over a lap to go, Engel got ahead of Adam and could set his sights on Giauque. On the final lap, the Frenchman defended the inside at Stowe, but Engel braked as late as he could, passed the Audi on the outside and raced towards a hard-fought victory.