Leading the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup are German-Belgian duo Christopher Mies and Enzo Ide. With their #33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8, they won the main race at Brands Hatch and together with their third place in the qualifying race and the points scored at the season opener at the Misano World Circuit, Mies and Ide now have a total of 33 points.
Not that their advantage in the Sprint Cup is huge: they only have a single point in hand over HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG duo Bernd Schneider and Jules Szymkowiak. Schneider - who first raced on the Nürburgring in 1984, eleven years before his Dutch team-mate was born - is arguably the driver with the most experience on the grid, and the five-fold DTM champion still has plenty of speed in him. Expect the German-Dutch duo to shine in what is a home race for their team as well. They won the qualifying race in Brands Hatch, and would love to add a victory in the main race at the Nürburgring.
Equal on points with Schneider and Szymkowiak are Belgian aces Laurens Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch. Vanthoor, the 2013 FIA GT Series champion, knows the Nürburgring very well. He was the 2009 German F3 champion after all, following in the footsteps of... Fred Vervisch, who claimed that same title a year earlier. The two Belgian Audi Club Team WRT-drivers had the best possible start to the season by winning in Misano, but an eventful Brands Hatch meeting saw them add a mere two points to their tally. They aim to get their revenge, that is for sure.
You might think that with three driver pairings within two points at the top of the standings we've covered all of the favourites, but that would be far from the truth. McLaren-drivers Rob Bell and Alvaro Parente would love to add - at least - a podium finish to their two fourth places conquered in Misano and Brands Hatch. Especially since Rob Bell is now leading the overall Blancpain GT Series driver standings, after winning the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000 km last weekend.
Mercedes-AMG pairing Dominik Baumann and Maxi Buhk, who had to retire during the race in the South of France, are still looking for their first Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup win of 2016 as well and Bentley Boys Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet - winners of the first qualifying race of the season and third in Brands Hatch - are aiming to continue their series of great sprint results at the Nürburgring.
In the Pro-Am Cup and Am Cup of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup the leaders are trying to continue their almost faultless run. In Pro-Am Giacomo Piccini and Michal Broniszewski are going for their third consecutive win the Sprint Cup. It would give the Polish driver, who has won two out of three endurance races as well, an almost unassailable lead in the overall Pro-Am rankings. In the Am Cup Stephane Lémeret and Claudio Sdanewitsch only need to finish to retake the lead in the overall drivers’ rankings, but they would obviously not mind taking a third consecutive sprint win.
In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Silver Cup everything is still wide open. After taking the win in Brands Hatch #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini-drivers Luca Stolz and Michele Beretta lead the standings, but they have only a 10-point advantage over their Attempto Lamborghini-colleagues Max Van Splunteren and Jeroen Mul.
As you can see, there is plenty to fight for on the short version of the Nürburgring Grand Prix track and if the infamous Eifel weather lives up to its reputation, we might see a surprise or two!
Provisional Entry list
Friday 1 July
Free Practice 1 : 09:40 – 10:20 (Silver & Bronze drivers only)
Free Practice 1 : 10:20 – 11:00 (all drivers)
Free Practice 2 : 13:50 – 15:10
Saturday 2 July
Qualifying : 09:00 – 09:55 (Live TV)
Qualifying Race : 14:30 – 15:30 (Live TV)
Sunday 3 July
Main Race : 14:45 – 15:45 (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 2016, SRO Motorsports Group promotes several championships and series, such as the Blancpain GT Series, including the iconic Total 24 hours of Spa, the British GT Championship, the Blancpain Sports Club with the Blancpain GT Sports Club and the Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club, the Competition 102 GT4 European Series and the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
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 - and Curbstone, that provides ultimate track driving opportunities on world renowned race circuits in Western Europe for supercar owners, as well as test driving facilities for race car drivers.
SRO has offices in London, Paris and Liège.