Blancpain GT Series Endurance Race Barcelona 2017

The best GT series in the World held it's Season Finale for the Endurance Part this weekend in Barcelona. And what a finale it was. The Blancpain GT Series Organisation still had to find a Winner for the Overall Series Champions, the Drivers and Team Endurance Championship. Remember, the overall title is a combination of the Endurance and the Sprint events. With the Bentley guys being in a tough luck situation in qualifying when the #8 crashed in the out lap and caused a Red Flag.

The WRT Audi with the Sprint Champions Robin Frijns and Stuart Leonard showed their strenght again and clocked the fastest Lap for the coveted Pole Position. Behind them the Lamborghini of Bortelotti, Caldarelli and Engelhard on P2 followed by the 2 AMG GT's of HTP and Akka all were ready to pounce when the Race was started.

With the #63 being so far in front the Bentley M-Sport Team was faced with a huge Task in this 3 hour Race to have a shot, but it was simply not meant to be their Weekend.
It was all about the #17 Audi and the #88 Mercedes after the first Hour. These two cars just pulled away from the contenders and presented us with a nailbiting Race with a heartstopping Finale. I was in the AKKA Box for the last 2 Laps and the Tension was just intense.

In the back of the Grid more and more Drama happend.. Markus Palttala was pushed out in the #98 in the formation Lap right on the last Corner before the Start-Finish Straight, ending the Race for the BMW. Personally I was a bit amazed that there was no FCY or SC phase for that crash recovery as the speed in the first Laps through that corner was still really high.

Renger Van derZande, King of Lacuna Seca with his pass last Week, was shunted of the track right at the end of Lap 1 leaving the Lamborghini he drove for Grasser without any rear bodywork for the Rest of the Day.

Usually you would think that in an Endurance Race that there would be less contacts but the #16 AMG GT from Miguel Toril was also turned around, proving that the first Laps are very chaotic. He subsequently showed his international Class overtaking almost 20 cars to get back into contention with the Aston Martin from the Oman Racing Team. For him it was all about getting more Points than them so ensure the Vice-Championship in Pro-AM. Alas, the efforts of the Spanish Engineer were not rewarded as his Codriver simply lost too much time that could not be recovered when the Pro Marvin Kirchhöfer took over for the 3rd Hour.

In the End the Grasser Lamborghini did everything right to stay out of Trouble even though the Move from Calderelli passing 2 AMG's was probably the best pass of the Race. Their Main Contender Bentley was super unlucky with a Puncture of the Rear Left Tyre and subsequently lost their Chance of chasing the Grasser Lambo.

With the Season coming to en end the SRO announced on Monday that they will limit the number of full Pro Cars in the next Season. I really welcome that as the whole Pro-AM Idea is so good for the GT Racing World. Yes, while we all enjoy the hard Racing on the Front of the Grid, it makes the BOP so much more important. We have seen the Superiority of the Lamborghini at the Start of the year slowly changing into a Audi and AMG fest. So giving more importance to the AM Part of the Pro-AM Field will take away from having the best BOPped car.  And this is what we really want to see, fights where the Drivers are the Pieces that tip the scales, not restrictors. Race weekends with ever changing Car Brands in the mix. SO thank you SRO for not only presenting the best GT Races but also ensuring their future success. 

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Kevin Pecks