The third round of the 2017 International GT Open season is upon us, with a healthy 28-car grid set to travel to the south of France this weekend, for another pair of races.
On the entry list are five newcomers from four teams, the team bringing two cars to the grid being Antonelli Motorsport, which will have two Lamborghini Huracan GT3s for the event. Driving for the Italian team – which contested two races last year in GT Open – will be Mikaël Grenier and Kikko Galbiati in Pro, and Davide Roda and a to-be-announced teammate in its Am-class entry.
Another two new Lamborghini Huracans are also making the trip. The first being from French outfit Ab Sport Auto, which usually races in VdeV with a Renault R.S.01. The team will have two locals in its car, experienced GT racer Harry Teneketzian and young single-seater prospect Joffrey De Narda.
More familiar to DSC readers is the fourth Huracan, from Konrad Motorsport. The team is fresh from an appearance at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in which the car failed to finish, and will be looking for different fortunes here. The team, run by Franz Konrad is set to complete in four GT Open rounds this year, the first being this weekend.
Hendrick Still and Paul Scheuschner will share the car, which brings the total number of Huracans on the entry list to eight.
The final addition is a Mercedes AMG GT3 from Lechner Racing, which has plenty of appearances in GT Open over the years to its name. The Austrian team will field the car for German Thomas Jäger and Mario Plachutta.
There’s only one other change to the entry of note outside of the teams bolstering the grid, which comes from the BMW Teo Martin camp. WTCC, F1 and IndyCar driver Tiago Monteiro will drive the #51 BMW M6 GT3 with Lourenço Beirão Da Veiga, filling the shoes of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Nelson Piquet Jnr who have commandeered the second chair this year.
Monteiro will be tasked with turning the season round for the Teo Martin entry, which is down in 10th in the title race after failing to score points in two races so far, one at Estoril and one at Spa.
For the remaining runners, the focus turns to the championship battle. So far it’s been a dominant display from the Lexus RCF GT3, but with the two teams taking the spoils. As it stands Farnbacher Racing and its drivers Dominik and Mario Farnbacher lead the way with 38 points (below), five points ahead of the Emil Frey Lexus of Albert Costa and Philipp Frommenwiler.
Still very much in the hunt though are the Balfe Motorsport and #88 Garage 59 McLarens in third and fourth. Neither car has yet to win a race, but consistent points finishes have thus far kept them in the hunt.
Notably, Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell’s #22 650S GT3, due to its strong finishes, leads the Pro Am standings, Marco Cioci and Piergiuseppe Perazzini in the #8 AF Corse Ferrari though are still very much in striking distance.