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Blancpain GT News Notebook

Multiple programmes confirmed

Oman Racing confirms Endurance Cup Entry

2017 Endurance Cup Pro-Am class champion Oman Racing Team has announced that it will return to the Endurance Cup in 2018, with a TF Sport-run Aston Martin in the new Silver Cup class.

For the team’s entry, Ahmad Al Harthy will be joined by Euan McKay, who raced with the team at the Gulf 12 Hours last year, and Charlie Eastwood, who will race with TF in the upcoming FIA WEC season.

“I’m really excited to see how we can move forward in 2018 after an amazing season in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup last year,” Al Harthy said. “It was important for me to build on the success of last year and to remain in the series and as a Silver driver this year, it’s a small but exciting step forward with Oman Racing TF Sport once again.”

Eastwood added: “I’ve got a busy season ahead which is fantastic! I’m new to endurance racing so I need as much mileage as possible and I’ll certainly be getting that this year with TF Sport. We have a great all-Silver line-up and I’m looking forward to driving the GT3, which we know is almost bullet proof, and then switching over to the GTE for WEC.”

New Spa 24 logo revealed

SRO has revealed a new logo for its blue-riband event, the Spa 24 Hours, which will celebrate its 70th edition this year.

The new logo commemorates the event’s milestone year, and still retains TOTAL as its lead sponsor.

Endurance Cup programme confirmed for Rinaldi

Rinaldi Racing has firmed up its 2018 season plans, in which it will compete in the Blancpain Endurance Cup with a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3s once again.

In the series, the team will race with one in the Pro-Am Cup, and one in Am, and aims to build on its successes in 2017, in which it scored class victories at Misano, Brands Hatch, Hungaroring and Nürburgring.

Four of the German crew’s six drivers for the season has also been revealed. In Pro-Am, Alexander Mattschull and Rinat Salikhov return to drive the #333 machine, with Dominik Schwager completing their three-man crew. And in Am, team regular Pierre Ehret will drive, his teammates due to be announced shortly.

Sainteloc programme confirmed

Reining Spa 24 Hours winner Sainteloc Racing has confirmed that it will defend its Spa crown, as well as compete in the full Blancpain GT Series which includes the Sprint and Endurance rounds.

For the year, it will run with a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3s, in the Pro category in Sprint, and Pro and Pro-Am in the Endurance rounds. As it stands two of the drivers who secured their memorable victory at Spa will return in 2018, with both Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock confirmed as part of the team’s plans.

In addition to taking on the full Blancpain GT Series season, the French outfit will also compete in SRO’s new five-round GT4 France series with three brand new Audi R8 LMS GT4s. This marks a change in brand for the team for its GT4 efforts, after it competed with Porsche Caymans in 2017.

Big effort from Emil Frey

Emil Frey Racing has announced that it will continue to compete in Blancpain with its in-house Jaguar GT3 in addition to competing in Blancpain for the first time with Lexus, which DSC reported recently.

The Jaguar will compete in this year´s Endurance Cup races at Monza, Silverstone and Paul Ricard as well as in the Sprint Cup race weekend at the Italian track at Misano. Amongst the Swiss Alex Fontana, who celebrated his debut with Emil Frey Jaguar Racing at the season final at Barcelona last year, there are two new faces taking place behind the wheel of the GT3 Jaguar: the Canadian Mikael Grenier and the South-African-born Adrian Zaugg.

“Today was a special day as we had the great pleasure of presenting our new workshop to many invited guests and informed about the upcoming season”, said Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Jaguar Racing. “It is always nice to see familiar faces ahead of the official start of the season. The Jaguar project is a matter truly dear to our hearts and we have put in a lot of work and pleasure over the last years. Therefore, we won´t miss out on the opportunity to compete in selected races this year. We are very excited ahead of the first race.”

For its Lexus effort, the team will take on the full Endurance Cup season, after a year spent competing in the International GT Open with the new car in 2017.

For the season, Austrian ace Christian Klien will return to the team, after racing with it during 2016 and 2017. Klien’s 2017 teammate Marco Seefried also returns to the line-up, along with Norbert Siedler and ex-Marc VDS regular Markus Palttala.

New Bentley out testing

Ahead of its highly-anticipated debut at the Blancpain Endurance opener at Monza this year, Bentley’s new Continental GT3 has been pictured for the first time out testing.

Steven Kane posted the above shot of the car, in a full green test livery, while out at Navarra in Spain.