With the track temperature some six degrees warmer than the morning’s practice session and the resurfaced Silverstone circuit getting progressively more rubbered-in, it was inevitable that lap-times were going to fall as the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup grid hit the track for the 90-minute Pre-Qualifying session.
The early pace-setter was Christian Klein, behind the wheel of the #14 Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus RC F GT3 he shares with Marco Seefried and Albert Costa, who lapped the 5.9km Grand Prix circuit in 1:57.850. Klein remained at the top of the timing screens until Euan Hankey, piloting the #49 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, set a 1:57.447 with 20 minutes remaining.
When the chequered flag fell, Pro-Am Mercedes sat 1-2, after Chris Buncombe put in a 1:57.735 in the #42 Strakka Racing entry.
Klein’s time in the #14 Lexus remained third quickest overall.
Topping the time-sheets in the Silver category was the #90 Akka ASP Team Mercedes driven by Jules Szymkowiak, Jack Manchester and Nico Bastian in which Szymkowiak lapped in 1:58.061.
The Am category was led by the #89 Akka ASP Team Mercedes of Philippe Giaque, Eric Debard and Fabian Barthez with a 1:58.848.
The session ran relatively undisturbed with the exception of two brief Full-Course Yellows, one of which was to retrieve a displaced cone and the other to allow the field to practice the FCY procedure.
Pushing hard, Alex Brundle, driving the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, had an off-track excursion in the final 10 minutes of the session at the entrance to Woodcote, destroying an advertising hording in the process but doing no visible damage to the car.
As the session progressed, Albert Costa, driver of the #14 Emil Frey Lexus Racing entry, was confident that the team had made good progress with car.
“I hope tomorrow we have the same pace in the qualifying because we had no issues,” said Costa. “Tomorrow is going to be much quicker but I hope we have the same good luck with the traffic and the tyres because we did a proper simulation for qualifying so let’s see tomorrow.
“We knew that the car was competitive because I had showed its pace in a different championship” continued Costa. “Once we had the different Pirelli tyres for 2018 you have to understand and to learn about them and we never had the time to do that. Now we are starting to see the results of the work we have done. This, however, is only pre-qualifying so we will see tomorrow.”
Qualifying for Round Four of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series starts at 09:45 local time on Sunday May 20 with the lights going out for the three-hour race at 15:00.
Photo courtesy of Blancpain GT Series