Audi Club, Team Belgium take 2nd and 3rd but Aston Martin ruled the waves and brought home the Blanpain Trophy at Silverstone this weekend from a massive 57 grid of GT3 Super cars.
Darren Turner, Frederic Makowiecki and Stefan Mucke took an outstanding victory in the second round of this series for AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Racing based in Banbury Oxfordshire. Throughout the 3hr race the Aston held its own against the fearsome stealth like Matt black Audi’s of Audi Club, Team Belgium who were attempting to hunt it down.
Darren Turner, Aston Martin Racing, Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (PRO)
“Today, it was the first time we would do a full stint on a tank so we wanted to make sure it lasted. It was hard to keep up with Lucas (Ordonez) for the first ten laps because he was very fast. Then we started to get through the traffic but sometimes it was in his favour and sometimes in mine. A good job has been done this weekend, especially the people from the workshop back at the factory, and also to everyone who helped to put this race weekend together.”
With near perfect pit stop work, amazing fuel consumption and pure driving skills in the traffic of the 57 cars, the Aston did a near James Bond theme and completed the race in 3hrs, 01:36.007! Turner is also the first British driver to win a Blancpain Endurance series race overall.
It was still a very successful weekend for the reigning champion team of Audis, taking 2nd and 3rd, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT squad still took a large points haul away from Silverstone even with the No 13 Audi R8 LMS ultra suffering tyre pick up problems.
Stéphane Ortelli , Belgian Audi Club Team Belgium, Audi R8 LMS ultra (PRO)
“For us it was a good race, I was really delighted by the fights we had, especially with our sister car. I have to thank all the team at WRT who all did a very good job again; I am very pleased about the result.”
It was good to see some honest team rivalry which was evident by the excitement between the drivers of Audi Club after the race.
In the PRO-AM class the Nissan GT of Team RJN showed its worth and Peter Pysera and Alex Buncombe becoming the GT Academy’s latest International winner with an impressive drive after only moving into the No 35 entry this weekend!
Second place in the PRO-AM class was another Aston Martin Vantage of the Barwell Motorsport team with their local knowledge of the track used to its maximum, getting them a well earned runners up position in the ultra-competitive class. Drivers Mark Poole, Richard Abra and Joe Osborne certainly impressed the spectators on their home ground.
Third place in the PRO-AM class was the TDS Racing BMW Z4 of Henry Hassid and Ludovic Badey. The French team drove a stunning race ever after an early puncture meant they had to take an extra pit stop and lose valuable seconds. They took 3rd place in the last frantic minutes of the racing passing the Grasser Racing Lamborghini LP560 to take the lead in the PRO-AM class points.
The Gentlemens Trophy went to ARC Bratislava Porsche 997 driven by Omans only professional racing driver – Ahmad Al Harthy along with his Slovakian team mate Miro Konopka. Al Harthy did have a few nerve wracking moments though when he was pushed onto the grass at Woodcote in the dying minutes of the race.
Runners up were Maurice Ricci, Gabriel Balthazard and Jerome Policand in the SOFREV Ferrari 458 Italia. The experienced French trio snatched 2nd place right at the end of the race from John Gaw in the Aston Martin Vantage of PGF-Kinfaun, John Gaw incidentally is the Racing Managing Director for Aston Martin.
This is a great race series and has much to offer, there was jostling for position, some pushing and shoving by drivers who weren’t afraid to give a ‘nudge’ to move someone out of the way. Due to the grid size there was never any gaps on the track and always something to watch.
For me the most beautiful cars on the track just had to be the Mercedes SLS AMG’s. They didn’t take any Trophies but the sight and sound of them was enough for me.
Lets hope that the Blancpain series comes back again next year, my only criticism, there was very little advertising, few people seem to have heard about it, and there was little to do between races, but as its still a relatively new series I’m sure the SRO organisers will soon them in order.