The holidays are over: time to go back to racing! The 2018 International GT Open resumes this weekend, after the summer recess, and it does it in one of the world’s most iconic ‘temples of speed’, Silverstone, and in front of real connoisseur racing fans. They will enjoy a 25-car grid and a rich race programme, which includes the Euroformula Open, the Radical European Masters, the Lotus Cup Europe and the Alpine Elf Europe Cup, the new mono-brand trophy featuring the latest incarnation of the mythical French “berlinette”.
With six races to go to the end of the season, nothing is done in any of the title battles. In the Overall standings, Mikkel Mac (Luzich Racing Ferrari) has a 10-point advantage over the BMW Team Teo Martín pair of Fran Rueda-Andrés Saravia.
The Dane, again associated with reigning FIA WEC GT Champion Alessandro Pier Guidi (with whom he has obtained his 3 wins so far), will attempt to increase his advantage on a track that should suit well the Ferrari 488 , but the BMW M6 should also perform well at Silverstone and Rueda-Saravia will seek a second seasonal win. Both contenders can count on the support of their team mates, with Marco Cioci and Brazilian star Daniel Serra again on the other Luzich Racing car that won at the Hungaroring, and Juan Cruz Álvarez-Lourenço Beirão on the other BMW eager to clinch their first success. Still, the ones that arguably seek their first success of the year with most determination will be the Lamborghini Huracáns, which have often visited the podium but still not its top step. Reigining champion Giovanni Venturini and Jeroen Mul (Imperiale Racing) are still in contention for the title battle (24 points aback from the top) and so are their team mates Rik Breukers-Riccardo Agostini (-30) and the car of Ombra Racing (-31), with Damiano Fioravanti associated with a new team mate. Also to be watched is the Huracán of the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing with Kang Ling and Edoardo Liberati. Last but certainly not least in the Pro class, Daniele Di Amato will want to give a second win to the RS Racing Ferrari, which lies 26 point only behind the leaders in the standings.
In Pro-Am, there will be no less than 12 cars on track at Silverstone, with many aspiring to class victory.
Local heroes first: for the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS that is performing an excellent GT Open campaign with Ollie Wilkinson and Brad Ellis, time for home race has come and the pair will certainly go for its second win of the year. A one-off contender will be the Bentley of stalwart GT squad Team Parker Racing, which will visit the GT Open for a second time after its debut in 2015, again with Ian Loggie-Callum Macleod at the wheel, in what will be an all-British entry.
Leading the Pro-Am standings is the Daiko Lazarus Racing Lambo of Miguel Ramos-Fabrizio Crestani, thanks to 6 podium finishes (but not yet a victory) in 8 races. On the other car of the team, young gun Toby Sowery will seek home glory together with Giuseppe Cipriani. Only 3 points aback in the standings is another fast Brit, Tom Onslow-Cole, driving with Valentin Pierburg the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes AMG that has clinched no less than 4 wins so far.
Fight is fierce in the Am category, where the current leaders, Andrzej Lewandowski-Giulio Borlenghi (Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lambo) are only 7 points ahead of the other Lambo of Miro Konôpka. The patriarch of ARC Bratislava will share the yellow Huracán at this round with Britain’s Darren Burke, who was an LMP3 runner-up in the Asian Le Mans Series last year. Third in contention, 8 points aback, the MS Racing / HTP Motorsport Mercedes of Austrians Alex Hrachowina-Martin Konrad, which will have an opportunity to untie from Silva-Coimbra (Sports&You Mercedes), not present in this event. Also aspiring to the podium is Teo Martín’s BMW of Márcio Basso, whose team mate Thiago Marques cannot attend this round and is replaced by Ukraine’s Alexei Chuklin, a regular Euroformula Open competitor at his GT debut.
Close competition also in the Teams’ standings as Luzich Racing, Imperiale Racing and BMW Team Teo Martín fight for the leadership, covered by only 11 points.
Source. International GT Open