The whiff of champagne is slowly giving way to the smell of fuel and tyre rubber again. Following GRT Grasser Racing’s sensational victory in the 24 Hours Daytona a few weeks ago, everyday life is returning to Knittelfeld, Austria. The test programme and planning for the season are in full swing. It has also now become clear, in which series the outfit intend to attack during 2019.
As in previous years, GRT Grasser Racing Team will compete in the Blancpain GT Series and in the ADAC GT Masters. Apart from contesting Europe’s two strongest GT3 racing series, the team will face the additional challenge of endurance classics in the US IMSA series. With full factory support from Lamborghini, Team Principal Gottfried Grasser will field the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, with which the team won the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.
GRT Grasser Racing have a mammoth task ahead of them, as 22 race weekends, 20 racetracks and 12 countries are on the schedule for 2019. In order to remain successful with the EVO, which is the next stage in the Huracán’s development, many more days of testing lie ahead of them at the Sebring International Raceway (USA), the Circuito de Jerez (Spain), the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal and at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (Germany) before the season opens. But in between those test dates, there is another red letter day on the calendar, namely Tuesday 2nd April when the official team presentation takes place in the Lamborghini factory at Bologna in Italy.
Blancpain GT Series
GRT Grasser Racing achieved their biggest successes in team history in the Blancpain GT Series with overall victories in the drivers’ and team championships and also secured the drivers’ title in the Endurance Cup in 2017. To achieve similar results is at the top of the team’s agenda again this season.
Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs will compete in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. At the moment, three really top-class drivers, Lamborghini works driver Mirko Bortolotti, plus Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart, have already been signed to take the wheel. The names of the other drivers will be announced at a later date. Five races on current Formula 1 circuits such as Monza, Silverstone and Barcelona are on this season’s calendar. The absolute highlight of the year will be the legendary 24-hour Spa-Francorchamps classic at the end of July.
Another Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO with the successful pairing of Bortolotti and Engelhart will line up in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe (formerly Blancpain Sprint Cup), racing at Brands Hatch, Misano, Zandvoort, on the Nürburgring and Hungaroring from May to September. All Blancpain Endurance Cup and Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe races will be broadcast live and in full on the website of the race series, on social media platforms and on YouTube.
ADAC GT Masters
The GRT Grasser Racing Team will field three Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs in the Super Sports Car League. In this race series too, the team have already achieved a fair measure of success, taking into account their six pole positions and seven victories from just the past four years – last year alone, the team took two wins.
In the new season, Grasser will have the services of a proven mix of Lamborghini factory regulars and experienced top drivers to call on. Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Franck Perera will share the three cars with Engelhart and Ineichen. Michele Beretta, a young talent from Lamborghini’s Junior programme, will complete the squad at Grasser. He will be contesting his second year in the ADAC GT Masters. Team GRT Grasser Racing and Lamborghini were impressed by his achievements in 2018 and intend to support him. He will partner Mapelli.
The season will take in seven weekends at German and other tracks in Europe with a very special highlight for the GRT Grasser Racing Team when they compete at the Red Bull Ring (June 9th -11th). The words ‘home race’ will then really take on a special meaning, as company headquarters are only five kilometres away in Knittelfeld.
With their sensational victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona which kicked off the IMSA season, Team GRT Grasser Racing Team proved that they need not worry about flying across the pond, and so, more race outings in the endurance classics of the ISMA series are to follow.
In world-famous events such as the Sebring 12-hour race, the Watkins Glen 6-hour race, and the Petit Le Mans 10-hour race at Raceway Road Atlanta, Bortolotti, Engelhart and Ineichen will endeavour to follow their amazing win at Daytona with more top results in the US. The next showdown is scheduled for 13th – 16th March in Sebring.
Team Principal Gottfried Grasser: “I’m pleased to see our programme for 2019 taking shape. With the Lamborghini SQ, we can field works cars with high-calibre drivers in each series, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming season. Despite our mega success with a win in the 24 Hours of Daytona, we embarked on an intensive programme of testing with the new GT3 EVO early this February and I’m really looking forward to the season with the new car which showed great potential right from the very first tests. It makes us feel extremely proud when we see what a great car Lamborghini have put together. Many thanks to our sponsors, Orange1 and Biocircle, as well as to the entire Lamborghini team, who will give us their backing again in 2019. I think that with our squad of extremely successful drivers and our loyal partners, we can build on our excellent season from 2018 and achieve our ambitious goals in 2019.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing/Photo. Jamey Price