Three years after claiming the Pro-Am championship title, Lincolnshire-based race team Balfe Motorsport is delighted to announce it will return to International GT Open for the final round of the 2020 season.
Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell, who raced to success together in the series in 2017, will undertake driving duties in a McLaren 720S GT3 at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, over the weekend of October 30 – November 1.
For Shaun, these events will mark a return to competitive modern GT racing, after a planned entry in the British GT Championship had to be set aside to focus on Balfe Motorsport’s customer racing entries during the condensed 2020 season, though he has made outings in his Ford Lotus Cortina in historic events this year.
Rob, meanwhile, has remained busy on track as he races in a 720S GT3 alongside fellow Balfe Motorsport competitor Joe Osborne and young McLaren star Oliver Wilkinson in the GT World Challenge Europe’s Endurance Cup.
The 2020 season is the 15th of International GT Open, which has held races in Hungary, France, Austria, and Italy so far this year. Retaining its friendly format for Amateur drivers, it features practice sessions on Fridays, qualifying and a 70-minute race on Saturdays, and qualifying and a 60-minute race on Sunday, ensuring plenty of time on track.
Both races and qualifying sessions are broadcast live and for free on the series’ official YouTube channel, while stories and images are shared across the world, receiving coverage in some of the biggest and most popular motorsport publications in circulation. Regular coverage and updates of the team’s progress will be shared on Balfe Motorsport’s social media channels across the weekend.
“We’re all very excited to return to the International GT Open paddock for the first time since we took the Pro-Am title back in 2017. I don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to turn the clock back; we’ve been in British GT now for three years, so we are under no illusion that we’ll be going back and picking up where left off.
“I am behind on test time on the Michelin tyres, so I will be going in with my eyes open and learning what GT Open is now about, but it will be useful information for us to gather while we think about and plan what we might want to do for the 2021 season.”
“It’s brilliant news that we’re going back racing again. We’ve got the red car out which brings back fond memories from last year [where Shaun and Rob gave the 720S GT3 its first win on UK soil] and to know we’re going to race it at Barcelona is just amazing. It’s a great car, a great team, and I enjoy driving with Shaun, so going away with him is always a pleasure. It’s a family environment, albeit a professional one, and its great working with Shaun’s dad David, because he keeps your feet on the ground!
“I’ve been with the team for a little while now, since our 650S GT3 days, and I think Shaun and I work well together. GT Open is an extremely hard championship and we go back perhaps with some expectation on us, but a bit of pressure is no bad thing.”