Circuit Paul Ricard plays host to the GT4 European Series for the second round of the 2021 championship next weekend (28-30 May) when a highly competitive field will battle it out at the French venue.
While the 5.8km Circuit Paul Ricard might be familiar for most teams, the difference from the final race of the 2020 GT4 European Series six months ago could not be bigger. The championship has seen an incredible increase in entries, with 44 cars set to contest the two races on Sunday compared with 18 last November.
United Autosports McLaren team to beat in Silver Cup
The season got underway at Monza with a double win for the #23 United Autosports entry of Charlie Fagg and Bailey Voisin and the pair will now try to take McLaren’s first outright win at Circuit Paul Ricard to increase their championship lead. United Autosports will also enter the sister #32 machine for Dean Macdonald and Gus Bowers, currently third in the Silver Cup standings.
CMR drivers Antoine Potty and Stephane Lemeret left Monza in second place in the Silver Cup standings and the #8 Toyota crew is among the leading contenders for victory at Le Castellet. Two other favourites are Lluc Ibanez and Xavier Lloveras in the #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG. The pair won both races at Circuit Paul Ricard last year and will look for a repeat performance, particularly after a DNF in the first race at Monza. Trivellato Racing by Villorba Corse will enter two Mercedes-AMG cars again at Circuit Paul Ricard, while all-French duos Enzo Joulie and Sébastien Baud (#74 CD Sport Mercedes-AMG) and Paul Evrard and Timothé Buret in (88 AKKA ASP) will also chase victory .
A trio of Aston Martin crews will battle for Silver Cup honours in France. AGS Events aims to return to top form after a tough Monza weekend. Last year the team clinched the GT4 European Series titles at Paul Ricard and this time it will field two cars. Konstantin Lachenauer and César Gazeau share the #27 machine, while Hugo Condé and Akhil Rabindra will race the #45. Mirage Racing will also be looking for a strong result with the #55 for Ruben del Sarte and Tom Canning.
The #17 V8 Racing Camaro was a strong contender at Circuit Paul Ricard in 2020, but bad luck struck Jop Rappange and Thijmen Nabuurs at Monza. The young Dutch drivers will be fully motivated to collect some valuable points in France.
Audi and Porsche will both be represented by two crews. Robert Consani and Benjamin Lariche will share the #4 Team Speedcar Audi, with Clement Seyler and Roee Meyuhas in the #14 Saintéloc Racing entry. Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Joel Sturm will target a strong result in the #20 Allied-Racing Porsche, with Amedeo Pampanini and Nicolas Sturzinger representing the Stuttgart marque in the #992 Centri Porsche Ticino entry. Completing the 17-strong Silver Cup grid is the #30 CMR Alpine of Loris Cabirou and Vincent Beltoise.
Strong starting grids for Pro-Am and Am Cup
Saintéloc Racing will be the team to beat in Pro-Am at Circuit Paul Ricard. The #42 Audi of Gregory Guilvert and Fabien Michal took a win and a third-place in class at Monza and will be chasing more silverware at its home track. Fellow Audi squad Team Fullmotorsport is another contender as Romain Iannetta and Eric Clement took a second and a third-place in Italy with the #77 Audi and are currently second in the points. Team Speedcar and Hella Pagid – racing one will field the other Audi entries in Pro-Am.
After scoring a class pole and a win in Italy, the #718 Porsche of Max Busnelli and Ivan Jacoma currently occupies third in the Pro-Am standings. The Centri Porsche Ticino crew leads the Porsche contingent, which consists of another Centri Porsche Ticino car and the two Allied-Racing entries.
Mercedes-AMG has four entries in Pro-Am and should be a contender for victory again at Le Castellet. AKKA ASP’s Jim Pla and Jean-Luc Beaubelique won twice at the circuit six months ago, but the entries from CD Sport, Selleslagh Racing Team and NM Racing Team should not be ruled out either.
Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport started the season well with a class podium at Monza and Berkay Besler and Cem Bolukbasi will chase more strong results at Circuit Paul Ricard, as will their teammates in the second Borusan entry. Arkadia Racing will target a strong result on home soil with its #36 Alpine.
German squad Team GT will add two more McLaren 570S GT4s to the grid at Circuit Paul Ricard, with Alain Valente joining Bernhard Laber in the #66 machine and Richard Distl and Alexander Woller in the #60. The addition of the two Team GT entries and the second appearance of the #33 SVC Sport Management Toyota brings the number of cars contesting the Pro-Am Cup to 18.
Nine cars from nine different teams will battle for victory in the Am Cup. Aston Martin is the best-represented brand in the class, with Street Art Racing, Hella Pagid – racing one and AGS Events all entering the popular Vantage. Selleslagh Racing Team and AKKA ASP are the two teams fielding Mercedes-AMGs, with Saintéloc Racing and Team Fullmotorsport competing with Audi equipment. W&D Racing Team’s BMW and CMR’s Toyota complete the Circuit Paul Ricard starting grid.
Packed Circuit Paul Ricard weekend schedule features two races on Sunday
Track action in the south of France starts on Friday at 10:50 with a one-hour free practice and the 44 cars will be back on-track again at 18:20 for the second 60-minute session. Qualifying takes place on Saturday and is scheduled to begin at 11:55.
Both one-hour races are set to run on Sunday, with the first scheduled to start at 9:50 and the second following at 15:35.
The event also sees action from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine and TCR Europe. All Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS action takes place on Saturday, with the traditional six-hour race scheduled to begin at 18:00. The second round of the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series also takes place on Saturday.
Qualifying on Saturday, as well as the two races on Sunday, will be shown live and free of charge on the GT4 European Series website and SRO Motorsport Group’s GT World YouTube channels.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group