The second round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup takes the 52 strong field to Silverstone for a three-hour blast around the former Northamptonshire aerodrome.
Mirko Bortolotti qualified on pole position and will be hoping he can hang on to his lead going round the first lap, but there are a number of equally quick cars behind him baying for blood. Keep an eye on The Checkered Flag’s live blog as what should be a frenetic Blancpain GT Series race unfolds.
Hello and welcome to The Checkered Flag’s coverage of the Blancpain GT Series here at Silverstone, we have 51 cars on the grid and 180 minutes of action coming up!
The #16 is starting on pole, with Mirko Bortolotti behind the wheel of the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Franck Perera is starting second in the #74 ISR Racing Audi R8 LMS, he is also the pole sitter in the Pro-Am Cup
We’re closing in on the start of the race now, only six minutes until it kicks off!
The cars are off on their parade lap now as Fatboy Slim blasts over the PA!
The sound of the pack is getting closer!
WE ARE RACING!!!
One of the GRT Lamborghini’s has been hit into a spin, doesn’t seem to be the pole sitter it’s the #19!
The #100 Attempto Lambo has a puncture as well
#23 Nissan is also in the pits as well, that looks like it has a puncture
Driver is out of that car, it’s being pushed into the garage
At the end of 2 laps, the #16 GRT Lambo leads from the #74 ISR Audi with the #99 ROWE BMW in third
The #8 Bentley has pitted, a lot of attention is being paid to the left-front tyre nothing is entirely obvious at the moment
The #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG has hit the #7 Bentley into a spin at Brooklands and snatched fifth place
A touch behind the leaders, Vervisch has jumped to seventh passing team mate Sergio Jimenez in the sister Team WRT Audi
At the front, Bortolotti’s lead is under threat as Perera is closing up lap after lap, the gap was only 0.702 last time round
Baumann’s fighting Maxime Martin’s ROWE BMW for 3rd place and the Mercedes driver makes the move stick going through Club Corner
Bortolotti leads Pro, Perera leads Pro-Am, and new TopGear presenter Chris Harris leads Am Cup in the #30 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3
Malucelli has claimed sixth place overall having got by Stephane Ortelli in the Emil Frey Jaguar
Rob Bell jumps up to 9th in the Garage 59 McLaren, Sergio Jimenez the victim of Bell’s attack
The #8 is back out now after the mechanics did a good job on repairing the damage on the Bentley
Phil Keen has pulled the #78 Barwell Lamborghini into the pits, don’t know the issue at the moment
The Franck Perera Audi couldn’t be closer to the Bortolotti Lambo, there was a good attempt at Village but the Audi was just too far back!
Bortolotti’s blocked going down the Wellington Straight and Perera tries to get past but the Italian is just too good at defending to allow the ISR car an opportunity to get through
Chris Harris spins at Abbey and decided to leave the marshals a pair of tyre streaks down the run off as he sets off again
Vervisch gets past Ortelli for seventh and gives the Jag a push onto the grass at the entry to the Wellington Straight for good measure
The battle for the lead continues with Perera still stuck on the rearwing of Bortolotti. They need to be careful though – Dominik Baumann is only 1.4s behind them in the HTP Motorsport Mercedes
Perera’s second place also means he leads the Pro-Am Cup. Chris Harris still leads in the Am Cup despite his spin a little earlier on
Tom Onslow-Cole has dropped from 24th to 28th after a spin in the final sector, that’s dropped him to eighth in Pro-Am Cup
Stephane Ortelli has a bit of an off-track moment, but sticks in eighth place overall no harm done
The battle for the lead has been disrupted some what as Franck Perera gets baulked by the #48 Am Cup Ferrari and lost a second on that lap.
Meanwhile, the #51 has a scary moment as the car runs over the grass at the entrance to Maggots and spins onto the racing line at Becketts
Meanwhile it appears the pitstop window is creaking open as Maxime Martin pits the #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6
Frederic Vervisch pits now as does Babini in the #101 Attempto Lamborghini
The pitstop for the #99 saw Sims get behind the wheel and come out down roughly 33rd but obviously there are a lot of pitstops cycling through ahead of him
Some cars are choosing to stay out a touch longer. As my handy Blancpain GT Series regulations tells me, maximum stint length is 65 minutes so they’ll have to pit soon…
The #85 pits now from third place, a great stint from Schmid – can Dontje or Bacheta do equally well in the second hour?
Both the leaders are still out for now, you’d think they’d have to come in soon…
Ortelli pits now in the Emil Frey built Jaguar G3
GRT and ISR pit now, Malucelli also pits the Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488
The Lamborghini gets out first with the Audi blocked by traffic delaying their departure
Rolf Ineichen has taken over the #16 and I don’t know who’s taken over the #74 as Perera is still listed on timing. Dries Vanthoor has moved up to second though in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT car
The first drive through of the race has been given to the #888 Ferrari of Kessel Racing for a pitstop that was too short!
Jazeman Jafaar is in third place now with HTP team mate Bacheta settling into third place
Christopher Haase has moved himself into the top ten now, with the #26 Sainteloc Audi swapping places with the #34 Scuderia Praha Ferrari of Jiri Pisarik
The top three are near enough nose-to-tail at the moment with Ineichen holding on in the face of ever growing pressure!
Dries Vanthoor has taken the lead through The Loop! Jafaar follows the young Belgian through in the #84 Mercedes, relegating the Lamborghini down to third place
Alexander Sims is also moving up, fifth place for the Brit now having passed the ISR Audi
Jafaar has now take the lead! Dries is having to fend off Ineichen who now wants to regain some of the places he’s lost
The top three battle is becoming a bit strung out now as the trio are hitting quite stubborn traffic featuring the Pro-Am Team Parker Racing Bentley and the IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R
In the Pro-Am Cup Henry Hassid has been confirmed as taking over the #74 ISR Audi and leads the class. In the Am Cup Ricardo Ragazzi leads in the Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari
Nick Catsburg is up to 10th in the #98 ROWE BMW which started the race towards the back of the grid due to problems in previous sessions
There’s a full course yellow now, there’s debris on track at turn 18 which seems to be the reason.
Back to green flag racing now, just a small full course caution that one
Christopher Haase has moved up to sixth now, Hassid has moved down to 7th in the ISR Audi
Jafaar’s opening up a handy lead at the head of the field, Dries Vanthoor is 5.5 seconds behind now.
Come Ledogar has moved up to seventh at the expense of Hassid.
The #51’s rejoined now, think I was over-estimating just how much it was in the tyre wall
Leader and second place have pulled themselves into the pits now, they’ll hand over to Maxi Buhk and Laurens Vanthoor respectively
The #16 is also in where Jeroen Bleekemolen should be taking over the Lamborghini
The #85 leads now with Indy Dontje taking over the HTP Mercedes
But then timing’s just updates and the #74 is leading, teaches me for taking so long to start typing…
Catsburg is now the leader, but he hasn’t pitted the highest person who’s pitted is Buhk in the #84 who is sitting pretty in third place
Ricardo Ragazzi still leads in Am Cup, but he’s not pitted yet. That said, the next nearest car is Gilles Vannelet in the #87 Team AKKA ASP Mercedes AMG and he’s two laps down on the Ferrari
Cars 2&3 – two Belgian Audi Club Team WRT cars – have been given drive through penalties for pit stop time infractions
Steven Kane has pulled the Bentley into eighth now, a good recovery from the punt they were on the receiving end of at the beginning of the race
The #76 and the #42 have been tangling together. The Porsche tapped the Bentley which sent the German machine into a spin and the #42 Ferrari couldn’t get out of the way quick enough and now has knackered rear-left suspension
The #76 IMSA Performance Porsche has carried on but the #42 has stopped on the Wing pit straight
At the front, the #84 is leading from the #1 with Laurens Vanthoor in second place
The Safety Car has been called for now – probably for the best really there was no way those poor marshals could push that Ferrari off the edge of the track
The safety car is in this lap! Expect a very strong battle for the lead…
Ok, it decided to not come in this lap so they’re doing one more tour round now as the safety car driver decided to do just that one last lap
Wrong again… the safety car has decided to stay out AGAIN, strange as it was meant to come in this lap and even turned the lights out. God knows what is going on now…
IT’S COME IN!!! We’re back to green now!
The battles are kicking off now, Vanthoor smells blood and is less than one second behind and has just set a session best first sector
Pro-Am Cup is led by Philippe Giauque in the #74 Audi and Am Cup is led by Stef Vancampenhoudt
Philipp Eng is not giving up in fifth place, his ROWE BMW is all over the back of Indy Dontje in the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes who himself is all over the back of Jeroen Bleekemolen in the #16 Grasser Lamborghini
The #99 BMW has got through! Eng used traffic to good effect and he’s now got round the outside of Bleekmolen on the entrance to Club Corner – what a lap by the Austrian
Apologies for that, the #99 didn’t pass the Lambo he passed the sister car which is acting as a backmarker, he’s fourth and gunning third
Elsewhere, Patric Niederhauser has climbed up to tenth in the #101 Attempto Racing Lamborghini
The gap between first and second is expanding slightly, it’s now 1.8s between Buhk and Vanthoor, with Bleekemolen 14s behind them in third
In Pro-Am Cup the lead could be changing! The #74 of Giauque is only 0.3 ahead of Flying Scotsman Jonny Adam in the #44 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin!
The Pro-Am battle is fierce! The #30 Am Bentley is slowing down the #74 which means Jonny Adam is closing up but then Engel is closing up behind him!
Engel’s got through for second place! Adam won’t stand for that surely?!?
Chequered Flag waves and Maxi Buhk WINS!!! For HTP Motorsport with Laurens Vanthoor 2nd for Team WRT, Bleekemolen is third!
Maro Engel’s taken the lead of Pro-Am on the last lap, relegating the #74 down to third as the Aston Martin gets through for second place!
In Pro again, Dontje had to settle for fifth but he pushed Eng over the line – literally!
Rinaldi Racing have won Am Cup with Team AKKA ASP and ARC Bratislava rounding out the podium
What a race that was! A report will be posted on TCF shortly!