This weekend sees the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup arrive at the Circuit de Never Magny-Cours for the halfway mark of the season. Coming just one week after the Endurance Cup event at the Nurburgring, the pair of races at the french track will mark the first time the series has visited the circuit in nine years.
The entry list sees the grid grow to 24 cars, 10 of those will compete with full-pro crews. CMR will be the team to look for as they will try to uphold local honour with it’s all French driver line-up looking to take a home win.
Going into what is the third round of the overall GT World Challenge season, the championship leaders Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor, will be looking to continue their strong run of form. Although they have just come off a fifth place at the last round, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers scored two wins at the last Sprint round at Misano which surely means that hopes have got to be running high for the squad.
AKKA ASP duo Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy, currently hold the second position in the standings thanks to a win in race two at Misano as well two high points paying positions in the Endurance rounds. Coming into Magny-Cours, the #88 will want to leave this round in the lead as the gap to their Audi rivals currently stands at only 2.5.
The sister Team WRT #31 machine will have Kelvin van der Linde at the wheel who currently sits in third place. Sharing the car with Ryuichiro Tomita, Kelvin is only a further one point behind courtesy of his opening round Endurance win at Imola. Although results tailed off in Misano after what looked to be a strong start to the weekend, a fourth place at the Nurburgring has kept the driver in the championship battle.
New entrants into the Sprint Cup this weekend come from a second car for Sky Tempesta Racing and SPS Automotive. Sky Tempesta Racing has doubled its efforts for Magny-Cours, with Jonathan Hui driving the #92 car Ferrari GT stalwart Giancarlo Fisichella. This will join the regular #93 car of Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III. A second SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG will be running in the GT Sports Club Europe class with Christian Hook and Manuel Lauck instead of the Pro-Am entry that was fielded last time out at Misano.
The action gets underway on Friday 11 September with free practice (14.35 local time) and pre-qualifying (21.15), which will run for ninety minutes. A new weekend format for Sprint Cup events will see both qualifying one (14.40) and race one (22.15) take place on Saturday, with the latter being ran at night under the Magny-Cours lights. The same format will be repeated on Sunday as qualifying two will begin at 08.30 with the weekend’s final one-hour race going green at 13.45.
From Saturday afternoon’s qualifying onwards, all sessions will be streamed live on the championship’s official website and Facebook pages, as well as the GT World YouTube channel.