22 aprile 2016
Monza, 22 April 2016 - No fewer than 57 impressive GT3 cars will line-up on Sunday for round two of the 2016 Blancpain GT Series, the first of this season’s Endurance Cup rounds. Two weeks after the first race of the Sprint Cup in Misano, the drivers and teams competing in the full Blancpain GT Series head for the Autodromo di Monza, setting for the first of 2016’s five Endurance events. The historic circuit just north of Milan plays host to a three-hour race, during which almost 60 cars, representing 11 manufacturers, will deliver some of the best GT racing in the world.
Ferrari battalion. Italian marques, much to the joy of local fans, boast the largest contingent of entries with 15 Ferraris and 10 Lamborghinis making the trip. The Prancing Horse armada is neatly divided between eight 458 Italia and seven brand-new 488 GT3. The Maranello machine has traditionally been the weapon of choice in both the Pro-Am and Am cups, with reigning Pro-Am champions Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron defending their title with the new 488 GT3. This year some teams have also opted to field a Ferrari in the overall category, such as Rinaldi Racing (with Rinat Salikhov, Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler) and AF Corse. One of the latter’s crews comprises last season’s 24 Hours of Spa Pro-Am Cup winners, Pasin Lathouras and Alessandro Pier Guidi, who are joined by Michele Rugolo. The other AF Corse car will be the no. 90 car of Ezequiel Perez-Companc, Raffaele Giammaria and Alessandro Balzan.
Pro-Am Cup. The Pro-Am Cup sees 23 cars fighting for the podium positions: six crews will be on a Ferrari. AF Corse will be fielding two cars for Cameron and Griffin and for Motoaki Ishikawa, Lorenzo Bontempelli and Giancarlo Fisichella; Kessel Racing will have Andrea Rizzoli in the no. 11 488 GT3 while the other three cars will be entered by Scuderia Praha (a 488 for Jiri Pisarik and Matteo Malucelli), CMR by Sport Garage and Black Pearl Racing, with Steve Parrow, Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz.
Am Cup. The Am class will see another six Ferraris on course. On the AF Corse cars there will be Alexander Moiseev, Garry Kondarov and Riccardo Ragazzi (car no.49) and Peter Mann, Francisco Guedes and Rino Mastronardi (on the 51); under the Kessel Racing banner will race cars no. 111 (Stephen Earle, Bernard Delhez and David Perel) and no. 888 (Marco Zanuttini, Liam Talbot and Vadim Gitlin). At the wheel of no. 488 Rinaldi Racing car there will be Pierre Ehret and Stef Vancampenhoudt while the CMR by Sport Garage no. 42 458 Italia will be shared by Thomas Nicolle, Niels Stievenart and Marc Sourd. Qualifying will be on Saturday at 8 while the race will be on Sunday at 14.
Previously. Ferrari has won almost 150 times in Monza with its closed wheel cars. The first win dates back to the 1949 Coppa Inter-Europa when Bruno Sterzi starred on a 166 S. The latest Ferrari to cross first the Monza finish line is the 458 Italia GT3 of AF Corse, winning Race-2 of the International GT Open weekend of 2015 courtesy of Ezequiel Perez-Companc and Raffaele Giammaria (on track also on Sunday).