A total of 50 of the world’s most desirable race-bred sportscars will line up on the grid for the first race of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza on the 13-15th April after the official entry list was released today.
The list boasts a number of renowned teams and there is star quality among the driver ranks.
The line-up reads like a who’s who of GT cars – Aston Martin DBRS9, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, BMW Z4, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo and LP600, McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and Porsche 997 GT3 R are among the 10 brands assembled. There are also five cars on the waiting list.
Having dipped their toes in the series in 2011, McLaren return with a vengeance in 2012 with 9 cars entered to do battle.
Featured in the drivers confirmed to date are sportscar luminaries such as David Brabham, Anthony Beltoise, Mark Blundell, Bas Leinders, Alvaro Parente and Richard Westbrook.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will defend their Pro Cup teams’ title with a pair of Audi R8 LMS Ultras. The GT4 Cup winner in 2011, Alex Buncombe, steps up to the Pro-Am class in the RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Also returning is the Gentlemen Trophy Class winner Georges Cabannes in the Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo.
The brainchild of SRO Motorsports Group, the Blancpain Endurance Series was an instant success in its inaugural season in 2011. The proven formula of three-hour races at iconic circuits remains with the Spanish circuit of Navarra completing the race schedule.
The 2012 calendar features six rounds and a number of Europe’s most prestigious circuits. Races will take place at Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Nurburgring with the Total 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July, the highlight of the season. It will be the 64th edition of the premier 24-hour event for GT cars.
“To have 50 cars on the grid for the first race of the 2012 season underlines the immense popularity of the Blancpain Endurance Series,” Stephane Ratel, the Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsport Group, said.
“Iconic sportscars competing over three hours on legendary circuits has proven to be a potent blend. We are pleased to welcome back a number of teams and drivers from the 2011 season and delighted that the ranks have been bolstered by a number of newcomers. We are also pleased to welcome Navarra to the series.
“With the addition of so many famous brands, the racing is sure to be highly competitive. We are grateful for the continuing support of Blancpain who share our vision and passion for compelling endurance racing.”
The season-opener at Monza on 13th-15th April, will be preceded by a Balance of Performance Test at Paul Ricard on 20th-21st March.
The series will feature in live broadcast across 22 channels globally with a number of other key broadcasters showing extended highlights in territories such as Europe, Australia, North America and Latin America.
Bloomberg Television will also broadcast highlights worldwide (Americas, Pan Euro, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific). That all adds up to a global audience reach of over 350 million homes.
Live streaming of each race will also be shown on the official web site www.blancpain-endurance-series.com
Commercial and technical support for the series comes in the shape of Michelin as the official tyre supplier and Audi as the official car supplier. Hexis, a long-time supporter of the SRO Motorsports Group, continues as official partner.
Blancpain Endurance Series – 2012 calendar
Official Test | March 20th – 21st Paul Ricard, France
Round 1 | April 13th – 15th Monza, Italy
Round 2 | June 2nd – 3rd Silverstone, UK
Round 3 | June 29th – July 1st Paul Ricard, France
Round 4 | July 25th – 29th Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium
Round 5 | September 22nd – 23rd Nurburgring, Germany
Round 6 | October 13th – 14th Navarra, Spain
FULL ENTRY LIST HERE