Five weeks after silence fell upon the 24 Hours of Spa, the sound of GT3 engines will set pulses racing once again at the Hungaroring where the Blancpain GT Series is back and ready to rock. The 2018 season is now entering its crucial final phase. No fewer than three race weekends will take place over the course of the next month, culminating in this year’s champions being crowned. Following the Spa race the series will be racing on the twists and turns of Hungaroring. The 4.38 km track on the outskirts of Budapest plays host to a Sprint Cup double-header, with 23 cars confirmed across three highly competitive classes.
Pro-Am Cup. The Pro-Am Cup class looks set for its most competitive Sprint Cup event of the season, with all five cars carrying legitimate hope of fighting for top honours. The Blancpain GT Series paddock will be pleased to welcome back Kessel Racing stalwart Michael Broniszewski, who returns from injury aboard the #11 Ferrari 488 GT3. Giacomo Piccini joins the 2016 class champion in Hungary. If Broniszewski is to make a winning comeback, one of his biggest challenges will come from the TP 12 – Kessel Racing entry of Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo van Dam. The sister Ferrari 488 GT3 currently tops the Pro-Am standings, having taken victory in the opening three Sprint Cup races of 2018.
Rivals. There will be equally stiff opposition from the #26 Audi of Sainteloc Racing. Having ended the TP 12 crew’s run of victories, Markus Winkelhock and Nyls Stievenart are now on their own three-race winning streak and have closed to within just six points of the class lead. The Audi Sport Slovakia squad, which showed well in its first appearance of 2018 at Misano, returns with Christian Malcharek and father Jirko at the wheel. The Pro-Am class is further bolstered by the presence of Sun Energy 1 Racing, which is set to field a Mercedes in partnership with AKKA ASP Team. A week on from their appearance at the Suzuka 10 Hours, Tristan Vautier and Kenny Habul will swap continents to tackle the Hungarian contest.
Schedule. Preparations for the event begin with a pair of 80-minute free practice sessions on Friday at 11.10 and 15.25 CET. Qualifying for both races takes place at 9.40 on Saturday morning, followed by the opening contest at 14.45. The weekend’s second race gets underway at 15.30 on Sunday. From qualifying onwards, all of the action will be streamed live on the Blancpain GT Series website.