Entering its fifth season, the Blancpain GT Sports Club returns to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza this weekend (13-14 April) for the first round of the 2019 season, with a 15-car field.
Supporting the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, 11 teams from four manufacturers (Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, and Mercedes) will take to the high-speed Italian venue to begin the battle for a new overall and Titanium Cup champion by the Barcelona finale in September.
All eyes will be on AF Corse’s Mario Cordini going into this weekend. The Italian won both races for the local team this time last year driving the #51 Ferrari 488 GT3, which he continues with for 2019.
He is joined by debutant Kenji Abe and experienced Iron Cup racer Louis-Philippe Soenen, who was third in the over 60s class over the last two campaigns.
Kessel Racing bring three Ferrari 488 GT3s to the table, with reigning Iron Cup champion Stephen Earle, who will look to add a third consecutive title this year, and Murad Sultanov back behind the wheel. Both are joined by Ferrari Challenge front-runner and Iron Cup contender Rick Peter Lovat, who will make his series debut at Monza this weekend in the #12 Ferrari.
Russia’s Vadim Kogay returns to the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 that he drove at the Barcelona finale last year, he will also contest the Titanium Cup class.
Last year’s championship runner-up Coach McKansy remains with his HP Racing International squad in the #17 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The German scored eight podiums including victory in the Barcelona Qualifying Race in 2018, and will look to continue his strong form at Monza.
Iron Cup driver Roberto Rayneri and the GDL Racing squad have switched from Mercedes to the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo ahead of this season. Attempto Racing’s Bernd Kleinbach will also contest the Iron Cup class, driving the #100 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
HB Racing and driver Dilantha Malagamuwa return with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with which the Sri Lankan scored a maiden Titanium Cup podium in the 2018 Barcelona Main Race.
Several new teams have signed on for 2019, including Reno Racing who will introduce a new car to the championship – the Honda NSX GT3 Evo. Jens Reno Möler will drive, as he looks to fight for overall honours in his debut season. StileF Squadra Corse brings a Ferrari 488 GT3 to the table, with Russian Pavel Strukov also making his debut in the series.
Newcomers Van der Horst Motorsport will bring a 2019-spec Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to the Temple of Speed this weekend, with driver Gerard van der Horst entering the Titanium Cup.
ERC Motorsport will run the sole Mercedes AMG GT3 for 2018 British GT race-winner Lee Mowle, who is also eligible for the Titanium Cup class.
The action at Monza begins on Saturday with a 40-minute practice session, followed by qualifying. The first of the 30-minute races takes place on Saturday before returning on Sunday morning for the second.
You can follow both Monza races live on the GT World YouTube channel, Blancpain GT Sports Club website and Facebook page.
Blancpain GT Sports Club Schedule: Monza*
Saturday 13 April
09:40 – 10:20: Free Practice
13:10 – 13:45: Qualifying
16:35 – 17:05: Race 1
Sunday 14 April
11:10 – 11:40: Race 2
*All times are local