Driver line-ups confirmed in 52-car entry for endurance opener – Sportscar365

Driver line-ups confirmed in 52-car entry for endurance opener - Sportscar365

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

SRO Motorsports Group has published a Entry list of 52 cars confirming the driver line-ups for next weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe season opener powered by AWS Endurance Cup at Imola.

A total of 17 crews are set to compete for overall honors in the Pro Division, while the new Gold Cup category has attracted 13 entrants for its first event.

The field is completed by a class-record 18 cars in Silver Cup and four in Pro-Am, with the quartet of categories combining for the biggest grid in the series outside the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa since 2018. This season’s Barcelona attracted 53 entries. .

Most of the flight crews have already been announced by their teams, however some gaps have been filled following the publication of the Imola entry list.

New McLaren works driver Marvin Kirchhofer steps into the JOTA McLaren 720S GT3 alongside returning Rob Bell and Oliver Wilkinson.

Kirchhofer, who previously raced for the R-Motorsport Aston Martin team, replaces former McLaren factory ace Ben Barnicoat who joined Lexus over the winter.

Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella return to the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo AKKA-ASP in an all-factory trio of drivers.

The French team will also compete in the Silver Cup category with its n°87 AMG. The list includes Russian-born Konstantin Tereschenko, who is registered under an FIA neutral flag under rules set by the world motorsport federation.

AKKA-ASP was also considering an Endurance Cup entry involving Russian rider Timur Boguslavskiy, but this did not materialize. He aims to race in the Sprint Cup.

Attempto Racing has recruited Finnish racer Juuso Puhakka to its Pro lineup alongside Audi Sport factory riders Markus Winkelhock and Dennis Marschall.

Puhakka drove a Mercedes-AMG Toksport WRT in the Silver class of last year’s Sprint Cup. Marschall remains at Attempto for another year, while Winkelhock joins the German team after previously working with Sainteloc Racing.

Upcoming drivers include the third Silver Cup McLaren crew member of Garage 59, and co-driver Ben Barker and James Dorlin at Barwell Motorsport.

Alex Malykhin was named Designated Bronze in the No. 78 gold-class Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo earlier this month, but is not on the Imola list.

No team has dropped out of the Endurance Cup since publishing a full-season increase of 52 cars in early March.

Audi is the best-represented brand in the field with 12 copies of its updated R8 LMS GT3 Evo II heading to Italy, while Mercedes-AMG is represented by 11 entries.

Teams using McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin and Lamborghini machines also appear in the Pro class, while Bentley is represented by CMR’s only Continental GT3 that runs in Pro-Am.

Defending Imola winners Kelvin van der Linde and Mirko Bortolotti line up in the #32 Team WRT Audi and the #63 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini respectively.

A field of 46 cars contested the first and most recent Endurance Cup visit to Imola at the start of the 2020 season, won by van der Linde and Bortolotti alongside Matthieu Vaxiviere in an Audi WRT.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.