This last weekend kicked things off for the 2017 installment of the Blancpain GT Series, with the Sprint Cup season opener taking place at Misano World Circuit in Italy.
It was all smiles for HTP Motorsport at the Italian circuit, after both its campaigning #84 and #86 Mercedes-AMG entrants grabbed podium honors, coming first and third respectively. Bentley seized the opportunity to disrupt a full Mercedes-AMG podium sweep, with the Bentley Boys — as Vincent Abril and Steven Kane are known — defending hard to finish 23 seconds down from the winning #84 car.
Rounding off the AMG-dominated top five was the #88 AKKA ASP car, driven by Felix Serralles and Daniel Juncadella, placing fourth. Topping the Audis was the #26 R8 LMS of Romain Monti and Christopher Haase with a fifth place finish, with the two ROWE Racing BMW M6 sisters falling back a further 12 and 15 seconds respectively.
Misfortune struck the defending champion pair of Enzo Ide and Christopher Mies in the factory WRT Audi effort, finishing outside of the top ten after a spin earlier in the race. Adding insult to injury, the pair’s sister car succumbed to mechanical troubles before the race ended.
Continuing off HTP Motorsport’s success, the team saw another win with the #85 taking top hours within the Silver Cup, trailed by the #42 McLaren 650S GT3 of Nick Leventis and Lewis Williamson.
The Pro-Am class was taken out by the Ferraris of Rinaldi Racing and Kessel Racing coming first and second, with the #333 Rinaldi Racing pair of Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz taking home the first place trophy. AKKA ASP subsided the Mercedes-AMG domination for the opener with the #89 car grabbing third.
Later this month sees the return of the long-form Blancpain GT Endurance Series, with the season opener taking place at Monza on April 23.