Best seat in the House to Watch Nismo and BMW’s epic drives at Paul Ricard – Blancpain GT Endurance

I love GT racing, really love it

The Blancpain GT series is just about the best motorsports racing, at the best tracks with ultimately the finest race cars anywhere in the world. It’s also decidedly European in locations, teams & manufacturers – Most of all the cars are based on road going versions, massively tuned up versions – but still GT cars that if you’ve got the financial firepower, then you can go buy the road legal version. This for me, is the big selling point over & above the DTM and F1

I’d been in the workshop with it on mostly in the background as I was working away on the old Sport Tourer. It is lovely to work on a beloved car project whilst listening to the  race live with all that great engine noise and race commentary resounding about the workshop. Finally I finished up, turned the lights down and sound up! got in the car, wound down all the windows and really got stuck in for the last few hours remaining….

With several night stages and a full 24h endurance race at Spa, the Blancpain GT series delivers all the drama and excitement so lacking in other areas of motorsport racing. The lead changes, safety cars change the whole race over six hours… where 5 minute leads are diminished to 20 seconds – punctures, pit crews, collisions, mechanical issues and the weather are all a major part of what makes GT racing just so good – and there’s the sound oh my f**king god there’s the sound

This years 6hr battle at Paul Ricard had it all, an astounding drive by BMW Marc VSD Racing ‘from pit lane start to podium finish’ a truly heroic third place for the stunning Z4 GT3. It was fantastic to see the Z4 make its way up through so much traffic, holding its own against much newer machinery – Lucas Luhr, Markus Palttala and Maxime Martin – All brilliant, all dog-eared determination!

Then there’s Nismo and car 23 – A fire-breathing ‘Godzilla’ of a GTR that’s race was a text-book example to us all in just how to win an endurance race, all three drivers worked exceptionally well together and Bob Neville team manager’s strategy proved victorious with Alex Buncombe, Katsumasa Chiyo & Wolfgang Reip taking P1 with all the glory and champagne on the flood lit podium – A truly well deserved win, great car driven by great guys – managed by a super bloke

“We won the PRO AM title a couple of years ago and we won the GT4 title before that but this means everything to us. Bentley pushed us hard at the end but Al (Buncombe) just did his job and brought it home. To win a 1000kms race just before Spa is just what we needed. It couldn’t be better!”- Bob Neville

Well, so long Paul Ricard and here’s to the 24hrs of Spa! My moneys on the Z4 of Marc VSD as it’s their home turf and in their blood….

oh……..Then there’s Bentley, hmmmm well yeah what can we say – ‘Typical Bentley, all noise & flashing headlights the entire race – only to come second best to Nisan’ If I were McLaren then I’d be very, very pissed at Bentley too. So far They’ve just not been that good, not good at all have the ‘Bentley Boys’

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