A six hour challenge awaits the Oman Racing Team as the Blancpain Endurance Series reconvenes at the spectacular Paul Ricard circuit this coming Friday and Saturday (June 19/20).
Round three of the European Championship sees the Motorbase-run outfit head to the South of France for the only six hour race on the calendar with Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam, Daniel Lloyd and Ahmad Al Harthy back behind the wheel of the #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
David Bartrum’s squad faces formidable competition during Saturday’s race with over 60 cars expected to line the grid representing entries from the many of the world’s most prestigious marques and teams. Despite a stalled start to the season, the Kent-based squad heads to France in high spirits hunting a points scoring finish in the highly competitive series.
“With upwards of nearly 70 cars taking part in the Blancpain Endurance Series this season it has been a very tough place to get a result, especially against so many world class drivers;” said Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum. “If we could get a top ten result this weekend that would be a fantastic achievement.”
Seen by many as a warm-up to next month’s 24 hours of Spa event, the 1000km offers up the added challenges of operating in predicted high temperatures and dwindling light conditions as the race continues into the late evening.
“Going to Paul Ricard is one of the highlights of my year;” Bartrum continued. “Having a six hour race there is like having a full dress rehearsal for the Spa 24 hour so I’m really looking forward to spending six hours of racing there as we go from daylight to darkness.”
After showing encouraging pace during the opening rounds of the season, both Monza and Silverstone proved frustrating for the squad with issues dampening the Aston Martin Racing customer teams’ chances of success. However, following a successful pre-season test at the Paul Ricard track back in March, the Oman Racing Team is hopeful of a more rewarding result this time out.
Team Boss Bartrum added; “The pre-season test here went really well so we’ll be using that data to help us push on and hopefully get the result that we want this weekend.”
Following Friday’s free practice and pre-qualifying sessions, qualifying for Saturday’s six hour race commences at 9:05am UK time, with the race scheduled at 4pm UK time (5pm local time).
Live streaming of Saturday’s qualifying sessions and race will be available online via the official Blancpain Endurance Series website: http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live with live coverage on MotorsTV from 4pm.
MotorsTV can be found on the following channels: Sky 447, Virgin 545 and Freeview 71 & 240.
“After our successful pre-season test at Paul Ricard in March I think we have a good chance of securing a top 10 finish. We have looked into all areas from Silverstone from car to team and I think we have every chance of being competitive this weekend.
“It’s nice that this weekend is a longer race and it’s cool that we’ll finish in the darkness around Paul Ricard, it’s a stunning circuit. We’re all looking forward to the event and are in need of a strong result come Saturday evening – for everyone involved in the Oman Racing Team and Motorbase.”
“It’s going to be a very busy race, with many teams using it as a warm-up to Spa. I’m really looking forward to the event itself as well as the race. With it being a half night race, it makes it a little bit special.”
“We had a really good pre-season test here back in Marc and ended up in P3 on day one, which is encouraging pace wise. Obviously race day is completely different but the Aston is suited well to the circuit and hopefully the longer race will give us more of a chance to show how competitive we can be.”
Ahmad Al Harthy:
“We can’t wait for the race at Paul Ricard this weekend, it’s going to be a tough long race and we hope to show our true pace over the 6 hour race.
“It’s true that we haven’t had the season we wanted up to now in Blancpain but we know we can turn things around at Paul Ricard. We will know more about our strategy once we start testing and see how we are against the others on track, I am sure we will all give it our best.”