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Featured A Beginners Guide to Blancpain GT & Round 1 Live Stream from Monza!

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Jack Hunsley, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Jack Hunsley

    Jack Hunsley
    Staff Premium

    Header.png With Endurance racing thankfully back in full swing after last weekend's 6 Hours of Silverstone, RaceDepartment is taking some time out of our busy schedule to shed some light on another quality endurance racing series: The Blancpain GT Series.

    Whether you're a rookie or a Blancpain veteran, there's still time to dust up on your knowledge of the championship ahead of the first Endurance Series event at Monza this very weekend. So, without further adieu...

    What is Blancpain?

    Taking it’s name from a Swiss watch maker, the Blancpain GT Series first burst into life in 2011 as a European endurance racing series for FIA-spec GT3 and GT4 cars, in a similar manner as the current European Le Mans series runs with GTE and Le Mans Prototypes.

    From the start, the series managed to draw in several high profile names of old and new. For example, the inaugural series featured drivers such as Eric van de Poele, Frédéric Makowiecki, Tomáš Enge, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson, Felipe Albuquerque, Marcel Fässler, Timo Scheider, Álvaro Parente, David Brabham, Nicolas Lapierre, Oliver Turvey, and both of the Mansell brothers, from the very off the series was one to take series.


    However, it was not until the collapse of the FIA GT1 and GT3 series and their subsequent amalgamation into the Blancpain Championship did Blancpain begin to push way from the concept of being a niche racing series and into a fully fledged and widely respected racing discipline.

    So how does it all work?

    Blancpain itself is comprised of two, technically, separate championships: the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Whilst both series are technically different, they feature pretty much exactly the same driver and team lineups.

    The Sprint series is in essence a re-skinned version of the aforementioned FIA GT3 championship, whilst the Endurance series harks back to the original Blancpain series. A typical race weekend for the Sprint series consists of two 90 minute free practice sessions, a 60 minute qualifying race, followed final by another 60 minute race to pick the winner. For the Endurance championship a more traditional qualifying session decides the grid, before the field dukes it out over, typically, 3 hours. Exceptions to this rule are the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, and, for 2016, the 1000km Paul Ricard.

    Cars are divided into two separate categories, Pro and Pro-Am, exactly as GTE Pro and GTE Am classes are separated in the WEC.


    The calendar for both championships generally consists of five events each, with the big event being the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps where points are distributed at the 6, 12, and of course 24 hour intervals.

    Points are distributed in the same way as in F1 (25,18,15, etc.), whilst half points are awarded at the 6 and 12 hour marks at Spa. Come the end of the season, the points are totted up with a champion for both categories in the Sprint and Endurance individually being crowned, as well as an overall champion for the entire series. Whilst a further award is given called The Silver Cup, which is awarded to Pro category cars fielding two Silver ranked drivers.

    Why should I care?

    An excellent question my hypothetical racing buddy, why should we care? Well for starters, if you love diversity then quite simply, you'll love Blancpain.

    Whilst series such as the WEC have three to four unique cars - at best - in each category, the diversity in Blancpain is staggering in contrast. Ranging from Aston Martin Vantages to Lamborghini Huracans, Blancpain has pretty much every sports car manufacturer covered in one way or another. There's just something so satisfying seeing such a range of cars, all of their own unique quirks and tricks, fighting tooth and nail in a tightly competitive field, something I'm sure any racing fan can appreciate.


    The driver lineups are not half bad either. If anything the field has grown ever stronger than it's impressive 2011 lineup, now containing a wonderful mismatch of F1, Le Mans, Sportscar, open-wheel, and touring car talents, Blancpain has a proven track record of bringing in world class racers as well as very promising endurance rookies.

    Great! Where can I watch it?

    The real selling point of Blancpain is its' accessibility. For 2016 not only is every race and qualifying streamed live - completely free of charge I might add, on YouTube, but full replays and highlights packages are also available for us racing fans to peruse at our own free will. Say what you will about the state of F1's accessibility, but Blancpain is a racing series that knows how to best appease its' fan-base.

    Here at RaceDepartment, we will also be live streaming the races along with our very own chatbox so you can comment and discuss the races with hundreds of other like-minded individuals!

    So who should I root for?
    Well that's totally up to you my good friend. If you like cheering for a proven winner, cheering for a WRT Audi entry would be a good bet - considering their proven track record of four team titles in five seasons. Likewise, as last year's Endurance Series champions, the Nissan GT Academy Team could well be a force to be reckoned with once again.


    Those of the British persuasion might be taken by one of the two Bentley entries. Having picked up one of Nissan's title winning drivers from last season, Wolfgang Reip to be precise, and having won the Sprint Series opener at Misano they should have good momentum coming into Monza. Meanwhile, with 15 Ferrari's and 10 Lambos on the grid, it wouldn't be too far fetched to place a bet or two on one of the Huracan's or brand spanking new Ferrari 488 GT3's taking a home victory.

    Outside of that, Robert is your fathers male sibling!


    If this article has tickled your fancy then make sure to tune into the first Endurance Championship race this weekend from the Temple of Speed: Monza, right here on RaceDepartment as we bring you live streamed coverage of the race in full!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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  2. Great series preview. I absolutely agree with your recommendation - Blancpain is a "must see" for every race fan. Main race starts on Sunday, at 1 PM GMT :)
  3. I've gotta say I enjoyed more the first Blancpain GT Sprint race on Misano than the FIA WEC 6h of Silverstone. Judge me.

    Door to door battles and a pretty sexy field of cars:
    BMW M6
    Audi R8 LMS
    Lamborghini Huracan
    McLaren 650S
    Bentley Continental
    Nissan GT-R
    Mercedes AMG
    Ferrari 458 and 488
    and one Porsche...

    I'm eager to watch the next round on Monza this sunday.
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  4. Gerbuho


    My favourite series!
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  5. Slalom823

    RDTCC S10 Champion Premium

    Thank you for the enjoyable article! I hope you will continue to update and follow the series for us.
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  6. Matej Lakota

    Matej Lakota
    Sriple Tix Premium

    Our Revolution Racing teammate Dennis Lind will start his 1st Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe race today "... has been confirmed among the ranks of Bonaldi Motorsport while Raton Racing fields the Dane Dennis Lind ..." http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/europe/news/details/ He will race at 15:10 cet and tomorrow at 13:05 cet and stream of the race you can watch here http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/live/
    He was on 3rd position in both yesterday s FPs, so it will be interesting today. Go Dennis :thumbsup:!
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  7. Shawn Jacobs

    Shawn Jacobs
    SpeedyMite Racing Premium

    Great article Jack, really enjoyed round 1 of the Sprint series, the qualifying race imo was arguably the best race so far this year.

    Good to see you covering it, I do however have one request, if you decide to do a results article, please please please don't put the results in the title, being in a different time zone makes it difficult to watch live, so it some times takes a day to two till I have a chance to watch the whole race. (Sure I'm not the only one)

    Thanks again!
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  8. BoogerMac


    As an American who has only heard of the series through Sim Racing, I want to send the RD staff a big "Thank you!". The way you broke down the series in an easy to understandable way without being extremely lengthy is great. Also, I had no idea the series was so easily accessible...so now, I'm sitting here with Youtube in another tab watching the countdown clock for the live free practice at Monza.

    Hats off to you @Jack Hunsley!

    I hope to see more articles like this in the future, especially because there are a lot of racing series out there that don't get near enough coverage in the US (Super V8s, etc.). Thankfully CBS Sports shows some of the series like DTM each weekend.
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  9. 4 8 15 16 23 42 108

    4 8 15 16 23 42 108
    Only the 5th-most famous race driver from Kerpen Premium

    @Jack Hunsley Great article, I thought: Why did noone think of this years ago aleady? Must see series that I follow since it started.

    OT question: I have a lot of legal streams for different race series to put in here or send you, mostly German though. It's time we do a "you can watch all these race series for free on your computer" bundle thread!
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  10. Gerbuho


    It's also worth to mention the mobile app, is one of the best, it has it all, and of course, it's free too. ;)
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  11. Tobias Röhner

    Tobias Röhner
    Germany's greatest Indycar Fan. Premium

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  12. Glaurung

    Staff Premium

    Nice article Jack.
    It is interesting to think about the role of the BoP (Balance of Performance) in the success of this series.
    I think it's very important: it prevent a full commitment of the manufacturers (otherwise only one or two of them could sporadically invest a lot of money creating a dominant model for 4-5 years killing the series), then reducing the overall costs, and this allow the series to be so accessible and not ridiculously exclusive like modern F1.
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  13. Enzo Fazzi

    Enzo Fazzi
    Always sideways Premium

    Yup supertrofeo, different series from this main Blancpain GT series. :)
    It's a one make series with a slighty different (faster) car.
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  14. k_badam

    Yer Nan Premium

    I want Lind to do well! i have raced against him plenty times in LFS and he is waayyy to fast for me :)
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  15. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Great article and well written. I've followed this series for a few years and the standard of entries is always amazing and the racing is great as well. GT3 is just incredible now.

    I couldn't stop laughing last year at the start of the Paul Ricard round, there were so many cars they had to stop at the last corner before the start!

    Bought my tickets for the Silverstone round in a few weeks time and really looking forward to it.

    Reminds me of the BPR GT days before the factory teams got involved, started spending millions and unfortunately ruined it. I can't remember if it's in the "rules" or it's just a gentleman's agreement but there are no works teams in Blancpain which as Giuseppe mentions stops costs going crazy. The BoP which some purists may argue about does work well and provides close racing.

    Only two classes to concentrate on so if you are a newbie or find the WEC a bit much to follow then this a good series to watch.

    And yes I thoroughly recommend the official app. Live timing, video, news and all free. Really useful when you have a 60+ car field! ;)
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  16. Dan Allen

    Dan Allen
    I am the Pastor Maldonado of RaceDepartment.

    This isn't round 1 of Blancpain, it's round 2... Round 1 was Misano IIRC.
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  17. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    It's round 1 of the endurance series.
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  18. 4 8 15 16 23 42 108

    4 8 15 16 23 42 108
    Only the 5th-most famous race driver from Kerpen Premium

    Well, it's round 2 of Blancpain GT series but round 1 of Blancpain Endurance Series. Last week was round 1 of Blancpain Sprint Series, the same time round 1 of Blancpain GT Series.
  19. spire13

    If I had a penny for every time I was lapped…

    @Jack Hunsley Thanks for the article - I'm sat watching the free practice now!

    (Even more interesting/relevant right now as I'm in a GT3 RD Club Race tomorrow... :))
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  20. Glaurung

    Staff Premium

    Free practice now, live straming:
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