Image credit: Xynamic.
This Easter will be a very fast one for Bentley Team HTP: In Nogaro, SW France, the Blancpain GT Series starts with its Blancpain Sprint Series into the new season. Bentley Team HTP competes in both the Sprint Series sprint championship and the long distance races of the Endurance Series, which are held under the umbrella of the Blancpain GT Series. The driver line up of Bentley Team HTP in the Sprint Series is fast, young and ambitious. The pair of Bentley Continental GT3s are shared by Maximilian Buhk (22, Germany) / Vincent Abril (19, France) and Olivier Lombard (23, France) / Jules Szymkowiak (19, Netherlands). Eurosport will broadcast Monday’s main race live.
Bentley Team HTP travels to the „Coupes de Pâques», the traditional Easter cup, with good memories. Twelve month ago, HTP Motorsport scored the first of three wins at Nogaro, which built the foundation of HTP´s driver championship winning performance. This Easter, the team aims to continue this success and competes with the youngest driver line up of the series. Buhk, who is for the fourth consecutive season with HTP Motorsport, will share one Continental GT3 with Abril. The young French talent is new to the Team, but knows the Sprint Series from the 2014 season, when he won the „Silver Cup“, which is reserved for young talents.
The „Silver Cup“ is a clear goal for Lombard and Szymkowiak in the sister car. Lombard brings experience from Le Mans prototype racing to the team and owns a class win at the 24 hours of Le Mans. Szymkowiak moves from Formula racing to GT3 cars. In 2014 he was teammate to now Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.
„Nogaro will be the first sprint race for us with the Bentley Continental GT3 and we are very excited about this“, Bentley Team HTP team principal Norbert Brückner says. „We look forward to meet our competition, which appears to be strong this season. Nogaro is a tight und twisty track and will be very challenging for us. We have a young and very quick driver line up and certainly a chance to fight for the podium. The French round of the Blancpain Sprint Series marks the home race of two of our drivers and many members of the team, therefore the entire team is motivated to score a top result.“
Easter marks the start of a busy week for the team. After Easter Mondays race, the team will travel to Monza/Italy for the first round of the Blancpain Endurance Series. Harold Primat (39, Switzerland), Vincent Abril and Mike Parisy (30, France) will share one Bentley in the three-hour race in Italy. Between the two Blancpain weekends, Bentley Team HTP will also take part in the official ADAC GT Masters pre season test in Oschersleben/Germany.
The main race from Nogaro on Easter Monday (13:10 hours CET) will be broadcasted live by Eurosport. An online livestream of the Main Race and the Qualifying Race (Sunday, 14:15 hours CET) will be available on www.blancpain-gt-series.com.
Maximilian Buhk: “Nogaro is my first race with the Bentley Continental GT3 in Europe. I have some good memories to Nogaro, as I won the opening round there last year. It’s the first race with Vincent Abril, who is my new teammate for the Sprint Series. We already met at tests and worked well together. I’m looking forward to race with him this season.“
Olivier Lombard: “I was able to discover the team at recent testdays and could see the potential. It is great to start with a car of such a renowned brand like Bentley. I’m confident that Jules and myself have the potential for strong results. The first race is my home race, so I’m very excited about this. The track has some tight corners, I expect intensive fights.