Nicolas Schöll (Allied Racing) and Nico Menzel (Team Macrix Software by RN Vision STS) claimed pole positions for the two GT4 Sprint Cup Europe races. Schöll came out on top in the first part of qualifying, with Menzel securing pole for the second race in the second part of qualifying on the 4.574 kilometers long Hockenheimring.
Austria’s Nicolas Schöll claims pole for Race 1
Qualifying took place in very un-October-like weather with high temperatures and bright sunshine. Young Austrian Nicolas Schöll (1:48.872) coped best with the conditions and moved into first place on his second timed lap. None of the other drivers was capable of breaking into the 1:48s and after 17 minutes Schöll and Allied Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR was still almost four tenths clear of the next competitor.
Selleslagh Racing Team’s Gilles Magnus qualified his Mercedes-AMG GT4 in second place, 0.389 seconds behind Schöll. Gabriele Piana was next up, ahead of fellow BMW drivers Max Koebolt and Nico Menzel. Schöll’s teammate Hendrik Still will start tomorrow’s race from sixth on the grid. Tim Heinemann, Razvan Umbrarescu, Bas Schouten and Henri Kauppi complete the grid.
Nico Menzel takes pole for Race 2 with fastest time of the day
In Qualifying 2 it was Nico Menzel who claimed pole position with a near-perfect lap. The BMW Motorsport Junior set the fastest lap of the day (1:48.594), beating Gilles Magnus by three tenths of a second. Max Koebolt and Nicolas Schöll were only a couple of hundredths behind Magnus to secure their places on the second row for Sunday’s race, with Tim Heinemann and Gabriele Piana qualifying on the third row.
Razvan Umbrarescu and Hendrik Still qualified seventh and eighth, both within one second of the fastest time of Menzel, while Bas Schouten and Henri Kauppi ended the session in ninth and tenth place. With gaps this close between the drivers, an exciting sprint race is in prospect.
The first race of the GT4 Sprint Cup Europe will get underway at 15:25 local time and will be broadcasted live on european.gt4series.com/live.
Nicolas Schöll #41 Allied Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “It was a really good lap. I found a gap immediately, the car felt really good and the speed is definitely there. We are very competitive for tomorrow. I will try to get a good start and pull away immediately and get a gap, but we’ll see what happens.”
Nico Menzel #110 Team Macrix Software by RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4: “The car was mega, especially in Q2. The track changed quite a lot, so I was very surprised. In Q1 I messed it up a bit, but I can’t change that. So we’ll start P5 and P1. It was one of the best laps I’ve ever done, now we have to convert the good qualifying into a race win.”
SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing
Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.
Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is the controlling shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.
In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The 2018 edition features four events – the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, and the California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.
SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. A new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class has been added in 2018: the GT4 Central European Cup.
In addition, SRO’s world-renowned Balance of Performance regulations are licensed by other series running GT3 and/or GT4 machinery, such as Super GT in Japan, the Australian GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the VLN in Germany and the China GT Championship. SRO also works closely with the FIA when organising its prestigious Macau FIA GT World Cup race.
While Macau caters solely for professional teams and drivers, SRO also understands the important role amateurs play in GT racing’s global success and sustainability. That is why it operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France – and Curbstone Track Events, which provide the ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned circuits. Many of its clients have subsequently graduated to the Blancpain GT Sports Club, the first competitive stepping stone towards gaining the confidence and racecraft required to compete in a Pro/Am environment.
SRO continues to focus on new initiatives that meet the demands of a fast-changing motorsport industry. In light of this, the organisation will launch the inaugural Bahrain GT Festival in November 2018, working in collaboration with the FIA and the Bahrain International Circuit.
This end-of-season event will feature two new standalone races: the FIA GT Nations Cup for GT3 cars, and the GT4 world final, the SRO GT4 International Cup. The Nations Cup will see drivers competing for international honour in the colours of their home countries, while the GT4 contest will bring together the global elite from this rapidly-growing category.
What’s more, SRO will also organise the first GT4 Sprint Cup Europe at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit in October, creating yet another competitive challenge for the continent’s many GT4 racers.
SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.