Blancpain GT Endurance Series: Meet the Drivers (Part One)

There are an incredible 32 Brits taking part in the second round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Endurance Series this weekend at Silverstone – and it is a field oozing with quality. Rather than write one long, rambling piece on all of them, we have decided to split our usual ‘Meet the Drivers’ piece into three parts to share with you over the weekend.

Guy Smith
#7 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 (P)
Jules Gounon, Steven Kane
Bentley stalwart Smith approaches his final race optimistic of leaving with a positive result. After an indifferent start to the season at Monza (when isn’t it indifferent for Smith at Monza?), the Bentley Boy will be hoping to step down from frontline driver duty with a bang, before Jordan Pepper takes over at Paul Ricard. If he can bow out with a podium – which would be his first since 2015 – it would be some achievement.

Steven Kane
#7 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 (G)
Guy Smith, Jules Gounon
While Smith rides off into the sunset, Kane continues to wield his wealth of experience in the #7 Bentley. His pace is strong, as highlighted by some stellar drives in the BES and BSS last year, where he scored two podiums in the latter. Silverstone was the scene of the Continental GT3’s first race victory back in 2015; it would be a tremendous homecoming to repeat that feat this time round.

Stuart Leonard
#17 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS (S)
Sheldon van der Linde, Marcel Fässler
The reigning Sprint Cup champion, alongside DTM runner and one-of-the-best-racers-outside-F1-who-should-be-in-F1, Robin Frijns. Leonard has made meteoric progress since joining WRT towards the tail end of 2015, including victories in the Dubai 24 Hour and – earlier this year – the Bathurst 12 Hour. Usual partner Frijns is absent this weekend, but the London-born racer will still be partnered by the experienced Marcel Fässler and the rapid Sheldon van der Linde.

Jordan Witt
#22 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (S) – Silver Cup)
Ricardo Sanchez, Struan Moore
Witt may be new to the Blancpain scene, but he has a wealth of experience in GT cars in recent years. As well as British GT and Porsche Carrera Cup racing, Witt won with the unique Chevron GT4 in the Euro Series in 2015 and has also competed in the GT Open too. The focus is on challenging for Silver Cup honours this year, with the team hoping for a more trouble-free run than they experienced in the season opener at Monza.

Struan Moore
#22 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (S – Silver Cup)
Jordan Witt, Ricardo Sanchez
A former Formula 4 team-mate of George Russell, Moore is in his second full season with RJN Motorsport, dovetailing his BES programme with a British GT campaign. The Jersey-born 23 year old has had a fascinating career to date, moving on from the domestic scene to a Japanese Formula 3 effort in 2015. 2016 saw a return to the UK with Garage 59 but results were hard to come by. He secured a good win in the Asian LMS series at Fuji though, before his recent runs in the Nissan.

Matt Parry
#23 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (G)
Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe

A GP3 winner and Formula Renault 2.0 NEC champion, Parry enters his second season with the RJN Nissan team hoping to make a mark. In six races to date, the Welsh youngster is yet to hit the top ten, despite showing some speed and promise on a number of occasions. With the Nissan still very green in its development cycle, those results may take a little longer than hoped.

Alex Buncombe
#23 RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (G)
Matt Parry, Lucas Ordonez

The second Brit in the #23 Nissan, Buncombe brings experience to the table alongside the youth of Parry and zeal of Ordonez. A former BES champion with RJN in 2015, Buncombe has only secured one result of note since those heady heights, with a third at the Nurburgring in 2016. On his day, the Somerset-born racer is one of the calmest in GT racing. Despite a lowly placing in the Monza opener, the new Nissan showed some pace so a clean run this weekend would be a timely boost.

Derek Pierce
#31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (B – Pro-Am Cup)
Rob Smith, Seb Morris

Pierce kicked off the Endurance Series season nicely with a podium in the Pro-Am category at Monza. It has seen the 52 year old return to Parker Racing following a Blancpain campaign in 2016. Pierce has also dabbled with Porsche Carrera Cup GB racing and the Dakar Rally.

Rob Smith
#31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (B – Pro-Am Cup)
Derek Pierce, Seb Morris

Despite being bronze-rated, Smith is a dab hand at endurance racing as he record attests to. 2017 was his best season yet, with a strong showing in the GTE Am category at Le Mans to go alongside his ELMS GTE champion tag. 2018 marks Smith’s first bow in Blancpain racing.

Seb Morris
#31 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (G – Pro-Am Cup)
Derek Pierce, Rob Smith

Providing the ‘Pro’ in this Pro-Am line-up, Morris is as well known for his TV dating exploits as he is racing career. This is a disservice though to a quick runner who moved away from a single-seater career in 2016, despite much promise. On his day he is extremely quick, as his 2017 British GT title highlights. This year sees the 22 year old Welshman take to the continent, where his team look good to challenge for Pro-Am honours.

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