After putting in a phenomenal performance at last weekend´s fifth round of the International GT Open Championship at Silverstone, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is pleased to announce its participation in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Nürburgring next week as part of their test and development program this year.
Since starting the program with the all-new Lexus RC F GT3 at the GT Open season-opener at Estoril in April 2017, the also newly found Lexus crew has come a long way, collecting two Pole Positions and three race victories on its way whilst now competing for the championship title.
With two more race meetings of the International GT Open this year, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is now ready to test the Lexus RC F GT3 in one of the most competitive GT3 championships: the highly regarded Blancpain GT Series. “We have proven the capability of the Lexus RC F GT3 and feel now is the right time to take the program one step further”, says Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “We have no high hopes or are not aiming at any point results, we will use this race meeting purely as a testing ground to see where we stand with our car in such a competitive field and surrounding. It will also be a totally new experience for us to run on Pirelli tyres since we have only ever tested with Michelin and Dunlop, so we will get some very important knowledge on how the car handles on different tyres.”
With his impressive performance at Silverstone last week, Albert Costa Balboa will also take to the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3 at the Sprint Cup race at Nürburgring. He will be joined by the longstanding Emil Frey driver, Stéphane Ortelli, who has already gained experience with the Lexus at last year´s VLN plus he knows the Nürburgring race track very well.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved so far in this program, which was so new to us at the start of the year and we are excited to see where we will stand in the Blancpain GT Series”, says Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “We have competed in the Blancpain GT Series for several years with another manufacturer and know of the incredible competitiveness of this championship. All the premium brands race in the Blancpain GT Series, not only in Europe, but worldwide. To test our Lexus amongst some of the fastest and most developed cars in GT3 racing is a great step forward and the perfect way to test, if this competition could be something of interest to us in the future.”
The race weekend at Nürburgring will start with two 80-minutes free practice sessions on Friday, 15 September 2017. Qualifying will take place on Saturday, 16 September at 09.40am, with the Qualification Race to follow at 2.00pm. Sunday sees the main one-hour race at 03.30pm.
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“I am so excited to join the Blancpain GT Series with Lexus, because it marks a new adventure for me as well, as driving in the Sprint Cup is completely different than the Endurance Cup. Since I started working with Emil Frey Racing, it has always been my dream to race together with Stéphane Ortelli in the Sprint Cup, because we are very small drivers, we share the same seat, and we have more advantage during the pitstop and driver change. I only recently drove at Nürburgring so I am still quite familiar with the track. I believe in my team and I am sure we will enjoy the weekend a lot, I really cannot wait. We are doing the job amazingly good, if we keep this up we could achieve a good result, but in the end, we are here to learn and to improve ourselves and I am proud that we go so quickly with our development program.”
Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
“I have followed the Lexus program closely since I took part in VLN last year to do the first development steps with the team and that car, so the Lexus RC F GT3 is not completely new to me. I also know the Nürburgring quite well and enjoy driving there. It will be a great new experience and I am very much looking forward to working with the Emil Frey Lexus Racing team and sharing the car with Albert. It will be interesting to see how competitive we will be, but either way we will enjoy our first experience of the Sprint Cup.”