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GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard

12th - 13th March 2020

Event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello

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GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS will officially launch its 2020 campaign at Circuit Paul Ricard with two days of testing laying the foundations for the year ahead.

Representing the first official track activity staged under the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS name, the traditional pre-season event brings together competitors from the Endurance Cup, Sprint Cup and GT Club Sports formats at the 5.86km venue in the south of France.

Circuit Paul Ricard provides the ideal location for testing, combining high-speed straights with a series of technical corners and world-class facilities.

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A combined 14 hours of running over two days will allow teams to work through detailed testing programmes and develop relationships with new drivers, many of whom are set to make their series debuts this term.

The tests will run Thursday and Friday at 9:00 a.m. with a four-hour morning session, followed by an afternoon run that will begin at 2:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 p.m.

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Thursday March 12

AKKA ASP ended the first day of GT World Challenge Europe's pre-season test on top of the times, with Raffaele Marciello posting a best lap of 1m53.468s in the #88 Mercedes-AMG (Marciello Raffaele/Barthez Fabien/Beaubelique Jean-Luc).

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The Italian driver went fastest in both the morning and afternoon sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard, while the CMR Bentley Continental GT3 #107 (Tribaudini Stéphane/Ricci Romano/Jean Pierre Alexandre) came closest to his benchmark with a 1m53.855s.

The #40 GPX Porsche 911 GT3 R (Preining Thomas/Olsen Dennis/Dumas Romain) was top for much of the afternoon only for Marciello to once again hit the front late in proceedings.

Madpanda Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG GT3 #90 - Perez Companc Ezequiel), Emil Frey Racing (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 #163 - Costa Albert/Perera Franck), and Attempto (Audi R8 LMS GT3 #55 Drudi Mattia/Schramm Kim Luis/Schöll Nicolas/Gachet Simon/Monti Romain/Vervisch Frederic) also lapped in the 1m53s on Thursday.

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The majority of the day was run under clear blue skies, though the weather grew overcast during the final hours of the afternoon session.

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Friday March 13

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Raffaele Marciello emerged as the ultimate pacesetter with a best effort of 1m53.417s in his AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The Italian driver made a near-perfect start to the season, topping three of the four sessions across Thursday and Friday.

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The #88 car was among the few to break into the 1m53s on the first day of running, but several others joined him on the second.

The #84 HTP-Winward Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Ellis Philip/Dontje Indy/Ward Bryce) was fastest on Friday afternoon, the only occasion on which the AKKA ASP entry was not P1.

The #130 Honda NSX GT3 was fast with Marco Bonanomi at the wheel, while the GPX squad was consistently quick with its pair of Porsche 911 GT3 R (#12 Pilet Patrick/Jaminet Mathieu/Campbell Matt and #40).

GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 043GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 044GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 045GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 046GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 047GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 048GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 049GT World Challenge Europe - pre-season tests - Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 050

Series returnees CMR (Bentley Continental GT3 #107 and #108 Gounon Jules/Panciatici Nelson/Jean Pierre Alexandre) and Emil Frey Racing (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 #14 Siedler Norbert/Grenier Mikaël/Feller Ricardo and #163) also showed well, as did newcomer Madpanda (Mercedes-AMG GT #90).

Each of the 11 brands that will compete this season was represented at the test.

Along with those mentioned, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lexus and McLaren were also on-track at Circuit Paul Ricard as their teams prepared for the 2020 campaign.

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After Monza’s cancellation, we’re now awaiting the start of the season.

For my friends modelers and collectors

Following contacts on forums of modellers and model cars collectors, I propose you to make pictures of details so that you can improve your models.

I will try to follow the news of modelism.

For this first I offer a 2018 Mercedes AMG GT3 with 2020 EVO kit.

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(SRO Press release)

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