Garage 58 are the winners of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, 1000 km race at Paul Ricard Circuit this year. The McLaren team thrived in the final hour of the race that was largely dominated by Bentley M-Sport in two Bentley Continental GT3 cars.
Shane Van Gisbergen, Côme Ledogar and Rob Bell in the #58 McLaren 650S GT3 crossed the finish line first after six hours of racing which extended into the night. Van Gisbergen only grabbed the lead after the final pit stop when the leading Bentley caught fire while refueling. The pitstop was well timed during a full course yellow, allowing the McLaren driver to catch up with the leading #50 Ferrari 488 GT3 of AF Corse. The McLaren claimed the lead when the Ferrari made their final stop, and with little time left to close the gap, AF Corse had to settle for second place.
The second placed AF Corse #50 Ferrari 488 GT3 was piloted by Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo and Alessandro Pier Guidi. The squad started from pole after winning qualifying, sitting on the first row alongside their sister car, the #53 Ferrari 488 GT3. The Bentley Boys however took charge of the race during the first lap putting the #7 and #8 cars ahead of the Ferraris.
The #7 Bentley of Guy Smith, Vincent Abril and Steven Kane was however hit with ABS problems and fell back while fixing the issue. That left the #8 Bentley of Andy Soucek, Wolfgang Reip and Maxime Soulet in the lead. Consequently, the #8 car was handed a drive-through penalty for not slowing down enough. The final blow to the Bentley team came during their final pit stop to refuel when a fire erupted after fuel bits landed on the hot brakes. They put the fire out quickly but ultimately lost the lead in the race, they finished fourth eventually.
Third place went to the #3 Audi R8 LMS from Belgian Audi Team WRT, piloted by Rodrigo Baptista, Jan Magnussen and Felipe Albuquerque. The team started from 20th place but drove incredibly all the way to the top before claiming P3. Behind the #8 Bentley came the #23 Nissan GT-R GT3 of Lucas Ordonez, Mitsunori Takaboshi and Alex Buncombe from Nissan GT Academy Team RJN.
The Pro-Am Cup win went to Kessel Racing with the #11 Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Michal Broniszewski, Alessandro Bonacini and Andrea Rizzoli. They finished 8th overall, leading P2 winners in this class, AF Corse with the #52 Ferrari 488 GT3.The #78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 claimed the final spot on the podium in this class, driven by Leo Machitski, Phil Keen and Marco Mapelli from Barwell Motorsport.
Kessel Racing grabbed another win in the Am-Cup class with the #888 Ferrari 458 GT3 of Marco Zanuttini, Vadim Gitlin and Liam Talbot. The #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored P2 in this class, while P3 went to the #42 Ferrari 458 GT3 of Classic & Modern Racing.
David Perel from Kessel Racing won pole in the AM Cup, the Ferrari driver crossed the finish line in fourth driving the #111 458 GT3.
The next race will be at the Nurburgring on July 1, a round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup .