Marking the first and only collective test of the pre-season, the visit to the Le Castellet track on Wednesday, 13th March, and Thursday, 14th March, provided the first chance for teams and drivers to measure their respective performances with only a month to go until round one of the campaign.
Joined by experienced Belgian Frederic Vervisch, who has been confirmed as the Dundee driver’s team-mate for the sister Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, and Spaniard Ivan Pareras, who will partner Hutchison in the Endurance Cup, the Phoenix squad emerged as the fastest Audi entry.
Producing a time of 1m54.028 seconds during the morning session on Wednesday, within 0.9 seconds of the outright pace, in the afternoon run an almost identical time of 1m54.078 seconds was delivered by the blue Audi shared by Hutchison and Vervisch.
On Thursday the Phoenix squad, this time seeing Pareras join Hutchison in the red Audi they will share with Germany’s Kim-Luis Schramm in the Endurance Cup, produced a best of the day of 1m54.514 seconds in the morning run, within 0.7 seconds of the top of the times.
“I’m really pleased with how the two days have gone”, said Hutchison, who is backed once again in 2019 by Hutchison Technologies, Evoson and In-Home Displays, “We completed a lot of important work with both cars and to end the Ricard test as the fastest of the Audis is great – but we all know nobody has shown their true hand yet!
“We also don’t yet know what the BOP [Balance of Performance] will be for the season, but we’re definitely happy with how things are going and we made quite a lot of progress. It’s great to confirm I’ll be teaming with Frederic [Vervisch] in the Pro class for the GT World Challenge and with Ivan [Pareras] and Kim-Luis [Schramm] in the Silver Cup in Endurance. It should be an awesome year.”
There is only now a month to wait for the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season, which will take place at Monza in Italy over the weekend 13th/14th April – an incredible grid of 49 cars has been officially confirmed for the first three-hour race of the year.
The sister Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, meanwhile, will get underway on British soil over the weekend 4th/5th May at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.
2019 Blancpain GT Series Calendar
13/14 April – Monza, Italy – Rd1 Blancpain Endurance Cup
4/5 May – Brands Hatch, UK – Rd1 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe
11/12 May – Silverstone, UK – Rd2 Blancpain Endurance Cup
31 May/1 June – Paul Ricard, France – Rd3 Blancpain Endurance Cup
29/30 June – Misano, Italy – Rd2 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe
3 July – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – Official Test
13/14 July – Zandvoort, The Netherlands – Rd3 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe
25-28 July – Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium – Rd4 Blancpain Endurance Cup
30 August/1 September – Nurburgring, Germany – Rd4 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe
7/8 September – Hungaroring, Hungary – Rd5 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe
28/29 September – Barcelona, Spain – Rd5 Blancpain Endurance Cup