Signing to compete in both the Blancpain Endurance Cup, which features the world-renowned Total 24 Hours of Spa race in July, and the sister Blancpain Sprint Cup, the hugely talented 18-year-old is absolutely relishing the prospect of racing for one of Europe’s most pre-eminent teams.
Having made a name for himself over the past couple of seasons in GT4, taking victories in the GT4 European Series and British GT4 Championship last year, the Scottish star now returns to Audi power for the first time since 2017 when he was a podium finisher in the one-make Audi Sport TT Cup.
Hutchison sampled the Audi R8 he will race next year during a test outing with Phoenix at Portimao in Portugal last week, a run which went particularly well and gave the teenager plenty of confidence ahead of a more extensive pre-season testing programme in the New Year.
“Everything went very well in the test and the car was awesome”, said an overjoyed Hutchison, “It’s absolutely fantastic to be stepping up into the Blancpain GT Series in GT3 next year, especially with such a successful and experienced team as Phoenix Racing, and it’s great to have the opportunity to race an Audi R8 which is a proven car at this level. It’s a really solid car, a proper race car.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the guys at Phoenix in 2019, I already know some of the Audi factory ‘Pro’ drivers and I am sure I can count on their support and advice as I learn the R8. I’m not setting any goals in terms of the championship, but I want to do the best job I can and make strong progress. It’s a superb opportunity at this point of my career.”
Phoenix Racing, which is based at the Nurburgring in Germany and was formed in 1999, is one of the most successful teams in GT3 competition and has wide-ranging experience in championships such as the DTM ‘German touring cars’, FIA GT Championship and VLN Endurance Series.
The squad, headed by Team Director Ernst Moser, is a past championship winner in DTM, the FIA GT3 European Championship and has also tasted significant success in the Nurburgring 24 Hours and also the Spa 24 Hours.
Team-mates for Hutchison’s Blancpain Endurance and Blancpain Sprint programmes – in which he will be backed by a portfolio of sponsors including Hutchison Technologies, Evoson and In-Home Displays – will be confirmed in due course.
“Finlay is an excellent addition to Phoenix Racing”, said Moser, “We raced against him in the GT4 European Series in 2018 and he demonstrated what he is capable of. We are looking forward to his maiden season in GT3 machinery.”
As mentioned, Hutchison turned a lot of heads in GT4 racing over the past couple of seasons, after starting out his car racing career in Formula Renault in 2016. Switching to endurance racing the following year, he made an instantaneous impression, at just 16-years-of-age, by taking a class win at the Creventic 24 Hour Race in Dubai.
Then embarking on his maiden season in the GT4 European Series, Hutchison ended the year fifth overall in the Northern Cup with several podiums at the wheel of a McLaren 570S and was also a front-runner in the Southern Cup. Additionally, he climbed the podium in the Audi Sport TT Cup and claimed a famous victory in the standalone Zandvoort 500 with a star drive in a Renaultsport R.S.01.
This season the Scottish racer delivered increasingly sensational performances, searing pace and masterful racecraft on his way to a pair of victories in the GT4 European Series and further race glory in British GT4. Back in January, he was again on the podium in Dubai on his first outing in GT3 at the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette at the annual 24 Hours.
Hutchison’s first race in the Blancpain Endurance Cup next year will take place on Sunday, 14th April, at Monza in Italy with the championship then visiting Silverstone in the UK and Paul Ricard in France ahead of the blue Riband Total 24 Hours of Spa in late July in Belgium. Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya will host the Endurance Cup finale at the end of September.
In the Blancpain Sprint Cup, round one will take place on British soil at Brands Hatch on 4th/5th May before the category visits Misano in Italy, Zandvoort in The Netherlands and Germany’s Nurburgring ahead of the final rounds at the Hungaroring near Budapest in early September.
2019 Blancpain GT Series Calendar
13/14 March – Paul Ricard, France – Official Test
13/14 April – Monza, Italy – Rd1 Blancpain Endurance Cup
4/5 May – Brands Hatch, UK – Rd1 Blancpain Sprint Cup
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 Sprint Cup
3 July – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – Official Test
13/14 July – Zandvoort, The Netherlands – Rd3 Blancpain Sprint Cup
25-28 July – Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium – Rd4 Blancpain Endurance Cup
30 August/1 September – Nurburgring, Germany – Rd4 Blancpain Sprint Cup
7/8 September – Hungaroring, Hungary – Rd5 Blancpain Sprint Cup
28/29 September – Barcelona, Spain – Rd5 Blancpain Endurance Cup