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GT Open Winter Series, Barcelona - Official Test Days Report

The final pre-season test for the International GT Open series took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmeló, Barcelona on Thursday and Friday. A total of 14 cars took to the track during the two days of testing in Spain, including no fewer than six Kessel Racing cars.

On Thursday it was the V8 Racing Corvette C6.R of Dutch drivers Alex van ‘t Hoff, Rick Abresch and Diederik Sijthoff that set the fastest lap time on the 4.655m long circuit. The Corvette, which will be raced by Sijthoff and Belgian Bert Longin this season, set its fastest lap in the third of four sessions on Thursday. The Drivex School Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Niccolò Schirò, Matias Russo and Archie Hamilton finished the first day of testing a quarter of a seond behind the Corvette in second place. MTECH Racing’s Duncan Cameron and Marco Cioci, replacing Matt Griffin who was unavailable for the Barcelona test, finished in third.

An interesting addition to the International GT Open field at the Circuit de Catalunya was the Larbre Competition Corvette of Fernando Rees and Patrick Bornhauser, still wearing its #50 24 Hours of Le Mans / FIA World Endurance Championship livery and in WEC specification. Jack Leconte’s team had entered the European Le Mans Series, but the Corvette does not feature on the latest entry list for the European Le Mans Series Paul Ricard Test Session later this month. On Thursday it was sixth fastest, on Friday lap times improved and the Larbre Competition Corvette finished the day in third place, best of the three Corvettes.

Fastest on Friday - and combined - was the Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 of Michael Broniszewski and Philipp Peter. The #11 Ferrari posted a 1:47.163 in the fourth and final session of the day, a lap time that was almost a second and a half faster than the lap time set by the MTECH Ferrari and 1.7s quicker than the Larbre Corvette.

Quickest over two days in the GTS class was the Ombra Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Joel Camathias and Mario Cordoni. SMP Racing and Kessel Racing finished second and third. Interesting to note is that while SMP Racing and Kessel Racing brought eight cars to Spain the two teams also ran four cars in testing at Monza on Thursday and Friday.

Next stop for the International GT Open series is the official season opener at the Paul Ricard circuit at the end of April.