Arnhem, Weeze, Bergamo, Monza. That was my route for today. It took me seven hours to go from A to M, and hectic it was. But here we are, at the hotel, just back from dinner, finishing up the day. So here it is, the run-down of day one of the Blancpain GT Monza round.
Without any Blancpain GT track sessions planned for Friday, it was up to the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup to warn the citizens of Monza that racing is back in town.
While the GT3 teams were finishing up their preparations for the day, I talked with single-seater-turned-GT-racer Indy Dontje about his upcoming Blancpain GT debute as he was about to head for the drivers briefing.
“The car looks fantastic, the design is great,” the Dutchman said about his Rowe Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. “We had a test last week and that went tremendously well. I’m really looking forward to the race.”
Still, though, he isn’t convinced the German squad will be right there at the front from the get-go.
“My colleagues told me that the Mercedes isn’t the strongest car at Monza, so we’ll see where we stand after qualifying and training, but I definitely feel confident.
“We’re still an inexperienced team [in Blancpain GT], but I think we’ll be quick to learn and be able to achieve much.”
Dontje is one of many young drivers who have made the switch from open wheeling racing to sports cars early on in their career. Where in the past such a move was often seen as a last resort, in recent years it seems to be a very respectable career change.
And with Robin Frijns making his second attempt at his GT debut, the former Formula 3 driver will be in good company.
The day will kick-off on Saturday with the Blancpain GT Bronze Test at 9:00 o’clock, followed by Formula Renault 2.0 and Super Trofeo sessions, before Blancpain GT takes to the track at 12:05 for 1.5 hours of free practice. Pre-qualifying at the end of the afternoon finishes off the day.