Swiss watch brand Blancpain launched its new season of motorcycle and Lamborhini racing this weekend, with a rainy meet in Monza consisting of 56 teams and 159 drivers.
The brand kicked off the 2012 season of Blancpain Race Weekends at the Italian trace, with the teams racing on the 3.6 mile long Formula 1 track.
Italian motorcyclist Valentino Rossi took to the track driving a Ferrari 458 Italia, his debut in GT sports for Team Kessel Racing.
The first winners of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series were announced after a three?hour race on Sunday afternoon. Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala, driving a BMW Z4 came in first place, while Marco Bonamoni, Edward Sandström and Laurens Vanthoor came second with their Audi R8 LMS. Taking third position were Koen Wauters, Anthony Kumpen and Karl Wendlinger driving a Mercedes?Benz SLS AMG GT3.
Meanwhile the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series will take place at a number of European circuits on six weekends this year, with a three?hour race each Sunday, ending with the Total 24 Hours of Spa range, held on the last weekend of July.
It began this weekend with Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo races. A release from Blancpain said: “Amateur drivers faced difficult weather conditions during the weekend. The banks of fog due to the continuous rain reduced visibility and made it impossible for the pursuers of the leading car to see the car in front.”
At the end of the weekend Stefano Comini celebrated a double victory, driving across the finish line first in both the Saturday and Sunday races. Bernard Delhez and Dimitri Enjalbert came second on Saturday, while Mario Fasanetto and the UK’s Timothy Needel took third place.
On Sunday, Gianluca Carboni came second, while Cedric Leimer scooped third place.
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo runs alongside the Blancpain Endurance Series. The new Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series will debut at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia later next month.
Marc A. Hayek, President and chief executive of Blancpain, will participate again with a Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ at the next event in Silverstone, to be held on the weekend of June 2 and 3.
He will aim to defend his ADAC GT Masters Amateur Championship title in a Gallardo LP600+. The German racing team Reiter Engineering is in charge of the cars.
The Blancpain Endurance Series and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo will take place on the following dates:
2 – 3 May, Silverstone (GBR)
30 June – 1 July, Paul Ricard (FRA)
28 – 31 July, 24h Spa Francorchamps (BEL)
22 – 23 September, Nürburgring (GER)
13 – 14 October, Navarra (ESP)
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia will take place on the following dates:
26 – 27 May, Sepang (MYS)
14 – 15 July, Fuji (JPN)
18 – 19 August, Ordos (CHN)
15 – 16 September, Zhuhai (CHN)
6 – 7 October, Pan Bay (TWN)
10 – 11 November, Shanghai (CHN)