- Seventh round of the FANATEC GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS at Hockenheim from 1 to 3 September
- More than 40 spectacular GT3 cars contest two one-hour sprints on the Grand Prix circuit
- Motorbike legend Valentino Rossi (44) travels to Hockenheim inspired after his first victory in the BMW M4 GT3
The “FANATEC GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS”, the world’s largest GT3 racing series, will be held at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg for the second time on the first weekend in September. More than 40 of the 550-hp dream sports cars from no less than eight different brands (Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche) will compete on the 4.5-kilometre Grand Prix circuit outside Heidelberg in the Sprint Cup, one of the two sub-rankings of the GT World Challenge Europe. Here, two drivers each share a race car in two one-hour races, while the Endurance Cup with its races over three, six and 24 hours belongs to the long-distance specialists.
Both Sprint and Endurance Cup are divided into a total of five different classification groups (Pro Cup, ProAm Cup, Gold Cup, Silver Cup, Bronze Cup), which represent the respective driver status of the FIA World Automobile Federation. The FIA divides all racing drivers worldwide into different performance levels – from full professionals (Platinum and Gold) to semi-professionals (Silver) and amateurs (Bronze). But because this driver status only allows limited conclusions to be drawn about the abilities of the respective driver, so that Silver Cup teams can also compete for overall victories, and because all groups are fought with a knife between their teeth anyway, this means one thing above all for the fans in the stands: motorsport at its best. The guest appearance of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe in Hockenheim guarantees fights for positions regardless of losses and more than 22,000 hp, which will rage through the time-honoured Motodrom with a guarantee of goose bumps. In short: a horsepower festival that will sweep every race fan off their feet.
The GT3 category is a real success story. Created in 2005 by the Frenchman Stéphane Ratel, the beautiful racing cars fascinate fans all over the world. Numerous national championships are run according to the sporting and technical rules of the SRO (Stéphane Ratel Organisation). The GT World Challenge is held in Europe, Asia and North America. Its great trademark: Diversity. Turbo bolides like BMW, Honda and Ferrari against the mid-engine rockets from McLaren (V8) as well as Audi and Lamborghini (V10), the husky-sounding Porsche boxer against the rumbling V8 naturally aspirated sound of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 – there is something for everyone. And thanks to Balance of Performance, all eight concepts are fully competitive.
Crowd favourite Valentino Rossi
The eyes of the fans will certainly be on the striking yellow-blue racing car with the starting number 46 – and not only because its driver Valentino Rossi, a nine-time world champion, is one of the best motorbike racers in history. But also because the 44-year-old Italian and his Belgian partner Maxime Martin in the WRT team’s BMW M4 GT3 have made their Sprint Cup title ambitions very clear with their impressive victory in Sunday’s race in Misano/Italy at the latest.
Currently second in the Sprint Cup, Rossi/Martin, tied on points with their BMW brand colleagues Dries Vanthoor/Charles Weerts, are just 16.5 points behind leaders Raffaele Marciello/Timur Boguslavskyi in the Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Swiss-Russian pairing also leads the overall standings of the “FANATEC GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS”, which is made up of Sprint Cup and Endurance Cup, by a clear margin of 47 points over brand colleague Jules Gounon and even 65 points over the BMW trio Marco Wittmann/Philipp Eng/Nick Yelloly.
Exciting supporting programme, family-friendly ticket prices
The two one-hour races on Saturday (start: 2.00 p.m.) and Sunday (start: 2.35 p.m.) are the highlights of the race weekend at the Hockenheimring – but by far not the only ones. With the GT4 European Series, the “2nd league of European GT racing” starts, so to speak. The mostly young drivers in their relatively close-to-production GT racers with more than 420 hp are always particularly spirited in front of the GT3 elite.
The races of the McLaren Trophy Europe with its 585 hp McLaren Artura GT4 as well as the Mitjet International with its 300 hp silhouette racers weighing only about 800 kilograms are also good for a lot of spectacle.
Proximity for fans is part of the DNA of the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. The open paddock is part of the concept of the Fanatec GT World Challenge, and if you don’t get hold of an autograph from your favourite driver on the race weekend, you haven’t really tried for one. And the whole thing is available at family-friendly prices. The weekend ticket including access to the paddock costs only 35 euros, and for children up to 14 years of age, admission is completely free. Tickets are available via the online ticket shop at www.hockenheimring.de or by calling the hotline on +49(0)6205 950-222.