Blancpain Endurance Series - Monza

Sunday, April 14, 2019

GPX Racing made its debut in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza with its no. 20 Porsche 991 GT3 R in the Gulf colours and its drivers, Stuart Hall, Jordan Grogor and Benjamin Goethe. Unfortunately, after encouraging practice sessions the car was damaged in qualifying and could not take part in the three-hour race.

The drivers in the Dubai team are entered for the Silver Cup. It has two very experienced members in British ace Stuart Hall and South African star Jordan Grogor. The third driver is Anglo/Dane, Benjamin Goethe, the youngest entry in the field at 16 years of age. This is why the team management decided to give Benji more track time in practice.

The situation lived up to GPX Racing’s expectations before qualifying. Grogor lapped within 8/10s of the works Porsches and Goethe was only 8/10s slower than his team-mate. Hall did only a few laps to leave his young protégé the time to dial himself in on the venerable Autodromo Nazionale di Monza layout. The team was on the pace without really going for a time.

Sadly, the whole adventure came to an abrupt halt at the start of qualifying. In the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup each driver has to compete in one of the sessions and the average of the three times is then calculated. The overall performance of the driver line-up is taken into account. Goethe was asked to do the first session. After only two laps on the soaking wet circuit the red flag sent all the drivers scurrying back to the pits as a deluge hit the circuit. When the green light came on again the cars left the pit lane in single file. Goethe started aquaplaning at the pit exit and the Porsche slammed head-on into the opposite wall. The chassis was damaged in the incident and proved impossible to repair before the start.

Pierre-Brice Mena (team principal): “A pity. At least ten cars hit the barriers during the qualifications. Comparatively speaking our impact looked fairly light, but we had to call it a day. We were in a fairly optimistic frame of mind after practice on Friday and Saturday and we were aiming for a place in the middle of the Silver Cup runners. Circumstances didn’t help us very much. We had a lot of new things to try out at Monza, but it was almost impossible to carry out the whole work programme we’d foreseen with the amount of running time available. We also had to cope with the very difficult track conditions and infernal traffic with almost fifty cars on the circuit plus the neutralisations. In addition, our bad luck in qualifying deprived us of valuable race experience. Despite everything we had enough time to understand quite a lot of things. And the fact that a Porsche won is an encouraging sign! We’re fully aware of the progress we have to make, but I’m not worried. We’ll do all we can to be competitive at Silverstone.”