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Clampdown leads to 17 penalties in Blancpain Silverstone race

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Clampdown leads to 17 penalties in Blancpain Silverstone race
By:
May 15, 2017, 11:57 AM

The introduction of a zero tolerance policy on driving infringements resulted in no fewer than 17 penalties during the Blancpain Endurance Cup round at Silverstone.

#72 SMP Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3: Victor Shaytar, Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina
#114 Emil Frey Jaguar Racing, Emil Frey Jaguar G3: Jonathan Hirschi, Christian Klien, Marco Seefried
#99 Rowe Racing, BMW M6 GT3: Philipp Eng, Maxim Martin, Alexander Sims
#114 Emil Frey Jaguar Racing, Emil Frey Jaguar G3: Jonathan Hirschi, Christian Klien, Marco Seefried
#84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG GT3: Maximilian Buhk, Franck Perera, Jimmy Eriksson
#22 Team RJN-Motorsport, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Matthew Simmons, Matthew Perry, Struan Moore
#60 Raton Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Andrea Amici, Dennis Lind, Stefano Costantini and #77 Barwell Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Adrian Amstutz, Martin Kodric, Patrick Kujala
#488 Rinaldi Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3: Pierre Ehret, Rino Mastronardi
#12 Ombra Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Andrea Piccini, Michele Beretta, Stefano Gatuso

Series organiser Stephane Ratel said that he had introduced the clampdown after reviewing the multi-car startline accident at the opening round at Monza last month and a number of other incidents in the series this year.

Ratel explained that he wanted to reduce contact in both the Endurance and Sprint Cup arms of the Blancpain GT Series, as well as reinforcing the authority of the race director.

"After looking at Monza and the accident on the first lap at Misano [the Sprint Cup opener in April], the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium [which sanctions the BGTS] and I think the series has become too aggressive," he told Motorsport.com.

"GT cars are not touring cars; they are way too expensive to play at touring car racing.

"The message is, if you want to pass someone by pushing them off, go to the British Touring Car Championship or the World Touring Car Championship."

The new policy of zero tolerance means that all contact will lead to a penalty.

"From now on any contact will result in a penalty and the severity will be graduated according to the consequences of the contact," explained Ratel.

"If you hit a car and it goes off the track and comes back on, you get a drive-through, but if it hits the wall, you get a stop-go.

"We need to make sure that we have strong penalties and we need to restore the authority of the referee, which in our case is the race director."

Ratel explained that he was concerned about the effect of accidents on the size of the grid in BGTS.

"If we continue like this we will lose our amateurs and some teams will run out of budget before the end of the season," he said.

There were 12 drive-throughs during the three-hour race at Silverstone on Sunday for offences ranging from causing a collision to ignoring a red light at the end of the pitlane.

The most significant penalty was a one-minute stop-go awarded to the pole-winning Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes started by Felix Serralles.

It was penalised for hitting Mirko Bortolotti's Grasser Lamborghini on the formation lap and being out of position as the cars approached the start.

The Rinaldi Racing Ferrari shared by Daniel Keilwitz, Alexander Mattschull and Rinat Salikhov was excluded after the team failed to bring in the car for a drive-through for an unsafe release.

Ratel also said that there were plans to introduce a GPS system for each car to allow race officials to enforce the 90km/h speed limit before the start.

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About this article

Series Blancpain Endurance
Event Silverstone
Location Silverstone
Author Gary Watkins