The launch of a new season always comes with expectations, but rarely have they been this high. With an incredible 52 cars heading to Monza for the start of the 2023 GT4 European Series, here’s an overview of what to expect from a field that has never been more open and diverse.
With well over double figures in all three classes, the season couldn't start with a more open playing field. The 52 cars entered include plenty of new teams, while the three class-winning driver pairs from last year have all moved on to new horizons. What's more, various cars have undergone an evolution over winter and both BMW and McLaren present brand-new machinery, adding even more to the unpredictability at the dawn of the new season.
The first stop is the iconic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the legendary Temple of Speed, where the field will battle it out over two races.
All brands represented in wide-open Silver class
The Silver Cup has the highest number of entries for the season opener, with cars from all nine of the series' brands represented.
Reigning champions Roee Meyuhas and Erwan Bastard have taken on a new challenge in GT3 this year, but the Saintéloc Junior Team squad is back with clear ambitions to defend its GT4 title. The French team enters one Audi R8 LMS GT4 in the Silver class, with the highly experienced Paul Petit sharing the driving with one of last year's rising stars, Marc Lopez.
Another entry to watch will be NM Racing Team's #15 Mercedes-AMG GT4. A very close runner-up last season, Lluc Ibanez is back for revenge this term and will be aiming for nothing less than victory with new teammate and series regular Alexandre Papadopulos.
Heading a huge field of entries for Aston Martin, which is this year's most popular brand, Racing Spirit of Léman has high ambitions for their Victor Weyrich-Konstantin Lachenauer crew. With the likes of AGS Events, Prosport Racing and JSB Compétition all bringing a wealth of Aston Martin experience to the grid, they will have their work cut out.
The Silver class further welcomes a whole range of new teams and/or cars to the series, which will prove interesting to follow for all curious race fans. Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport from Turkey, for example, returns with a double entry, but this time in the brand-new BMW M4 GT4. Porsche is represented by Allied-Racing and Overdrive Racing, and also entering the series is Belgian team Xwift Racing Events with the only Toyota on the grid, while Elite Motorsport does the same with the all-new McLaren Artura. And last but not least, last year's Pro-Am runner-up V8 Racing steps up to Silver, with team regular Kenny Herremans sharing the crowd-pleasing Camaro GT4.R with Dante Rappange.
Experience versus ambitious newcomers in Pro-Am
Various new teams join the GT4 European Series in the Pro-Am class, with EastSide Motorsport and Armada Racing both entering Mercedes-AMG GT4s and Newbridge Motorsport representing Aston Martin.
But high up anyone's favourite list in Pro-Am will no doubt be the double Audi R8 LMS GT4 entry by Saintéloc Junior Team. Last year's overall championship winners have brought together two ambitious driver pairs, with Christophe Hamon and Grégory Guilvert sharing one car, and Cyril Saleilles and Anthony Beltoise driving the other.
Don't count out NM Racing though, as they also bring their two Mercedes-AMG entries to the class with high ambitions. And finally, could Code Racing Development's Alpine A110 GT4 EVO featuring Antoine Leclerc and Loïc Villiger be the brave French challenger in this otherwise German-British manufacturer battle?
Am category: a series on its own
Alpine, Aston Martin, BMW and Porsche... The Am category brands’ line-up is worthy of a racing series all on its own, making the 2023 Am class in the GT4 European Series the ultimate stepping stone in GT racing.
W&D Racing Team is the sole BMW squad in the Am category, while Autosport GP LS Group Performance, with the massively experienced Alain Ferté in their ranks, will defend the Alpine colours. AGS Events, GPA Racing and Racing One look highly ambitious with their Aston Martin entries.
That said, Centri Porsche Ticino brings a lot of GT4 experience to the Am class, teaming up regular Ivan Jacoma with 2018 Am-champion Nicolas Leutwiler. Having AVR-Avvatar and Overdrive Racing also joining the class with the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS ClubSport, the flat-six bellow is sure to be heard when Am contenders fly down the ultra-fast Monza straights.
Where to watch the GT4 European Series opening round
The GT4 European Series Monza season opener runs from April 21-23, starting with two free practice sessions on Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday at 11:10 CET. Race one follows at 16:50 CET, while Sunday’s second race is scheduled for 12:00 noon CET.
Both qualifying and the races will be streamed live in English, French and German via the GT4 European Series website and the GTWorld YouTube channel.
MONZA PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST: Click here