Sun, sea and supercars: The GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club rolls into Misano

Sun, sea and supercars: The GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club rolls into Misano

+ Massive 49-car field heads to the Italian coast for round two
+ Split qualifying system to be used for the first time
+ Matmut Évolution drivers Joulié and Cheli head superb Silver entry
+ Dead heat in Pro-Am between Mirage Racing and W&S Motorsport
+ Can Schumacher CLRT pair Hurgon and Huteau continue their dream start in Am?
+ Misano – Provisional Entry List

The GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club returns to action at the seaside Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli next weekend (May 17-19), with the heat about to be turned up in the title races.

A total of 49 cars will contest the twin hour-long races at the Italian track, with 10 different world-class brands represented and drivers from over 20 different nations set to do battle. Due to the number of entries and the size of the 4.06km track, a new split qualifying system will be used to ensure all competitors get the best chance to set a clear lap. Silver runners will have their own qualifying session, with Pro-Am and Am entries combined in the other. Both races will feature the full field competing together, as usual.

Matmut Toyota leads stacked Silver entry

After a win and a second place last time out at Circuit Paul Ricard, Matmut Évolution drivers Enzo Joulié and Etienne Cheli look early favourites in Silver, but all that can change in what is a hugely competitive class.

While the Toyota drivers controlled the first race of the season, they did not have an answer to the pace of PROsport Racing Aston Martin pair Hugo Sasse and Raphael Rennhofer in the second race in France. Had Sasse and Rennhofer not been denied a podium in the first race by suspension failure, they could well have headed to Misano level at the top of the table.

Elite Motorsport McLaren Artura drivers Tom Lebbon and Josh Rattican also impressed at Le Castellet, scoring two podiums to sit second in the points and with all eyes on finding the top step soon.

Lluc Ibañez and an NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG proved a winning combination at Misano back in 2022, and Ibañez will be aiming for a repeat performance alongside Alex Papadopulos. Reigning champion Gabriele Piana and new team-mate Berkay Besler produced two stunning recovery drives to score two sixth places in France, despite starting both races outside the top 25. The Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW crew will be hoping for a more straightforward time at Misano.

Add in promising W&S Motorsport Porsche drivers Fabio Rauer/Hendrik Still, Antoine Leclerc/Nelson Panciatici in the rapid Code Racing Alpine, Robert Consani/Benjamin Lariche sharing the frontrunning Team Speedcar Audi, plus quick entries from Mirage Racing, L’Espace Bienvenue BMW, Racing Spirit of Léman and Wimmer Werk Motorsport and the list of potential winners is impressive.

Mirage head-to-head with W&S in Pro-Am

Two thrilling races at Circuit Paul Ricard could not separate the Pro-Am leaders with both Aleksandr Vaintrub/Stanislav Safronov and Finn Zulauf/Max Kronberg heading into round two level on points.

Vaintrub and Safronov claimed a pole and a win from the season opener in their new Mirage Racing Aston Martin Vantage, and could have made it a clean sweep had it not been for a post-race penalty in the second outing. That allowed the #30 W&S Motorsport Porsche driven by Zulauf and Kronberg to strike back in what will likely become a season-long fight between the two.

There are a host of others looking to upset the order, including Noam Abramczyk and Paul Petit in the AV Racing Porsche, the family W&D Motorsport BMW team with Paolo and Davide Meloni, plus the all-female Matmut Évolution crew of Cindy Gudet and Gabriela Jílková, who got their year off to a flying start with a podium finish in their Toyota GR Supra GT4 Evo.

Others to watch include reigning champion Gregory Guilvert in the Chazel Technologie Course BMW with Antoni de Barn, and the EastSide Motorsport Mercedes-AMG shared by Lukas Mayer and Denis Bulatov.

Schumacher CLRT sets the benchmark in Am

Perfect weekends are rare in a category as close as GT4, but Laurent Hurgon and Pascal Huteau proved unbeatable at Circuit Paul Ricard. The pair celebrated a clean sweep of pole positions, two fastest laps and twin race wins in their Schumacher CLRT Alpine A110 Evo to open an early lead in the Am class.

With Adrien Paviot and Nicolas Markiewicz not contesting this round in their Team Speedcar Audi, it falls to Toyota Gazoo Racing Sweden drivers Mikael and Christoffer Brunnhagen to be the closest challengers to the Alpine, with the father-and-son team looking to close the points gap.

Andy Cantu and Dilantha Malagamuwa showed great pace in their NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG, while GPA Racing Aston Martin drivers Kevin Jimenez and Florent Grizaud were podium finishers in France and have the potential to score big this weekend.

Action for the GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club gets underway with Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying on Friday May 17, before Qualifying and Race One take place on Saturday. The final race of the Misano weekend is scheduled for midday on Sunday May 19. All sessions will feature live timing on the official championship website, with qualifying and both races shown live on the GT World YouTube channel.