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  • Emil Frey Lexus Racing’s Highlights of the Year 2018

    Lexus Zolder 2018

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing’s Highlights of the Year 2018

    The first season for the Lexus RC F GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series is history since the last race in Barcelona. Following a modest start to the season, the Emil Frey Lexus Racing Team managed to close the gap swiftly and climbed onto the podium in only the fourth round of the championship in the most renowned GT3 Series in the world. Something that would have been difficult to understand at the beginning of the year, was reality at the end: until the finale race the Swiss led the Endurance Cup and secured second place with only six points missing to win the Cup. Additionally, Emil Frey Racing secured its best-ever team result with third place in the overall Team Championship.

    Hopes were high after the successful winter tests. However, in Zolder, a former Formula One track that requires hard driving over curbs featuring many tight corners, the performance did not match. The disappointment was great with two results outside the Top-10. Emil Frey Lexus Racing was also lacking a fair amount to the top teams at Monza, the high-speed temple. But with 17th and 21st position in the race in a field stronger than 50 cars the team was slightly optimistic.

    Then followed the English double-strike with the Sprint Cup in Brands Hatch and the Endurance Cup in Silverstone. The first rewards were earned at the first engagement at the legendary track of Brands Hatch. Twice the team finished in the Top-10 and was satisfied with the turn taken. Two weeks later at Silverstone, “The Home of British Motorsport”, the team could not have asked for a better place for their first success. With P3 and P7 in qualifying and P3 in the race for the number 114 the first step onto the podium was done – an incredible achievement reflecting the immensely intense team work.

    One of the toughest tests was due with the 1000 km of Paul Ricard: 1000 km on a modern and fast track, serving as preparation for the famous Total 24 Hours of Spa. Qualifying showed once again a thriving form with 4th and 8th place. The race should become one of the greatest thrillers of the year. The number 14 Lexus RC F GT3 was constantly running at the front. One hour before the end of the race the team was running in a great second place – then the incredible happened: Albert Costa Balboa found himself suddenly right at the tale of the Bentley number 7 and great two-way battle came head-to-head in the finale laps of the race. Left, right and centre, the Spaniard tried everything until he managed the impossible by taking the race lead three corners before the chequered flag, storming to take the very first overall victory for Lexus and the Emil Frey Racing Team in the Blancpain GT Series.

    Following the grand victory in France, the journey continued satisfyingly with three Top-10 results at the difficult track of Misano, in which the #114 quite incidentally secured its best-ever Sprint Cup result with P5. The highlight of the season was next with the Total 24 Hours of Spa, but despite the #14 Lexus making its way into Super Pole, more than 13th place in the race was not possible. The 24-hours-race was more than overshadowed by the heavy accident by Stéphane Ortelli in the Emil Frey Lexus RC F GT3, who was forced to pause from racing until the season final.

    Budapest was the next stop after a one-month summer break. Everyone expected a high-temperature heat battle, but severe rain and thunderstorms dominated the second-to-last Sprint Cup weekend at the Hungaroring. It was not an easy race. Despite difficult conditions, the #14 managed its best result with 6th place. The Sprint Cup Final took place at Nürburgring where Albert Costa Balboa showed once again a strong performance, storming to take second place in Q1. Unfortunately, the team was not able to take advantage of the good starting position and reached the positions fifth and nine and seventh and eighth respectively in the last two Sprint Cup races.

    The Swiss Privateer arrived at the great Season Final at Barcelona as leaders in the Endurance Cup. But the last race weekend of the year would ironically become the darkest of the year. With a disappointing qualifying including technical issues, further technical problems found their ways into both cars during the race, leading to the retirement of both Lexus RC F GT3.

    Despite all, the team secured for the first time in the history of the Swiss racing team the second place in the Endurance Cup as well as an outstanding third place in the overall standings. The groundwork for the future has been laid after a good debut year and the preparations for the 2019 season can begin.

    “For us it was the first full season with all ten races in the Blancpain GT Series and I think it could not have been more diversified”, reflects Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing. “We were fighting with immense difficulties at the beginning, especially with finding the right Set-up with the Pirelli tyres, which were new for us this year. But once again our team demonstrated professional team work, continuously trying to find improvements day and night to make the Lexus RC F GT3 competitive in a matter of short time. The accident at Spa was a huge shock to all of us, and I was very happy to see Stéphane Ortelli race with us again at the season finale at Barcelona. We set a few milestones with a podium and a race win. Now we have to take the experience and the data from this year and use them for the preparations over the winter to use for next year – to attack even stronger. I am immensely proud of our team and the development we have gone through and I am excited to see the next steps.”


    Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Race Results 2018

    Lexus RC F GT3 #14Lexus RC F GT3 #114
    Zolder Race 1N/CP 14
    Zolder Race 2P 20P 13
    Brands Hatch Race 1P 11P9
    Brands Hatch Race 2P 14P 9
    Misano Race 1P 9P 5
    Misano Race 2N/CP 8
    Hungaroring Race 1P 6P 11
    Hungaroring Race 2P 13P 14
    Nürburgring Race 1P 5P 9
    Nürburgring Race 2P 7P 8

    Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Race Results 2018

    Lexus RC F GT3 #14Lexus RC F GT3 #114
    MonzaP 17P 21
    SilverstoneP 9P 3
    Paul RicardP 1P 35
    Total 24 Hours of SpaP 13N/C

    Overview Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Team Championship

    1Belgian Audi Club WRT123
    2AKKA ASP119
    3GRT Grasser Racing Team95
    4Attempto Racing83
    5Sainteloc Junior Team77.5
    6Emil Frey Racing50.5
    7Kessel Racing26.5
    8Black Falcon25
    93Y Technology11
    10Team Parker Racing Ltd7
    11Audi Sport Slovakia4
    12Andrew Watson3
    13Rinaldi Racing2
    14Boutsen Ginion Racing1

    Overview Blancpain GT Endurance Cup Team Championship

    1AKKA ASP123
    2Emil Frey Racing119
    3Black Falcon95
    4Belgian Audi Club WRT83
    5Bentley Team M-Sport77.5
    6Walkenhorst Motorsport50.5
    7Strakka Racing26.5
    8ROWE Racing25
    9AF Racing AG / R-Motorsport11
    10Sainteloc Junior Team7
    11SMP Racing4
    12GRT Grasser Racing Team3
    13RJN Motorsport2
    14Garage 591
    16Attempto Racing1

    Overview Blancpain GT Series Overall Championship

    1AKKA ASP198
    2Belgian Audi Club Team WRT174
    3Emil Frey Racing123.5
    4GRT Grasser Racing Team121
    5Sainteloc Junior Team109.5
    6Attempto Racing93
    7Black Falcon78
    8Bentley Team M-Sport50
    9Walkenhorst Motorsport44
    10Strakka Racing44
    11ROWE Racing43
    12AF Racing AG / R-Motorsport39
    13SMP Racing29
    14Kessel Racing26.5
    15RJN Motorsport26
    16Garage 5920
    183Y Technology11
    19Team Parker Racing Ltd7
    20Audi Sport Slovakia4
    21Andrew Watson3
    22Rinaldi Racing2
    23Boutsen Ginion Racing1
    24Ombra S.R.L.1
    Lexus Barcelona 2018

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing secure third place in Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup despite double retirement

    The Emil Frey Lexus Racing Team suffered a great disappointment at the season final of the Blancpain GT Series in Barcelona (Spain) and narrowly missed out on winning the Endurance Cup Title. Following a difficult start, the team was facing engine problems on both Lexus RC F GT3 and had to retire both cars early in the race. Despite the unsuccessful race, the team is pleased about securing third place in the Endurance Cup Team Championship and with that obtaining the best-ever result in the history of Emil Frey Racing in the Blancpain GT Series.

    The team around Lorenz Frey-Hilti had imagined their start into the last race weekend a little different. With P25 and P40 as well as 37th and 33rd place in Free Practice respectively Pre-Qualifying, the team was way beyond their expectations. It continued to be turbulent on Sunday morning with the three 15-minute qualifyings. Expect for the last session, both the first and second were dominated by yellow and red flags, making it almost impossible to set fast lap times due to heavy traffic. In addition, lap times of the second qualifying were cancelled, which made the final starting positions a disappointment. Moreover, the #114 suffered problems with the oil pressure and the car had to be towed back into the pits.

    At exactly 03:00 pm, 52 GT3 race cars made their way into the final formation lap only to then put their foots down to give their all with the flying start into the 10th race of the year. Marco Seefried started in the number 14 Lexus RC F GT3 from 19th on the grid and made-up one position at the start. After issues with the oil pump the engine on the #114 was changed and in due course, Stéphane Ortelli started into the race from the pitlane.

    Seefried had improved by one further position and was running in 17th place when he suddenly lost power on lap ten. The Lexus driver steered the number 14 into the pits and following a quick check, the team had to retire the car with a broken exhaust in the garage.

    Meanwhile, Ortelli showed all his class, gaining position after position. On lap 31, the Monegasque was ranging in P27 and pitted to hand the car over to team-mate Markus Palttala. The Finn returned in 28th place and was already running in P25, after he had taken two positions on one lap only. With a laptime of 1.48.900, he was doing similar lap times to the leading car at the time, the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with 1.48.400.

    But as with the sister car, the #114 Lexus RC F GT3 also suffered a technical failure. Whilst running in P23 another engine issue occurred and the car had to be parked in Turn 9. Despite both retirements, Emil Frey Lexus Racing secured third place in the overall Team Championship – a considerable achievement in the debut year with the Lexus RC F GT3.

    Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “We have had other things on our minds for our last race of the year, that’s for sure. Throughout the whole season, the Lexus RC F GT3 shown with its reliability, today we lost both cars due to technical failures. It is very disappointing for the whole team. We were so close in taking home the team title in the Endurance Cup and that would have been a very strong achievement. Despite today’s disappointment, we still look with pleasure at our first season of the Blancpain GT Series and are pleased to have secured third place in the Endurance Cup Teams Championship. We had a great podium and a fantastic win at Paul Ricard. We showed that we are competitive, and we will now work even harder over the winter to prepare for next season. We would like to congratulate all winners in the Blancpain GT Series for their victories. Thank you to each and everyone in the team, to Lexus and our drivers for a great year. We will come back stronger next year.”

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
    “To this date, we could say that in the two years that we have been running with the Lexus RC F GT3, we never suffered a technical failure that led to a retirement. The reason for today´s retirement was a broken exhaust collector. We had an issue with the oil pressure on the #114, which prompted us to change the engine. Why we still had the retirement in the race, we have to analyse. The current data do not give enough analyses, but it looks like it was in the engine area again. The mechanics did a fantastic job between qualifying and race, which unfortunately didn´t pay off and now the disappointment is of course very high. Nevertheless, we gained a lot of experience this year, we learned a lot and celebrated some achievements.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “Our qualifying was ok in the end, but we were not where we wanted to be. We were missing a few tenth of a second to the front runners. We had a lot of traffic, on my fastest lap I overtook six cars. We made another improvement from qualifying to the race and the Lexus felt good. I am so disappointed that I did not get to race in my home race and that we had to retire the car after only ten laps. Nobody wants to finish the season with such a tragic end.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “Very sad and disappointing with the failure, because we were fighting for a good position in the final. But that’s racing! All in all, we had a very good first season with the Lexus RC F GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series, especially with winning in Paul Ricard.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “I lost power going into Turn 3 and I noticed that one cylinder was missing, but I did not get an alarm. When I was in the garage we saw that the exhaust was broken. We had not contact with another car, it simply broke. It would have taken too long to change, so unfortunately, we had to end the race. It is very sad, that we did not win the Endurance Cup, we were so close.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    “First of all, it was a great team achievement to change the engine so quickly. The car was flying and was very strong and positive for a long time. At one stage we were one of the fastest cars on track. Unfortunately, we had to finish the race early with a problem on the engine. But that does not change the fact that we had a fantastic year with our first podium and our first victory. We are capable of doing it, today is a sad story. But that’s racing and we must accept it. For me personally I was very happy to be back in the car and give 100 percent. I am excited about the winter and the preparations for next year.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “Unfortunately, we had a weekend that was different to what we had expected. After a very good test in the winter we thought we would have the speed to race at the front, but that was not the case. The guys improved the car a lot between yesterday and today, we could have had a much better position in qualifying. Unfortunately, we suffered an issue with the engine in Q2 and had to start the race from the pitlane. We suffered the same issue during the race. Stéphane and Markus both had great stints and we were already in the Top-20 – what a shame! Thanks for the great achievement by the whole team, to change the engine so quickly. Thank you also to the whole team for this season, it was great to be part of it!”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “With technical problems in today’s qualifying and race, the year obviously didn’t end as we wanted. However, I’m looking back at a positive season. Everyone has been working hard from the first test back in February and we made massive steps leading to our podium at Silverstone and the win in Paul Ricard. As always, there were some ups and downs during the season, but we came here leading the team championship and every single person in the team can be proud for being in that position.”

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing set their eyes on Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Title

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing set their eyes on Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Title

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing is looking forward to the great season final of the Blancpain GT Series. Next week, the Endurance Cup is taking place with the last race of the season at Barcelona (Spain). The team is able to secure the Endurance Cup title as well as Third in the overall championship in its debut year with the Lexus RC F GT3 in the top-class GT3 championship. Emil Frey Lexus Racing is also very pleased about the return of Stéphane Ortelli, who will climb behind the wheel of the Lexus #114 again.

    With two results outside the Top-15 at the season opener at Monza, the start into the Endurance Cup season went everything but great, the team around Lorenz Frey-Hilti managed a huge leap forward at the second race at Silverstone already, climbing onto the podium in third place. Only two weeks later, the sensation was perfect with the fantastic win of the 1000km at Paul Ricard with the Lexus RC F GT3.

    Following the shocking moment at the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the accident of Stéphane Ortelli, the Lexus-Team would like to deliver a good performance at the season final at the 4.655-metre-long Circuit de Catalunya just outside of Barcelona in a bid to keep the nose ahead in the fight for the championship title. “Barcelona is a track that suits us, however we only have two weeks’ time to prepare everything”, says Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “At the moment we still lead the Endurance Cup by a fraction. Our goal is to keep the lead and score as many points as possible to also secure a top-result in the overall ranking.”

    In the Overall as well as in the Endurance Cup Standings the fight is extremely tight. Currently, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is ranging in fifth place overall in the team standings, however there is only a gap of 2.5 points to third place. The Swiss Team has the lead in the Endurance Cup, but must maintain the advantage of only four points ahead of the AKKA ASP Mercedes team.

    “Now it all comes down to the championship. We are ready and will give everything. In order to keep the lead in the Endurance Cup and maybe even finish the Team Championship on the podium, we need a top result. All title candidates are all within a few points. It will be a very exciting final. It would be a great achievement for both Lexus and our team, to reach the title of the Endurance Cup for the very-first time in the history of Emil Frey Racing”, says Lorenz Frey-Hilti. “The whole team worked continuously to keep finding improvements and even when we had set-backs and not such good results, another strong race followed. As for Barcelona I am confident and excited to also have Stéphane back in the cockpit who can support us again.”

    The finale Endurance Cup weekend takes place on 29 and 30 September 2018 in Barcelona (Spain). Both qualifying and the race are taking place on Sunday, 30 September 2018 from 09:00 am respectively 03:00 pm and are broadcast live via the following link: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “I am very excited ahead of my home race at Barcelona. I am planning a great party with my family and my friends and it will be great. I am 100% sure, that we will have a great race. The winter tests were positive and from the track characteristic is Barcelona good for the Lexus.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “Barcelona is a track that is good for us, because we have tested there a lot and we know it well with the Lexus. We really would like to attack once more and fight for the championship.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “I have a good feeling for Barcelona, it has shown that we are well-organised on tracks with a new tarmac and Barcelona is one of them. Therefore, everything should function well, the team is doing better and better anyhow. We are also all very happy, that Stéphane is with us for the season final.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    „I am very happy to start again for Emil Frey Lexus Racing at Barcelona. The last race of the year is always something special and I will give my best to support the team and my driver colleagues as best as possible to secure the title in the Endurance Cup. I would like to thank everyone for the many well-wishes I received, I was very pleased about that.“

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “I think, we should be competitive in Barcelona. The tests in the winter showed that we are doing good there and the track is similar to Silverstone and Paul Ricard, on which we were very successful.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “After Nürburgring, Barcelona should be better for us. The track has a new tarmac and much more grip, which always helped us in the past. I am expecting a very strong appearance from us, because we have always been strong in the Endurance Cup. Our goal is of course the championship title.”

    Lexus Nürburgring 2018

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing ends Sprint Cup Final with Top-10 results

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing has concluded its first season of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup with solid Top-10 results in the two races at the Nürburgring. Following a very good second place on the grid for the first race, the Swiss team secured P5 and P9 as well as seventh and eighth place in Sunday’s race. In its debut year in the highly competitive Sprint Cup Series with a total of 13 teams participating, the Lexus crew finished in an overall sixth place.

    The track in the Eifel showed itself from its autumn side with cool temperatures for the two Free Practice session on Friday. Both Lexus RC F GT3 were facing considerable difficulties and drove lap times in the back field. All the more surprising was the first qualifying session, which took place in unusual dry and sunny weather at the 5.2-kilometre-long track. The Spaniard Albert Costa Balboa put the magic on the tarmac, qualifying the #14 in second place for the first race and securing the best-ever qualifying result of the season. Meanwhile, team-mate Norbert Siedler in the sister car finished in 13th place.

    Unfortunately, the team could not take the momentum into the second session, with both Lexus RC F GT3 finishing the qualifying in sobering positions 13 (#114) and 15 (#14).

    Race #1, Saturday, 15 September 2018 – 60 minutes
    Costa Balboa had an exciting opening lap into the one-hour race and following a short off into the grass whilst fighting for positions, he had to let the #1 Audi of Riberas pass him. But the Spaniard was on fire and drove the fastest times in sector 2 and 3 for a number of laps. Team-mate Siedler had a more quiet race and improved by one position on the second lap.

    Everything was put on reset after a short Safety Car period and the re-start on lap 8 went without any issues. Costa Balboa was able to close the gap to the #1 Audi once again, taking many hundreds of seconds of his competitor in each sector. Whislt the Audi pitted, Costa Balboa stayed outside trying to make as much time as possible until the came into the pits from the lead of the race for the obligatory driver change. Unfortunately, the pitstop went not perfectly well for the #14 and valuable time was lost in the end. Christian Klien returned in seventh place onto the track and made-up one more position until the finish.

    The sister car #114 pitted two laps earlier on lap 12 and Markus Palttala joined the race in P11, improving by one more position. Due to the later disqualification of a Lamborghini, both Lexus RC F GT3 gained one more place in the results standings, eventually finishing in P5 and P9.

    Race #2, Sunday, 16 September – 60 minutes
    In the late summer sun, the finale Sprint Cup race of the year started. Christian Klien in the #14 had a fantastic start and was able to improve by five positions. Team-mate Markus Palttala had bad luck with traffic and was also pushed of the track with the Audi number two on the first lap, however, he took 12th place shortly after off the #55 Audi.

    Klien was overtaken by the #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 on lap 12 and pitted on lap 13 from 11th place, closely followed by the sister car #114.

    Back in the race, Costa Balboa lapped once again the fastest third sector in the #14. Both Lexus RC F GT3 absolved the last Sprint laps at the Nürburgring in formation and crossed the finishing line in seventh and eighth place.

    The season final of the Blancpain GT Series will take place with the Endurance Cup in two weeks at Barcelona (Spain).

    Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
    “Last year, we participated here at the Nürburgring as guests in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and back then we did not really find our great love to the Nürburgring. We could see that again on Friday and we eventually fought to find the right Setup. We were all confident for the races after the second place in qualifying. In the end, we managed to bring home four Top-10 finishes, which is still a good result for the whole team.”

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “We had a rather difficult last Sprint Cup weekend here at the Nürburgring. The performance of all competitors was once again strong and our speed was not enough to drive by ourselves into the Top-5 in the races. Despite all, Albert showed a great achievement in qualifying and secured us the first starting position from the front row with the Lexus in the Blancpain GT Series. We have learned a lot in our first Sprint Cup Season and we will intensively analyse during the winter and work towards becoming more competitive in the short and intense Sprint races next year. This year we could see, that the Lexus RC F GT3 shows its full potential in the long-runs and long distance races. It was an exciting season with a steep learning curve, now we are all excited for the big season final at Barcelona in two weeks.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “Qualifying was fantastic. To be honest, I did not expect that performance by our car. I was very proud of the team for the big step we had made since Friday. It was the first time, that we started from the front row with our Lexus in the Blancpain GT Series. Unfortunately, I was pushed off the track in the first corner and lost two positions, but that’s racing, I had nothing to lose. In the second race, I drove the second-fastest lap and I am very happy about that.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “Our race on Saturday was very difficult, you drive your guts out the whole 30 minutes of racing. The car was difficult to drive on the limit. But if we look at where we were on Friday, we made a huge jump forward, nobody would have expected us to be second in qualifying and fifth in the race. But our pace was not enough to fight for the front positions.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “I think, we did a good job. We fought with many problems on Friday, but the car was running much better on Saturday. Unfortunately, both Norbert and myself could not get the maximum out of the tyres and therefore we qualified in disappointing positions. But we saw with the sister car that more is possible so we took a few Setup options for our car as well. But I still think we had two good races. In the end, we finished both in the Top-10, for a Top-5 finish we are not quick enough at the moment.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “We had two difficult races, but especially in the second race we had a great charge through the field. If we had qualified better, it would have been a lot easier. I was caught behind a Mercedes in the first race and it was not possible to overtake, that’s why we pitted early to avoid losing more time.”

    Lexus Budapest 2018

    Finale Showdown for Emil Frey Lexus Racing at Sprint Cup at Nürburgring

    Following the rain chaos from Budapest last week, the next stop is already in the waiting for Emil Frey Lexus Racing, and that track is also infamous for its freaky weather. The big final of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup is taking place at the Nürburgring next week in which the Swiss team is aiming for a strong performance in order to strengthen its third position in the overall standings of the Blancpain GT Series team rankings.

    Markus Palttala had already replaced Stéphane Ortelli in the Lexus RC F GT3 #114 last weekend at the Hungaroring. Stéphane Ortelli is still on his way to a good recovery. However, the races at the Nürburgring are still too early and the Monegasque is handing over his cockpit once again to the quick Finn.

    Last year, the then still newly found Lexus-Team celebrated its debut in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at the Nürburgring with its guest appearance. At the time, the team had to find its way around the new format, the competitors and last but not least the Pirelli tyres. Following the performances from the 2018 season, the team is aiming to achieve a good result. “Our best positions in the Sprint Cup have been a fifth place at Misano and lately a sixth place at Budapest, this is something we would like to repeat at the Nürburgring to score as many points as possible looking at the championship”, says Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing.

    “The Nürburgring is always good for a surprise, not least because of the weather. Since we participated in both races last year, we can now rely on important data and facts, which surely will help us in our preparation phase. Unfortunately, we will have to do without Stéphane Ortelli again, but his health and his road to recovery have absolute priority and we hope to have him with us for the start at the big season final at Barcelona”, continues Lorenz Frey-Hilti.

    The last Sprint Cup weekend will take place from 14 until 16 September 2018 at the Nürburgring (Germany). The two qualifying sessions are starting on Saturday, 15 September from 09:30 am, followed by the first race at 02:10 pm. The second race of the weekend takes place on Sunday, 16 September 2018 at 04:00 pm. All sessions and races are broadcast live at: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “We achieved our maximum at Budapest and I was pleased with my personal performance. Now we are heading to the Nürburgring, a track which is known for its rain. We managed to get some good information about the Pirelli rain tyres in the heavy rain from Budapest, because we had not been able to test them that often so far. I think, the experience from Budapest will help us at the Nürburgring.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “I hope, we can secure the same good result at the Nürburgring as we did in the first race at Budapest. The track should suit our car a little better. Our goal is to finish the last Sprint Cup weekend of the season with a top result.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “While Stéphane is making good progress with his recovery, I’m happy to fill in for him one more time to allow him a bit more rest before his comeback. I don’t think Nürburgring is an optimal track for the Lexus RC F GT3 but it should suit us better than the Hungaroring. Last year, I qualified outside of Top-20 but managed to climb all the way to 4th, so it’s a track where you can pass. The target is, as always, to score points for the team championship, but I’m secretly hoping we’d be in shape to fight in the Rop-5.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “I am excited about the race at the Nürburgring. It is practically my second home since I also drive there in the VLN Championship and I am there about 15 times a year. I think, we should look good for the last Sprint Cup weekend as the track suits the Lexus.”

    Lexus Budapest 2018

    Difficult conditions for Emil Frey Lexus Racing at Sprint Cup in Budapest

    The Emil Frey Lexus Racing Team fought with difficult conditions at the Sprint Cup weekend at Budapest, however, managed to secure the best-ever Sprint Cup position for the number 14 car with 6th position in the first race. Following an accident in qualifying, the #114 did not lap any times in both qualifying sessions, but Siedler and Palttala showed some great charges through the field coming from last on the grid in both races, finishing in 11th and 14th.

    A total of 22 GT3 cars gathered for the second-to-last Sprint Cup weekend at the Hungaroring. In sunny conditions both Lexus RC F GT3 were running within the mid-field in the two Free Practice sessions.

    The two qualifying sessions for each of the one-hour races took place on Saturday morning. Christian Klien secured 10th place for race one in the Lexus #14. Norbert Siedler had an unlucky start in the sister car with the number 114. Due to an issue with the rear right tyre, the Austrian lost control of his car going into Turn 4, spun and hit the barriers with the right-hand side. Siedler escaped unhurt, however, the Lexus suffered severe damage and missed out on the second qualifying in due course.

    The Spaniard Albert Costa Balboa secured the ninth starting position in qualifying 2 for the second race on Sunday.

    Race #1, Saturday, 01 September 2018 – 60 minutes
    Thanks to an outstanding team job, the #114 Lexus RC F GT3 was repaired within a matter of a few hours and up and ready to race again. A rain shower just before the start of the race made for difficult conditions with driving on Slicks on a still wet tarmac, however, the mixed conditions played into the hands of the Lexus pilots.

    Despite all, Siedler had a great start coming from last on the grid, finding himself up in P16 after a few laps only. Two laps later, he was already running in 11th place.

    Team-mate Klien also had a good start from 10th on the grid and was running in ninth place on lap five. On the seventh lap, he snapped two more positions passing a Mercedes-AMG GT3 and a Lamborghini into seventh place.

    Little by little, the tarmac dried-up and Siedler pitted on lap 15 from 11th place, handing the #114 to Markus Palttala. Klien waited a little longer with the obligatory pitstop until lap 18, as rain had started in parts of the track and the team could have changed onto rain tyres if necessary. Since the big rain did not happen, the #14 came into the pits and Costa Balboa took over the wheel of the #14.

    In his stint, Costa Balboa snatched another position from the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and crossed the finishing line in sixth position, securing the best-ever Sprint Cup result for the car #14. Palttala was running in 10th place with six laps to go, but a broken anti-roll bar slowed him down and he finished in 11th position.

    Race #2, Sunday, 02 September – 60 minutes
    Heaven opened its floodgates half an hour ahead of the start of the race and a heavy thunderstorm caused standing water on the track. The race was therefore started behind the Safety Car.

    Costa Balboa started from P9 into the race, team-mate Markus Palttala gearing-up at the back of the pack due to two missed qualifying’s without a laptime.

    After three laps, the Safety Car was brought in. The opening phase of the race saw some chaotic laps with cars going off the track left, right and centre. Both Lexus drivers, however, managed to make up ground and especially Palttala was attacking from the back.

    On lap 15, Costa Balboa pitted from eighth place, Palttala followed him coming from 11th. The #14 returned to the track in 11th place, whilst Siedler in the #114 was now in 13th position.

    With 15 minutes to go, the Safety Car was deployed following a Full-Course-Yellow. Towards the end, heavier rain made the track slippery again. With the more difficult conditions, both Lexus RC F GT3 lost some positions. At the end of the race, the #14 and #114 crossed the finishing line in P13 and P14 respectively.

    The Sprint Cup Final is taking place in two weeks from 14 until 16 September 2018 at the Nürburgring (Germany).

    Team Quote Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “First of all, I would like to thank the whole team for the fantastic work on Saturday, when we managed to get the #114 up and running again for the first race. That was a very strong achievement. Unfortunately, we could already see in Free Practice, that the track did not suit us well and we were not close enough to the times at the front. We improved slightly in qualifying, but we had bad luck with the accident of the #114, which was in no way Norbert Siedler’s fault. On Saturday, we achieved some important points in the race for the championship. The race on Sunday was very frustrating for us, because we did not get enough grip on the track with the heavy rain. Although we do not have that much experience with the Pirelli rain tyres on the Lexus, we learned a lot again. Now we are hoping for the races at Nürburgring and Barcelona.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “All in all, I am happy, because we did not have an easy weekend, but we are fighters and that paid off. Unfortunately, we had problems with the heavy rain on Sunday and suffered from understeering, which meant we could not go the pace.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “We had a difficult race on Saturday starting on Slicks on a still wet tarmac. But I felt at ease in these conditions and managed to drive up into seventh place. Albert fully attacked in the second half of the race and we finished the race in P6. This was the best-ever result for the number 14 in the Sprint Cup.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “Saturday was a day with many ups and downs. First it was a race against time, but the guys did an awesome job to get us on the grid and we finished the race in P11. Despite the broken anti-roll bar, it was still a great comeback. The track is great, but we were close to one second off the fastest cars this weekend. We had some experimental things in our car on Sunday, because basically we had nothing to lose.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “The accident was a little strange and we do not know exactly what happened. The tyre seemed to go down the wheel and the air was gone. There was nothing I could do. But the team did once again a mega job and we had a perfect car for the race. We had a super run in the race and managed to drive up into 11th place. The mixed conditions were an advantage for us.”

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing targets point results at fourth Sprint Cup at Budapest

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing targets point results at fourth Sprint Cup at Budapest

    Engines will roar hot again next week following the five-week summer break: at the fourth race weekend of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is expected to face a heat battle near Budapest. Following the heavy accident at Spa, the Swiss team is ready once again for the two upcoming Sprint races at Budapest. Due to the current condition of Stéphane Ortelli, his Endurance Cup team-mate Markus Palttala will take the Monegasque’s place in the number 114 Lexus RC F GT3.

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing started with mixed feelings into the summer break. Whilst the team was very pleased with 13th place for the Lexus #14 at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the focus was on rebuilding the number 114 with a newly delivered chassis from Japan. Despite the actual summer break, the team did not take a breather and has prepared both Lexus RC F GT3 meticulously for the race at Budapest.

    “The shock is still deeply felt, but we are all very relieved to see that Stéphane is on his way to recovery. He does not feel fit enough and in order to avoid any unnecessary risks, he will stand down from the start at Budapest. Our Endurance Cup pilot Markus Palttala will take his place. I would like to thank the whole team, that has continuously worked in our workshop since Spa to not only get the 114 up and running again, but also to check the sister car with the number 14 and prepare it for the upcoming races”, says Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing.

    The Formula 1 track at the Hungaroring, also known as the Mickey-Mouse-Course, features a narrow and twisty layout for about 4.3 kilometres. The Emil Frey Lexus Racing team was able to gain some knowledge and experience at last year’s International GT Open round at Budapest.

    “Last year, we had a good first race with fourth place, in the second we had to retire early due to a collision”, continues Lorenz Frey-Hilti. “The Hungaroring is not one of our top favourites for our Lexus RC F GT3, however the continuously strong performance across past months puts us in a positive mood and I think, we are by all means able to get a good result and finish in the points in both races.”

    The fourth Sprint Cup weekend will take place from 31 August until 02 September 2018 at Budapest (Hungary). Qualifying will start on Saturday, 01 September 2018 from 09:40 am, followed by the first race at 02:45 pm. The second race of the weekend will go ahead on Sunday, 02 September 2018 at 03:30 pm. All sessions will be broadcast live at: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “It will certainly be a very warm weekend at this time of the year at the Hungaroring. I feel good and have trained hard during the break, now I am really excited for the first race in one month. We should be in good shape. Last year we secured fourth place.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “I am hot and excited about the upcoming races and cannot wait for it to start after the summer break. The Hungaroring is a track I very much like driving on. The track is technically quite demanding and there is no moment to take a breath. Our Lexus RC F GT3 should function well and we should try to score as many points as possible for the championship.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    ”This was a call I was not happy to get as I was sorry to hear Stéphane needs more time to recover from the crash at Spa. I wish him all the best and hope to see him in a race car very soon. However, I was immediately ready to jump in when needed. This cuts a long summer break nicely and it’s good to return to the Sprint Cup after being away this season. I’m not sure what to expect of the weekend as we have been in good form lately. What I do know is that our crew has been flat out prepping the car for this race and now Norbert and I will go flat out to reward the hard work with a good result.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “I am happy that the summer break is coming to an end. Unfortunately, Stéphane is not yet fit enough to start at Budapest. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope, that he will be back in the cockpit very soon. I am very happy to share the car with Markus. We will give our best to run at the front. Thank you very much to the whole team for preparing and giving us a new car.”

    Lexus Spa 24H 2018

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing’s Stéphane Ortelli recovering well after heavy crash

    One week after the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is now pleased to report that our driver Stephane Ortelli is recovering well and suffered only minor injuries in the heavy Eau Rouge crash.

    First investigations have proven that the crash was not caused by a driver error. The mechanical failure that was responsible for the incident is still being analyzed. At the same time it is also looked at the possibility, that the failure was caused by a small collision with another competitor a few hours before the heavy crash.

    Both Emil Frey Lexus Racing and Stephane Ortelli are appreciative of all the support and good wishes received during this challenging time. Fellow teams and competitors have proven that the Blancpain Championship is a close-knit community with much mutual respect.

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing also wants to use the opportunity to wish both Andy Meyrick (Bentley #31) and Jürgen Krebs (Lamborghini #666) a speedy and full recovery.

    Lexus Spa 24H 2018

    13th place for Lexus RC F GT3 at first-ever Total 24 Hours of Spa

    The first Total 24 Hours of Spa for Emil Frey Lexus Racing were overshadowed by a heavy accident. Following a strong opening phase for the number 114 up into second place, a heavy accident occurred in Eau Rouge during the night, from which the Monegasque Stéphane Ortelli escaped without injuries. After a strong race, underlining the immense reliability of the Japanese race car, the sister car crossed the finishing line in an excellent 13th place overall.

    With the adjustment of the “Balance of Performance” the extra weight was significant, especially during qualifying. The number #114 secured 26th position on the grid with the sister car making the jump into Super Pole to take 17th place.

    The Total 24 Hours of Spa started in sunny and for Spa-Francorchamps untypical hot temperatures and both starting drivers Christian Klien (#14) and Norbert Siedler (#114) faced no issues in the first laps. Especially the #114 had a strong opening phase of the race and was able to drive in second place for a long period of time. But a contact from another competitor and the resulting tyre failure set the team back again and the #14 also suffered bad luck during the race: a tyre failure and a short penalty for not respecting track limits were the reasons. These circumstances lead to the Lexus team not being able to fight for a podium in the end, but came home in an excellent 13th place in a strong and highly competitive GT3 field.

    It was not an easy, first 24-hours race for Emil Frey Lexus Racing, however, the Lexus RC F GT3 demonstrated its reliability in an impressive manner throughout the entire race. All three drivers, Albert Costa Balboa, Christian Klien and Marco Seefried drove fast lap times in all their stints, which were as good as the front runners racing at the top. It is a strong result for the Lexus crew to take home 13th overall place from a total of 63 participators.

    Emil Frey Racing continue to maintain their third place in the Blancpain GT Series Team Standings. After the summer break, racing will commence with the Sprint Cup race at Budapest (Hungary) at the last weekend of August. The entire Emil Frey Racing Team wishes our pilot Stéphane Ortelli a speedy recovery.

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing – The Movie: Road to Success
    Following the premiere at the Total 24 Hours of Spa with the Lexus RC F GT3 last weekend, the Swiss race team is also excited about the first screening of a 30-minute moving, showing the development and the founding of Emil Frey Lexus Racing – a special and fascinating inside behind the scenes also reflecting on the private team’s tradition. The film is available on the Emil Frey Racing YouTube channel. Furthermore, the format will be broadcast in over 40 international TV channels, for example in 16 European countries, in North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Middle East and Africa. More information on broadcasting dates will be announced on Social Media shortly.

    The Road to Success – Emil Frey Lexus Racing 

    Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “Stéphane (Ortelli) suffered a heavy accident during the night but he was lucky and was not injured, he is in good conditions considering the circumstances. A big, big thank you goes out to the team from the Medical Center, they acted very quickly and flew him straight to the nearest hospital for a check-up. Now he needs to take things easy and recover, but I was glad when he told me immediately that once the car is fixed he will be back behind the wheel. The accident overshadowed the entire race, but the whole team did not lose their concentration and kept working professionally until the end. It is a good result to finish in 13th place in our first 24-hours race with the new Lexus RC F GT3.”

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
    “We checked the cars even more meticulously over the past weeks than we did before, every single part was looked at and measured and if needed replaced. This paid off, because both Lexus were absolutely reliable and that already at the test, in each training session and in qualifying. There are probably only a handful of cars in the entire field, that can say they survived the 24-hours without any problems and were able to drive for a podium result. Both Lexus and the team have shown a maximum of commitment, reliability and professionals for their first 24-hours race. This, for example, proofed the #114, who ran in second place for a longer time. Of course, the accident put a shadow on everything. Thanks to the professional and quick help by the marshals and the medical team, Stéphane was able to get a quick check-up.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “It was not an easy race for us and the car was not 100% were I would have liked it to be. We had to look after the tyres, because that was critical. We survived the night, but until the end it was still a very long race. It was the first time for me to see the chequered flag at this race and in my stints, I pushed very hard and gave everything to reach some points. P13 in the end is just amazing!”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “It was the second time for me to drive the start into a 24-hours race. Everything went pretty unspectacular, which you want for a long race. My first stint was difficult, because the tyres were wearing out quickly. But the problem got better in the course of the race, because the track got more grip, which benefited our car. The night was crazy with the accident of our team-mate Stéphane, but luckily he is alright.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “My stints were ok, but unfortunately we had some oversteering to fight with and sometimes it was difficult to drive. Despite the shock of the accident of Stéphane, the whole team continued to work well, and we were able to continue to push in the race. We are all very happy about the 13th place.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “It is always something special to drive at Spa. You don’t see everything during the night, but the lights on the new GT3 cars are pretty good. We are all very happy for Stéphane to be well. My start was ok and I made-up some positions, but unfortunately the tyre pressure started raising after about 30 minutes and that resulted in understeering. It was not easy to drive. We managed to reduce the pressure bit by bit and that worked better. In parts we were doing very well, and I think, we could have reached a Top-10 result.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “Despite our recent success we came to this race as underdogs. The first few hours went perfect. We were running as high as second place after three hours and fighting a long time in the Top-10, which once again proves the quality of this team. Stéphane’s crash was very unfortunate and right now the only thing that matters is that he was not seriously injured. I wish him a speedy recovery and want to thank every single person in the team for their huge efforts here at Spa, but also the weeks and months leading to this race.”

    Waiting in the Wings: Emil Frey Lexus Racing „hot“ for Total 24 Hours of Spa

    Waiting in the Wings: Emil Frey Lexus Racing „hot“ for Total 24 Hours of Spa

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing could not have chosen a better stage for celebrating its debut at the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Swiss team will race for the very first time with both Lexus RC F GT3 at the 70th edition of the 24-hours classics and will face up to a top-class starter field with over 65 racing machines.

    The first fair competition took place during the official test day of the Blancpain GT Series last week. As for the region typical changing weather conditions, Spa lived up to its name enabling the team to test different Setups, various settings with the traction control, the ABS and further systems in both the dry and the wet. Emil Frey Lexus Racing looked at additional data from the previous year, where the team secured the first worldwide Pole Position with the Lexus RC F GT3 plus taking a straight start/finish win at the round of the International GT Open.

    The almost 7-km-long track of Francorchamps features similar characteristics to tracks like Silverstone and Paul Ricard – on which the Lexus team has reached their first podium and the great debut-win at the 1000 km. As a result, the team is looking ahead to the upcoming 24-hours with optimism after finishing the test successfully. “The test went very well and both cars were running reliably without any problems”, says Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing. “However, the competitors have not showed their full potential yet and therefore we cannot predict where we will end-up. But taking into consideration the track of Spa suits our Lexus RC F GT3 very well with its fast corners, we should see a good performance. Spa is one of the toughest GT3 races taking place on probably the most spectacular race track there is and everyone in the team is really excited for our first 24-hours race with the Lexus. A victory at the 24-hours of Spa is equivalent to winning the World Championship.”

    Following the obligatory drivers- and car-parade on Wednesday, 25 July 2018, Free Practice, Pre-Qualifying and the Qualifying sessions take place on Thursday, 26 July 2018. It gets exciting once more with Super Pole on Friday before the 70th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa will go underway on Saturday, 28 July 2018 from 4:30 pm. All sessions will be broadcast live via: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    For more information, please visit www.emilfreyracing.com

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “We managed to get some valid information during the test as we drove in both the dry and the wet. But we are not quite a 100 % where we should be. Now we have to review all data from the test, but the Lexus felt very good. We have strong drivers and a good team and have to use the two weeks leading up to the race to prepare as best as possible.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “The test was ok, both Lexus ran without issues and we can be quite satisfied. Nevertheless, it is difficult to say where we are as nobody has put their cards on the table yet. Generally speaking I think we have a pretty good package and a car that suits the track and felt positive. We are looking forward to the race in any case.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “I think, we are well sorted after being able to run in mixed conditions and to see how the car handles on a very wet track and on a drying track. Spa is well-known for this and it was good to find these changing conditions during the test, because we do not have that much experience with the Lexus in the wet yet. The track and the overall package plays in our hands and without suffering any major incidents we should be there with the top guys.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    “The test was very important for us. We are very strong in some parts, but I did not feel too good in some corners. It was a pleasure taking to the track of Spa with this car. The next two weeks are very important to prepare the car and look at the data of both cars to compare and take the positives from each.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “The test went quite well. We don´t know for sure how competitive we are as the others did not show it either, but I am confident that we are well-prepared and can fight with the others.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “The 24-hours of Spa are of course the highlight of the season and it was important, that we managed to get lots of mileage down. The season has been very stressful with the team competing in both the Sprint and Endurance Cup and this was the first time that we got the chance to go testing. We worked productively for the race. Both Lexus drove without any problems and we have found a good Setup. Spa is most likely the coolest track in the world and the 24-hours are by far the most renowned GT3 race you can think of – I cannot wait for it to finally start!”