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  • 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 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.”