6 Hour Endurance GT / Touring car / LM P3 Challenge: Almost a formality for Visiom
Through deducting points from certain competitors and redistributing them to others according to the number of participations throughout the year, it remains difficult to distinguish a champion before the finale.
Visiom is however in the process of obtaining the prize for this Challenge – with an extremely comfortable lead in the championship standings, it would be difficult to now overtake them, thanks to Jean-Paul Pagny, Thierry Perrier and Jean-Bernard Bouvet's fine performance in the #1 Ferrari 488 GT3 over the course of the season, with four wins in six races. Italian team AF Corse will of course be present, as ever, to try and extinguish their hopes, as they take to the track for this final event of 6 hours with their #51 Ferrari 458 GT3 raced by Cordoni, Zanuttini and Montermini.
Cordoni is still in a position to take home the Prestige category, should he manage to stay ahead of the #11 and #45 Renault R.S. 01 (prepared by V de V and AB Sport Auto); the first driven by Van de Vyver, Carugati and Wegelin, the second with Thybaud and Proust behind the wheel, with an exclusive appearance from rally expert Sebastien Chardonnet. These two teams both compete for the second overall GT podium spot and have barely any points separating them.
IMSA Performance on the other hand will be hoping to win the race, with Narac and Cornac in charge of the team's Porsche 991 GT3 R; just as ANTeam will be aiming for the same result, entering their #70 Dodge Viper GT3-R. The GTV2 class will see a heated battle between Porsche Lorient's three Porsche 991 GT3 Cup cars (#62, 63 and 66), IMSA Peformance's #67 machine and Racing Technology's #3 GT.
LM P3 / PFV: Nine a piece
The bar of 20 prototypes is about to be broken, with a confirmed nine Ligier JSP3 and nine Ginetta G57s entered in this final round. At the head of the LMP3 category, Inter Europol Competition took another huge step towards the 2016 LMP3 title at Magny-Cours after winning their second race of the year. The duo in charge of the #13 machine, Smiechowski and Hippe, sit for now ahead of Graff's Trouillet in the championship standings. If, however he is crowned champion, teammates Rosselo and Dagoneau won't share his glory, as they didn't compete at Barcelona.
After an insane race that saw Fontaine, Decultot and Perroy take second place at Magny-Cours, the N'Race trio will be looking to climb onto the top spot this time around – a similar situation presents itself for Duqueine Engineering, first winner of 2016 in Spain, who this time arm their # 36 machine with drivers Michel, Iannetta and Henning. Returning to the series for this breath-taking finale, Kox Racing also consider themselves hopefuls for the win, as drivers Kox and Pronk take on the LMP3 field. Be Motorsport (n°14, Ibran Pardo / Bakker / Castillo), By Speed Factory (n°5, Abello / Van Oostrum) and Graff (n°10, Chila / Beraud) will on another hand be preparing themselves for the face off in the Prestige class.
Among the army of powerful PFVs, showing up in incredible numbers this time around, Team LNT/Simpson Motorsport should seal the title after winning half of the races this year, thanks to outstanding efforts from Ginetta's CEO Tomlinson and Simpson, who'll have high hopes for their Ginetta n°57. Mathematically though, there are still two candidates who could take away the title from them: Charlie Robertson and Colin White, who before shared the wheel of CWS Recycling's #55 G57. However, since Magny-Cours Robertson has transferred over to the Simpson Motorsport crew and is paired once again with Dirk de Jong in car #50. The British team will be present with a third entrant, like at the previous round, entrusted to Sanders, Deguffroy and Chadwick.
6 Hours Endurance Proto V de V: TFT to succeed CD Sport
This Portuguese finale should allow Tony Pereira's team, TFT, to obtain the championship title. Based at Nogaro, the #2 Norma M20 FC now holds an almost untouchable lead over rivals Delafosse, Dannielou and Petersen, drivers of DB Autosport's #22 machine, after the fearsome trio Vilarino, Ferté and Illiano picked up their third victory of the season at the previous round. Despite being the class of the field in terms of qualifying, setting three out of four of the last pole position lap times, the team left Magny-Cours in bad spirits after experiencing brake problems. They will be hoping to score a second win this season and take the status as vice-champions.
Current title holder, CD Sport's car #32, this year driven by Maulini, Bole Besançon and Foubert is on the other hand locked in a fierce battle with TFT's #6 Norma, entrusted to Bazaud, Thirion and Caillon for the final championship podium place, which could also be attributed to Equipe Palmyr's #40 machine, managed by Mondolot, Zollinger and Thuner. Final contestant for the third-place prize is TFT's car #8 and driver Capillaire who's joined at the wheel by Inès Taittinger this time around. The #15 IDEC Sport Racing Ligier JS 53 Evo 2 on the other hand, driven by F. and N. Da Rocha, and Delomier, could however see itself finish 5th in the overall standings, as well becoming champion of the Prestige class. Finally, RC Formula will be presenting their new Norma M20 FC, racing for the first time in the series with Droux, Redais and Robert on board.
A cool success for Peroni
11 wins in 18 races, that's the tally that currently holds Alex Peroni (TS Corse), who's on the verge of taking home his first championship title in single-seaters. This young Australian hopeful, at just 16 years of age, has given us plenty to talk about over the season, underlining his brilliance on the international stage and the high standard of racing in the Challenge initiated by Eric Van de Vyver. Such success that has allowed Peroni to arrive in Portugal with a cool head. He will however have plenty of hard work keeping his main rivals at bay, including French driver Gilles Heriau (Formula Motorsport), Ukranian racer Alexey Chuklin (MP Motorsport), Grégoire Saucy (GSK Grand Prix) and Erwin Creed (Formula Motorsport). In fact, TS Corse have quite a possibility of celebrating two championship titles at Estoril, as Pietro Peccenini, is still at the head of the Gentleman Driver class.
The Italian candidate sits in front of Christophe Hurni (Sports Promotion) and “Lebreton” (Formula Motorsport) – two drivers with whom he has shared the top spot of the podium many times this year. Finally, in the B class, Alain Bucher (Team One) is but the only driver who can now take the title.