• First year GT driver Josh Caygill ready for 6hr Paul Ricard race
• Blancpain Endurance Cup reaches halfway point next weekend
• Audi R8 LMS driver targeting more progress in round three
• Hugo De Sadeleer stands in for team-mate Mayr-Melnhof in Rd3\
Yorkshire sportsman Josh Caygill will embark on yet another new challenge next Saturday, 24th June, when the longest race so far of the 2017 Blancpain Endurance Cup season takes place at Paul Ricard in the south of France.
Round three of the championship, the halfway point of Caygill’s maiden campaign in GT endurance racing, is always one of the highlights on the Blancpain calendar with the six-hour encounter actually beginning at 18.00 (local time) and running into the night.
Providing another new test for the 27-year-old from Netherton, the 1,000-kilometre race will be the toughest challenge to date for the Audi R8 LMS driver but it’s an event he is absolutely relishing as he gains more and more experience in the globe’s biggest and best GT championship.
Teaming with Jon Venter and Niki Mayr-Melnhof at Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Caygill has made big strides during the first two events of his maiden season in the category and he’s looking forward to the opportunity of revisiting a track for the first time with the No.3 Audi, having tested at Paul Ricard pre-season.
For next weekend’s action, Mayr-Melnhof has a clashing motorsport commitment which means he will have to miss round three. Swiss driver Hugo De Sadeleer, who competes in the European Le Mans Series with LMP2 team United Autosports, will stand-in for the Austrian.
“I can’t wait to be back at Paul Ricard, the six-hour should be mega”, said Caygill, “We made a big step forward with my driving and overall performance at Silverstone last time, so I was really happy with that, and I’m aiming to make bigger steps next weekend. It’s not going to be easy, Blancpain is the toughest GT series in the world, but I’ll be giving it everything.
“We’ll miss Niki [Mayr-Melnhof] not being with us next weekend, we’ve all been working really well together, but we’re looking forward to welcoming Hugo to the team. He’s a race winner in the ELMS in his first season in LMP2, so he brings some fantastic experience.”
While the night-time driving aspect at Paul Ricard will be something new for Caygill in terms of his Blancpain Endurance Cup career, he does have experience at saloon car level of competing in the dark having previously contested 24 hour races.
Taking on the challenge at the wheel of a fully-fledged GT3 race car, though, is fresh territory for the Yorkshireman and the excitement and anticipation is high. Importantly too, the six-hour race will act as fantastic preparation for the upcoming Total 24 Hours of Spa in July – the blue riband Blancpain Endurance Cup event.
“It’s good I’ve got some experience of longer races already, but this will be a whole new level”, he added, “While the results haven’t been what we’ve wanted yet, our best is P15 in class at Monza, we’re definitely moving forward. We’re not setting any goals for Ricard, just do the best we can and hopefully be there at the finish!”
Timed practice at Paul Ricard will take place next Friday, 23rd June, with two sessions ahead of the Pre-Qualifying period which begins at 16.25 (local time). On Saturday, 24th June, final qualifying will begin at 10.00 (local time) with the Paul Ricard 1,000km race getting underway at 18.00 (local time).
Live coverage of qualifying and the six-hour race will be streamed live online HERE
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Copyright free images courtesy Patrick Hecq
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Through his motor racing Josh helps to support and promote Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby. Founded in 1983, the charity has been making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people since that time. Wooden Spoon is one of the largest funders of respite and medical treatment centres, sensory enhancement therapeutic facilities, specialist playgrounds, sports activity areas and community-based programmes. For more information visit www.woodenspoon.com
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