GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS will officially launch its 2020 campaign at Circuit Paul Ricard this week (12/13 March) with two days of testing laying the foundations for the year ahead.
Representing the first official track activity staged under the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS name, the traditional pre-season event brings together competitors from the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup formats at the 5.86km venue in the south of France. Circuit Paul Ricard provides the ideal location for testing, combining high-speed straights with a series of technical corners and world-class facilities.
A combined 14 hours of running over two days will allow teams to work through detailed testing programmes and develop relationships with new drivers, many of whom are set to make their series debuts this term. A number of squads will also get to grips with upgraded machinery, with Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari both deploying new versions of their successful GT3 challengers in 2020.
A total of 11 different marques will be on-track at Circuit Paul Ricard, represented by some of the continent's leading professional race teams. Having dominated the 2019 season Lamborghini will be the brand to beat this year, with its list of nine test day representatives led by reigning overall champions Orange1 FFF Racing. Only Mercedes-AMG will have more cars at the test, with 10 of the German manufacturer’s GT3 machines travelling to the south of France.
Bentley's expanded roster will see eight of its popular Continental GT3s hit the track, while six Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and five Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3s will be present at Circuit Paul Ricard. Audi (R8 LMS GT3), Ferrari (488 GT3) and McLaren (720S GT3) will all have four cars, with the latter machine set to contest its first full campaign in 2020. A trio of BMW M6 GT3s and one car each from Lexus (RC F GT3) and Honda (NSX GT3) will complete the field.
In addition to the on-track activities, the full GT World Challenge Europe entry list for 2020 will be revealed during the test days. The event should offer some major clues as to who is racing where this term, though teams have been known to shuffle drivers between cars and make last-minute adjustments to their line-ups.
Testing will begin on Thursday at 09:00 CET with a four-hour morning session, followed by an afternoon run that starts at 14:00 and concludes at 17:00. Friday’s running will follow the same schedule. Both days will be covered across the GT World Challenge Europe social media channels, providing an insight into events both on and off the circuit as the series kicks off its 2020 tour.