Jimmy Eriksson will set out on a brand new venture during the 2017 motor racing season, stepping into the fast-growing world of GT competition as he joins reigning champions HTP Motorsport for an attack on the Blancpain GT Series.
26-year-old Swede Eriksson – who previously raced in single-seater series including Formula 3, GP3 and GP2 – has spent the winter carefully assessing his options for the future, and has now bagged a deal to slot into one of Europe’s most attractive GT seats.
The new agreement will see Eriksson drive a HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Pro category throughout the full Blancpain GT Series season, which includes Belgium’s prestigious 24 Hours of Spa enduro on the final weekend of July.
“I’m really happy about this new chapter in my life as a racing driver,” says Jimmy Eriksson. “There are months of consideration behind this decision, and in that time I’ve come to understand why GT racing has grown so extensively in recent years. It’s a fantastic platform which opens up new opportunities for a lot of drivers, and that’s just great. I’m convinced that this is the right move for me, and to do this with the reigning champions obviously adds an extra element of excitement.”
Featuring cars from the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Bentley, Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari, the Blancpain GT Series currently ranks as the leading and most popular GT3 championship in the world. The 2017 calendar sees ten rounds of racing take place at a host of famous European circuits, with half of the events counting towards the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup (one-hour races) and the other half making up the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup for longer races.
Eriksson will share driving duties with Dominik Baumann (AUT) for the Sprint Cup events, racing HTP Motorsport’s #86 entry. As for the Endurance Cup, Eriksson will line up in the squad’s #84 machine alongside two other drivers yet to be confirmed.
The combined Sprint and Endurance Cup results set the aggregate classification for the overall Blancpain GT Series, won in 2016 by HTP Motorsport (Baumann and Maximilian Buhk).
“I’ve done a number of tests over the winter and have had a great reception from everyone I’ve come across in GTs so far,” Eriksson continues. “I did a couple of days with HTP Motorsport in Italy and France, and it became clear pretty early on that we share the same way of working. Also with their successful past, I know there’s great potential in the package. I might be brand new to this, but my target will be to do a good job for the team from the very first race and prove what I can do in this type of car.”
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 made its full-scale competitive debut last year, achieving immediate success. It boasts a 6.3-litre V8 engine, producing roughly 550 bhp.
”We are very happy to have Jimmy in our team for the new season,” says HTP Motorsport team principal Norbert Brückner. ”He has proven his skill and talent already in single-seaters, so we were not surprised to see him adapt very quickly to our Mercedes-AMG GT3 in testing. Jimmy also has the team spirit needed when you share the car with other drivers. In reigning overall champion Dominik Baumann, Jimmy will have a strong and experienced driver alongside him and I’m confident they will soon become one of the leading combinations.”
Jimmy Eriksson will contest his first-ever GT race this weekend (April 1-2) as the Blancpain GT Series kicks off with a Sprint Cup round at Misano on the outskirts of Rimini, Italy. The first Endurance Cup event of the campaign will take place three weeks later, also on Italian soil at the tradition-steeped Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
A total of seven countries feature on the 2017 agenda, the finale scheduled in for Barcelona on October 1. All races are streamed live at www.blancpain-gt-series.com.