***A total of 50 cars and several high-profile drivers are on the provisional entry list for the second edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Notable teams include Mercedes-AMG Team Petronas, Red Bull Racing, Rebellion GPX and Alpine in LMP2, while the GTE grid includes the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Prodrive and an entry from the W Series.
***Among the real-world Pro drivers for the Jan. 15-16 race, which is being held online, are Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou (Team Fordzilla), Juan Pablo Montoya and his son Sebastian (LMVS Guest Car) plus Formula E drivers Oliver Rowland (Realteam Hydrogen Redline) and Sergio Sette Camara (Alpha Ind. ByKolles-Burst).
***A change to the UAE’s official working week has resulted in a slight alteration to the opening two rounds of the Asian Le Mans Series at Dubai Autodrome. Round one will now take place on Saturday, Feb. 12 and round two will be held on Sunday, Feb. 13. Each race has been pushed back by a day after the UAE recently switched its weekend from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday.
***The Asian LMS grid has increased to 40 cars with the addition of an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II from Attempto Racing. Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS regulars Alex Aka and Finlay Hutchison are the first two confirmed drivers for the 26th entry in the packed GT class.
***Davide Rigon is set for his first full season of racing since his major accident at last year’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, driving for Rinaldi Racing in Asian LMS. Rigon will share a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with David Perel and Rino Mastronardi. The trio finished third in the standings last year, earning Rinaldi’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans entry.
***Rinaldi has also named its LMP3 crew for Asian LMS. Leonard Weiss, Torsten Kratz and Hendrik Still will share the German team’s Duqueine D08 Nissan in the four-race series.
***Experienced Le Mans outfit Eurasia Motorsport will focus on the single-make Ligier European Series this year, running a Ligier JS P4. “This is an exciting new project for us,” said team principal Mark Goddard. “We have explored options for some time now and we feel that the opportunity of setting up a team base in Europe is essential. This combined with our entry into the Ligier European Series makes it an exciting start to the season and we look forward to getting back on track in Paul Ricard.”
***Toyota will launch a GT3 concept car at the Tokyo Auto Salon show taking place on Jan. 14-16. The Japanese manufacturer describes its upcoming GR GT3 Concept as a “racing-dedicated concept car that incorporates the knowledge and refined technologies TGR has gained in the field of motorsports.”
***Racers Edge Motorsports will continue to run an Acura NSX GT3 Evo in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS this year. HPD Academy graduate Ashton Harrison will embark on her first full-time GT3 program alongside two-time IMSA GTD champion Mario Farnbacher. Taylor Hagler, Dakota Dickerson and Jacob Abel drove for Racers Edge last season.
***Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Am class champion Luke Berkeley will graduate to the Pro ranks next year. Berkeley, 17, has confirmed that he is continuing with Dream Racing Motorsport for the series’ transition to the updated Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO2 model.
***Virginia International Raceway has installed three high guardrails and three FIA breaks to cover the length of the main straight and the run down to Turn 1. An annotated satellite image shows the location of the new safety features at the 3.27-mile circuit.
***The Audi R8 LMS GT2 will make its first Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai appearance this weekend courtesy of the PK Carsport team. Peter Guelinckx, Bert Longin, Stienes Longin and Stijn Lowette form the driving crew. Team boss Anthony Kumpen said the car will run with some endurance adaptations: “Different brakes, for example, or extra lights on the car, an adapted drinking system for the drivers, and so on. It is quite a challenge, but we are honored to be able to tackle it together with the people at Audi Sport.”
On this weekend: 24H Series (Dubai Autodrome), 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual