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Weekly Racing Roundup (1.13.20)

Brabham BT62 news, British GT title sponsor and lineup/entry news from around the world…

Photo: Slade Perrins

Brabham BT62 Race Plans Announced

Brabham Automotive has revealed that Paul Bailey will race his newly purchased Brabham BT62 throughout the Britcar Dunlop Endurance Championship season.

Bailey will share the driving duties in the seven-round program with Brabham Automotive development driver Ross Wylie, with the duo becoming the first customer-entered Brabham BT62 to compete anywhere in the world.

“As we move forward we’ll have both, let’s say, an OEM focus in terms of car production but also a motorsport focus in terms of customer racing programs, driver development programs and works cars as well,” Brabham Automotive commercial director Dan Marks told Sportscar365.

“So we’ll be putting the BT62 into certain races as a works team as well as selling the car to customers for them to race in different series.”

A race-going version of the Brabham BT62 completed demonstration runs at The Bend Motorsport Park as part of the Asian Le Mans Series round, where guests including Sportscar365’s Slade Perrins received passenger laps.

Although rides were completed on the The Bend’s shorter 3.41 km West Circuit, the car still reached a maximum speed down the main straight of 167 mph (270 km/h), with Nick Foster, Michael Almond and Josh Kean all taking turns behind the wheel.

Photo: SRO

News & Notes

***British GT has announced a title sponsorship deal with investment provider Intelligent Money, and will now be named the Intelligent Money British GT Championship beginning this year.

***Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman (pictured above) will step up to GT3 in the British GT Championship this year after winning the GT4 Pro-Am title, and will drive a JRM Racing-prepared Bentley Continental GT3. Fletcher, a former soap actor on Emmerdale, is back in the spotlight after winning Strictly Come Dancing last month. The GT3 announcement was made on another TV show, BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen.

***Nick Jones and Scott Malvern will also step up from GT4 to a Bentley Continental GT3, racing with Team Parker Racing for a fourth consecutive year. The pair drove for the team in GT4 in recent seasons and won the GT4 Pro-Am title in 2018 with a Mercedes-AMG GT4.

***Tech 1 Racing and Panis-Barthez Competition have merged to compete as Panis Racing beginning this year after the departure of Fabien Barthez from the team. Its programs in the European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans were previously run under the Panis-Barthez name but operated by Tech 1 Racing, while its GT World Challenge Europe program simply ran is Tech 1. All of the Olivier Panis-led team’s operations will now be under the Panis Racing name.

***Absolute Racing has confirmed the return of Yuan Bo and Leo Ye Hongli for the GT World Challenge Asia after the pair scored three podiums last year and a home victory at Shanghai. They will again drive one of the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Silver Cup.

***Brian Lee and Tony Fong will return for a fourth campaign in the Asian series, meanwhile, renewing their GT4 class partnership with GTO Racing with TTR. They will continue to drive a Mercedes-AMG GT4 and seek to take their first class win this year.

***The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour driving lineup for one of the local Melbourne Performance Centre-prepared Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos has been announced as Dylan O’Keeffe, Tony Bates, Max Twigg and Geoff Emery. The entry, which will feature a Bostik corporate blue livery combined with bright green highlights, will compete for honors in the new Silver Cup class at this year’s event.

***Jim McGuire will step up to the European Le Mans Series with United Autosports, forming the Anglo-American team’s first LMP3 lineup alongside Matt Bell and Andrew Bentley with a new Ligier JS P32o Nissan.

***Jeff Rodrigues, general manager at the Thermal Club, passed away last week after losing his battle with cancer. Rodrigues, a longtime Skip Barber Racing School instructor, was credited for helping establish and grow the California country club circuit into one of the leading facilities in the U.S.

***The latest round of the Le Mans Esports series took place last weekend during the Autosport International show held in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. The Williams team won the race to progress to the Super Final which takes place on the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend in June.

***Lexus Super GT driver and 2019 series runner-up Ryo Hirakawa is facing a period of recovery after fracturing his right collarbone whilst training. The Japanese racer, who has been a regular at the TOM’S team since 2015, underwent successful surgery at the weekend.

***Grasser Racing Team has finalized one of its three Lamborghini driver lineups for ADAC GT Masters. Steijn Schothorst, who is driving for the Austrian team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month, and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany racer Tim Zimmermann will team up for the seven-round series. Both drivers are GT Masters rookies.

***Allied Racing has upscaled its ADAC GT4 Germany involvement from a two-car entry to a three-car entry for 2020. The team from Upper Bavaria is positioning one Porsche in each class: overall, Junior and Trophy. Four of the six drivers have been confirmed with Dennis Fetzer and Joel Sturm set as the junior pairing while Christian Kosch and Tom Kieffer will compete for Trophy honors.

***Two-time Le Mans winner Fernando Alonso continues to compete in the Dakar Rally, which has now entered its second and final week. At the start of Stage 8 on Monday, Alonso and his co-driver Marc Coma were 15th in the car rankings and three hours, 26 minutes off the outright pace of leaders Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz.

Slade Perrins, Daniel Lloyd and John Dagys contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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