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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (1.25.21)

Report from 6H Abu Dhabi, winter season action at Portimao and news from the past week…

Photo: Petr Fryba/Creventic

Car Collection Captures Abu Dhabi Win

Antares Au, Chris Froggatt and Ian Loggie claimed victory for Car Collection Motorsport in the 24H Series’ non-championship six-hour race held at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The drivers of the No. 88 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo recovered from a slow start to win by three laps from the second-placed Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO piloted by Gerhard Watzinger, Gregg Gorski and Fidel Leib.

Car Collection dropped to 11th on the opening tour, but soon recovered through the field before profiting from mechanical issues on the two other GT3 entries to seize the lead.

Inception Racing with Optimum’s pole-sitting McLaren 720S GT3 fell out of contention with fuel connector issues, while Attempto Racing’s Audi suffered an engine failure brought on by a problem with the oil pump.

Those moments freed Car Collection of its GT3 competition and enabled the German team to establish a clear six-and-a-half-minute victory margin from Super Trofeo squad Leipert, while Huber Racing’s Porsche 991-II Cup completed the outright podium.

Car Collection’s No. 34 Audi GT3 was withdrawn from the event after a crash in practice.

ST Racing claimed its second 24H Series victory in as many weekends, with its BMW M4 GT4 prevailing in Abu Dhabi off the back of winning its class in the 24 Hours of Dubai.

Samantha Tan and Jon Miller placed fourth overall to win the TG category which involved a mixture of GT4s, TCRs and entry-level sports cars.

RESULTS: 6H Abu Dhabi

***Andrius Zemaitis clinched the GT4 South European Series title during last weekend’s Portimao season finale, which was held as a joint meeting with the German GT Winter Series. The Porsche Cayman driver won his class in the first of three races, before confirming himself as champion with third place in the second race

***The outright victories at Portimao went to Ligier LMP3 entries. Frikadelli Racing Team’s Klaus Abbelen and Axcil Jefferies won the first two 15-lap races, while solo driver Javier Ibran Pardo triumphed in the 22-lap contest. The event attracted a wide range of machinery including GT3, GT2, GT4, Cup and Challenge cars, touring cars and the new KTM X-Bow GTX.

***A total of 11 GT500 cars took part in a private Super GT test at Fuji Speedway last Tuesday. Entries from Honda, Toyota and Nissan were present. All three brands have now confirmed their driver lineups for the 2021 season, which is due to start in April.

Photo: Jan Brucke/VLN

News & Notes

***Falken Motorsports has committed to the full NLS season with a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs that will also contest the Nürburgring 24. The team run by Schnabl Engineering is entering its second year with the two-car Porsche setup. It has forgone its usual pre-season test at Portimao in favor of staying in Germany to practice at the Nordschleife.

***Team manager Stefanie Olbertz said: “Given the current situation, it makes most sense to stay in Germany and we will be present with both cars at the NLS official test on March 20.”

***The BMW Junior Team will step up to GT3 machinery this year, working with former Class One DTM entrant Team RMG. Daniel Harper, Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse completed their first Nürburgring 24 together last year and finished as the highest-placed GT4 crew. They will now move on to driving an M6 GT3 in this year’s NLS and N24.

***10Q Racing Team will return to the NLS and N24 with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and is also aiming to run a GT4 entry. The Augsburg-based team, which made its GT3 debut last season, has deferred its plans to enter the Total 24 Hours of Spa and other international enduros until 2022 while the coronavirus pandemic remains prevalent.

***Honda will be represented in ADAC GT Masters for the first time since 2018, courtesy of a single NSX GT3 Evo entry for Fugel Sport. TCR competitor Dominik Fugel, who is new to GT racing, is the first confirmed driver. The car will be delivered in the next fortnight ahead of a maiden test at Cervesina.

Photo: Praga Cars

***Praga Cars last week officially launched its new R1 sports prototype. The all-carbon racer is powered by a two-liter R-A Praga T engine sourced from Renault Alpine, with a total output of 365 hp. It will be eligible for its own category in the Britcar Endurance Championship, while a one-make series is being tentatively proposed for 2022.

***Dr. Sebastian Grams has been appointed as the new managing director for Audi Sport. Grams, who was previously CEO of Audi’s Technical Development division, will co-lead the German manufacturer’s high-performance subsidiary with Julius Seebach. Grams will focus on the series production side while Seebach is Audi’s new head of motorsport.

***Super Taikyu has yet to decide whether its canceled 2020 season finale, which was due to take place last weekend, will be re-arranged. The domestic series called off its Jan. 23 Suzuka round due to rising coronavirus cases but Japanese publication Auto Sport reports that a make-up race could still be held. The situation is complicated further by Super Taikyu’s transition from Pirelli to Hankook tire supply from the 2021 season.

***Former Toyota LMP1 driver Stephane Sarrazin will contest the inaugural season of the Extreme E electric off-road series. Sarrazin, whose racing experience includes several World Rally starts, will be Jamie Chadwick’s teammate at Veloce Racing this year.

***Jean Graton, the creator of the Michel Vaillant comic book character and story, passed away last Thursday at the age of 97. Graton’s popular series centered on the fictional racing driver Vaillant captured imaginations and even inspired several real-world car designs that appeared at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (Daytona)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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