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Weekly Racing Roundup (1.27.20)

Ferrari Challenge at Daytona, plus news from the past week in sports car racing…

Photo: Ferrari

MacNeil Sweeps Ferrari Challenge Night Races at Daytona

Cooper MacNeil swept the weekend’s pair of Ferrari Challenge North America races at Daytona International Speedway, both of which were held under the floodlights in support of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The races were the final appearance of the previous-gen Ferrari 488 Challenge in North America, as the new 488 Challenge Evo will be introduced for the next round at Road Atlanta.

MacNeil also competed in the headline Rolex 24 during the weekend, driving a Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, which finished seventh in GT Daytona.

Scuderia Corsa ran his Ferrari Challenge car, too, with support from Ferrari of Westlake. He crossed the line three seconds in the clear in Race 1, before taking an 18-second victory in Race 2.

Much of the first 30-minute race was run under Full Course Yellow after an incident at the first corner that took out a number of cars.

The race went green for the final ten minutes, with MacNeil remaining in the lead but defending from John Megrue who, in turn, had to hold off attacks from Joseph Rubbo.

Megrue settled for second overall but won the Trofeo Pirelli Am class, while Rubbo finished third on track and second to MacNeil in the top class.

Race 2 ran incident-free for its full duration, allowing MacNeil a clear run to the line ahead of Rubbo, while Megrue took his second Trofeo Pirelli Am victory from third overall, but could not find the pace to reach Trofeo Pirelli Pro drivers Macneil and Rubbo.

Jason McCarthy and Rich Baek each picked up one win the Coppa Shell class, while Justin Wetherill took both wins in Coppa Shell Am.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

Photo: FIA

News & Notes

***This year’s edition of the FIA Motorsport Games has been confirmed at Circuit Paul Ricard and Marseille on Oct. 23-25. The southern French location will host the second edition of the FIA and SRO Motorsports Group’s multi-disciplinary event after an inaugural edition at Vallelunga and Rome last year. It was already reported during last year’s event that Paul Ricard and Marseille were the likely host locations for 2020.

***Italian outfit Team Lazarus has become the latest Bentley customer, and will run a pair of Continental GT3s this year. It is yet to reveal where these cars will race, but the team has revealed that its Bentleys will race in two series throughout 2020. It ran in GT World Challenge Europe and International GT Open in recent seasons with Lamborghini machinery.

***Nick Foster and Martin Berry will drive a Optimum Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3 in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship. Foster is a regular in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and won last year’s California 8 Hours.

***HHC Motorsport has confirmed Lewis Proctor and Patrik Matthiesen for the first of its two McLaren 570S GT4s in the GT4 European Series, while elsewhere in European GT4 competition, Leipert Motorsport has committed a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4s for the DTM Trophy.

***GRID Motorsport will make its GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS debut with a Pro-Am class Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo for Steven Bei Siling and Naoki Yokomizo. The Chinese team is the first to confirm a Huracan GT3 Evo in the series this year.

***Zun Motorsport Crew has committed a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos to the Asian series, meanwhile. The Chinese team made a one-off appearance in Shanghai last year. It will run a Silver Cup entry for Adderly Fong and Alex Fontana and an Am car for Andrew Kim and Ma Ka Chun.

***Barwell Motorsport will run a pair of Lamborghinis in the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, with Leo Machitski returning to defend his two-time Am Cup title. Adrian Amstutz will join Machitski at all rounds except the Total 24 Hours of Spa, where Richard Abra will drive. Richard Heistand will drive Barwell’s other car alongside yet to be announced teammates.

***Amstutz returns to GTWC Europe despite initially taking the decision to step back from the series. “Before the celebrations had even ended over our second Am title, Leo asked me if I would come back and do the other four GT World Challenge Europe endurance races with him in 2020, and I didn’t take much persuading!” he said.

***RLR MSport has signed Danish Formula 4 Champion Malthe Jakobsen for its European Le Mans Series LMP3 campaign. The 16-year-old tested RLR’s Ligier JS P3 Nissan in December, prompting a switch to prototype racing.

***Nicolaj Moller Madsen and Anderson Tanoto will share an Absolute Racing-prepared Audi R8 LMS GT4 Evo in GTWC Asia this year. The team runs Porsches and Audis in the series’ GT3 class but will establish a full-season presence in GT4 as well this year.

***Funds will be raised during this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour to help fight the Australian bushfires, through an initiative run with the Australian Lions Club Foundation National Bushfire Appeal. Teams are being encouraged to either donate directly or pledge a set amount per lap completed during the race. Donations can be made here.

***RLR MSport raised £560 ($732) for the Australian bushfire relief efforts by auctioning a rear wing endplate from its Oreca 05 Nissan that caught fire during the 4 Hours of The Bend. The money will be donated to the Country Fire Service to help provide immediate financial assistance and care to volunteer firefighters, and the Australian Red Cross.

***SRO pitlane reporter Dakota Jane is involved in an initiative to make special pouches and blankets for animals affected by the Australian bushfires. Watch a video interview with Dakota by the BBC here

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

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