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Weekly Racing Roundup (10.7.19)

Report from an eventful DTM finale that served as the first joint event with Super GT cars…

Photo: DTM

Super GT Guest Entries Showcased at DTM Finale

Three guest cars from Japan’s Super GT championship starred in last weekend’s DTM finale at the Hockenheimring.

With the series’ drivers’ title already decided in the favor of Rene Rast and Audi holding a massive lead in the manufacturers’ standings, only the teams’ title was up for grabs in the final weekend of the season.

That went the way of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, which fields RS 5 DTMs for Rast and Jamie Green, after another win for Rast in Race 1 on Saturday.

The focus of the event was truly on the three guest cars from Super GT, however, with Honda, Nissan and Lexus all represented by one car.

The best result for any of these cars was a ninth-place finish for Honda Team Kunimitsu’s Jenson Button in Race 1, while the trio’s remaining results were all outside of the points.

The Super GT guests were clearly suffering from a performance disadvantage to their DTM rivals, running an unfamiliar Hankook tire in a sprint format very different to their usual endurance style, and without any Balance of Performance.

DTM and Super GT will meet again next month for the ‘Dream Race’ at Fuji, where this year’s Super GT GT500 field will race against four cars from Audi and three from BMW.

In the Hockenheimring races themselves, Rast took his seventh win of the season on Saturday after a battle with Marco Wittmann, who finished the season as the best-placed BMW driver.

Wittmann looked set to assume the lead with an undercut pit stop but a safety car period then cut his advantage. He made a late-race pass for the lead but Rast countered and went on to win by 1.6 seconds.

Nico Mueller secured second place in the drivers’ standings with victory on Sunday, beating Mike Rockenfeller by four seconds, while Rast completed an all-Audi podium.

Jamie Green led most of the race until he pitted on the final lap after electing an unusual late pit stop strategy.

Rast finishes the season on 322 points with Mueller on 250 and Wittmann third with 202, while Audi’s three factory teams lock out the top three positions in the teams’ standings ahead of BMW’s trio of entrants.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

News & Notes

***The next generation of GT3 cars, set to debut in 2022, are expected to maintain their current performance level, according to decisions made at the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday. The 2022 GT3 technical and homologation regulations will also provide manufacturers with a “clear schedule for the homologation procedure”, while the rulebook is set to be presented to the WMSC on Dec. 4 for final approval.

***Red won the inaugural running of the TCR Spa 500 with its Cupra TCR shared by Rik Breukers, Ivo Breukers, Pepe Oriola and Tom Coronel. The race ran to its maximum time of 23 hours, during which the winners completed 454 laps.

***Stefano Gai claimed the Italian GT Championship Endurance title by one point on Sunday with victory co-driving a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo with Antonio Fuoco at Mugello. The three-hour race served as the final Endurance round of the year but the Sprint titles will be decided at Monza in two weeks’ time.

***Alex Zanardi, who was making his first racing start since the Rolex 24 at Daytona, was forced to retire from the race due to a technical issue in his BMW M6 GT3 that he shared with Erik Johansson and Stefano Comandini.

***Robin Rogalski claimed the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup title, following pair of season-ending races in Hockenheim. As a reward, Rogalski will be given the opportunity of participating in a DTM test with the German manufacturer.

***The schedule for next year’s Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich includes the same six venues as last year but with the reintroduction of a pre-season test named Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park on March 2. 

***The MX-5 Cup field returns to the Alabama track on April 3-4 for its first round, before subsequent visits to Circuit of The Americas, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Portland International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***The FFSA GT4 France season will come to a close this weekend with a pair of races at Circuit Paul Ricard. Sainteloc Racing’s Gregory Guilvert and Michael Fabien currently lead CMR’s Stephane Lemeret and Pierre-Alexandre Jean in the Pro-Am standings.

***Champions in GT4 France, as well as GT4 Europe, America and the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, America and Asia series, will be honored during SRO’s annual Awards night, which will be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 20 following the season-ending rounds for the SRO America championships.

***The highly anticipated “Ford v Ferrari” film premiered on Sunday evening in Paris on Champs Élysées. Stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale were in attendance, as well as FIA President Jean Todt, along with ACO President Pierre Fillon and FIA Endurance Committee President Richard Mille. The movie hits theaters on Nov. 15.

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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