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Weekly Racing Roundup (11.12.18)

New DTM cars begin group testing, MX-5 Cup Challenge finale, and Classic Daytona 24H…

Photo: BMW

First Class 1 DTM Test Gets Underway

The first group test for the new generation of DTM got underway on Monday at Estoril, with new cars from Audi and BMW both taking to the Portuguese circuit for three days of testing.

Nico Mueller, Rene Rast and Mike Rockenfeller are on hand to test the new Audi RS 5 DTM while Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler will give the BMW M4 DTM track time, in the first joint test with both manufacturers in the new era of DTM.

Both manufacturers have already rolled out their new machinery, which feature two-liter turbo engines under the new Class 1 regs umbrella. 

Photo: BMW

Wittmann Praises BMW M4 DTM Following First Sim Run

Marco Wittmann gave BMW’s new DTM challenger its first sim test last week, with development progressing on the first Class 1 spec BMW M4 DTM model. 

“It was a very cool experience,” said Wittmann. “You can clearly feel that the car has considerably more power than before. We can all look forward to that – spectators and us drivers alike.

“The higher performance will alter our driving style, as we will be approaching corners significantly faster, so the braking points will come sooner. We must obviously wait to see how it is in reality, as this was just the first drive in the simulator.

“However, you can gain an initial impression and I think that the Class 1 regulations will make for quite a show next year. I am already really looking forward to actually driving the new car in the tests.”

Photo: Global MX-5 Cup

Sparks Wins Global MX-5 Cup Challenge, $50,000 Prize

Nathanial Sparks made a last-lap move on his teammate Drake Kemper to win the second and final race of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge at Sebring on Sunday, winning a $50,000 prize.

The prize went to the driver with the best combined result from the weekend’s two races, and Sparks came out on top following his fourth-place finish in the opening race which was won by Yuui Tsutusmi.

The Challenge served as the final, non-points event of the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires season, and was a two-race shoot-out for the cash prize.

Kemper finished second in Sunday’s race, enough to bag him the runner-up prize of $20,000, while 2018 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Rookie of the Year Selin Rollan came home third, allowing the Sick Sideways team to sweep the podium.

Photo: HSR

More Than 125 Historic Cars Take Part in Classic Daytona 24H

A host of famous cars and drivers took part in the annual Classic Daytona 24 Hours presented by IMSA at the weekend. Six period-based categories totaling over 125 entries took to the track four times each in a day of continuous racing activity.

The two-driver crews that covered the most distance in the shortest amount of time were declared winners of their respective classes. Of note, seven-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Andy Wallace and team-mate Doug Smith won Group E for 2003-2015 sports cars in their 2005 Audi R8 LMP originally run by ADT Champion Racing.

European Le Mans Series racer Aaron Scott also featured on the winners’ roll with Tommy Dreelan in Group C with their 1987 Porsche 962, while Jim Cullen and Frank Beck took Group A honors in a 1968 Lola T70 Mk IIIb.

Other drivers present included two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion Eric Curran (2009 Coyote-Corvette DP), former Grand Prix winner Jochen Mass (1973 Porsche 911 IROC) and seven-time Daytona 24 winner Butch Leitzinger (2007 Pescarolo 01-Judd).

News & Notes

***Reigning British GT champion Jonny Adam will return to TF Sport next season in a new-gen Aston Martin Vantage GT3 alongside Graham Davidson. The Tom Ferrier-led squad will also expand to GT4, running the new GT4 Aston Martin, with Alex Toth-Jones the first confirmed driver. 

***The BMW M4 GT4 was named ‘Race Car of the Year’ at the Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards in Cologne on Wednesday. The car, which made its customer debut in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai in January, won titles in both the Blancpain GT Series Asia and British GT Championship.

***Super GT confirmed on Saturday that it will host its first ever night race at Sepang International Circuit in 2020, which is set to replace Buriram as the series’ non-Japanese round. Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto were crowned Super GT champions at Twin Ring Motegi on Sunday, meanwhile.

Dan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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

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