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Weekly Racing Roundup (11.9.20)

Reports from GT Masters, DTM and British GT deciders plus other racing action and news…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Engelhart, Ammermueller Clinch GT Masters Title

Christian Engelhart and Michael Ammermueller both became first-time ADAC GT Masters champions after a closely-contested final round of the season at Oschersleben.

The SSR Performance Porsche duo dominated in Race 1 before recovering from a spin at the start of Race 2 to pick up a fourth-place finish and the overall championship. 

A commanding display in Saturday’s 60-minute opener put Engelhart and Ammermueller into the points lead, ahead of Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser.

Van der Linde and Niederhauser then dropped out of contention at the start of Sunday’s decider when their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo started a chain reaction multi-car accident at the green flag.

This prompted a red flag stoppage, while Engelhart also spun in a separate incident further up the field but was able to keep third place for the restart.

The German driver held onto his podium position while Raffaele Marciello led the way in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that would eventually win in the hands of Philip Ellis.

Although Ammermueller lost third to fellow title contender Robert Renauer in the closing stages, the combination of a victory in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2 was enough to confirm the SSR Performance drivers as champions by a nine-point margin.

“SSR Performance put a great team together in the first season,” reflected Ammermueller.

“Team founder Stefan Schlund has definitely chosen the right people, that was certainly the basic requirement for success.

“With Christian, I have a great team partner by my side, we made few mistakes over the entire season and can really be proud of ourselves.”

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 / Points Standings

Photo: Audi Sport

Rast Becomes Triple DTM Champion

Rene Rast joined an exclusive club of drivers to have won more than two DTM titles as the Audi factory ace wrapped up his third in four years at a thrilling Hockenheim finale.

Rast joined Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider in achieving at least three crowns with second in Race 1 and a victory in Race 2, despite the efforts of his rival Nico Mueller.

Mueller won the weekend’s first bout which included some exciting door-to-door action between the two title protagonists, who also finished first and second last season.

The Swiss driver got ahead at the start but Rast ate into the gap and used his push-to-pass overtaking aid to grab the lead running down to the Turn 6 hairpin on lap nine.

Another positional switch occurred after the pit stops when Mueller – on slightly older and warmer tires – benefited from a Rast lock-up into Turn 2.

Rast’s error initially dropped him to fourth but overtakes on his teammate Jamie Green and Robin Frijns, who ultimately finished seventh to drop out of title contention, enabled the Team Roberg Audi man to reduce the points loss to Mueller who took the win.

Despite Rast’s lead coming down slightly, the defending champion saw off any potential title upset by winning Race 2 from pole position, which carried three extra points.

Rast lost his lead in the early stages to Mike Rockenfellerr before getting back ahead on push-to-pass, while Mueller’s repeat of the pit stop undercut worked again to swap the title contenders around.

However, Rast fought back once his tires were up to temperature and powered past out of Turn 2, setting him on course for his seventh victory of the year, as well as the title. 

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 / Points Standings

Photo: JEP

Collard, Mitchell Beat Bumper Grid to Claim Title

After winning their class in the Total 24 Hours of Spa last month, Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell rounded off their domestic campaign with victory in the season-ending Silverstone 500 to become this year’s Intelligent Money British GT overall champions.

Mitchell and Collard won Sunday’s three-hour race from pole in their Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to overturn their six-point deficit to leaders Patrick Kujala and Sam de Haan, whose Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG finished eighth.

Several guest entries including 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button made for a packed grid with a season-high 37 cars including 20 GT3s entered across the board.

Collard led at the start, while an early safety car for two cars going off at Luffield prompted a smart pit call from Barwell to bring both of its Lamborghinis in immediately.  

The rest of the field also pitted under the intervention, but Barwell’s move to come in first brough Mitchell and Phil Keen out in first and second.

Keen then took the lead from Mitchell before the two Lamborghinis swapped back again in the pits when Adam Balon took the reins of the green No. 72 car and Collard jumped back into the black No. 78.

Half of Barwell’s entry then hit trouble when Balon was tapped around by de Haan at Stowe, which resulted in a 10-second stop-go penalty for the championship leader.

This paved the way for Collard and Mitchell to seal the title, despite pressure from several cars including the James Baldwin/Michael O’Brien Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3 and the Ian Loggie/Yelmer Buurman Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG.

Mitchell emerged from his final pit stop just ahead of O’Brien, who slipped to third after being caught and passed by Mercedes-AMG factory driver Buurman.

The issues for Keen and Balon, who ended up ninth overall, enabled Loggie and Buurman to win the GT3 Pro-Am championship.

In the GT4 class, TF Sport Aston Martin pair Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughn wrapped up the title with second, while Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and ELMS LMP3 champion Rob Wheldon triumphed in the race for BMW squad Century Motorsport.

RESULTS: Silverstone 500 / Points Standings

Photo: Italian GT

Other Weekend Action

***Antonio Fuoco, Alessio Rovera and Giorgio Roda secured the Italian GT Endurance championship with victory at Monza. The AF Corse Ferrari trio beat Audi Sport Italia’s Mattia Drudi, Riccardo Agostini and Daniel Mancinelli by just under three seconds in the three-hour race. Italian GT’s sprint series still has one more round to go at Vallelunga next month.

***Lucas Mauron and Tim Heinemann shared out the wins at Hockenheim as the inaugural DTM Trophy season wrapped up. Heinemann was already confirmed as champion heading into the final weekend.

***As Rene Rast earned his third DTM crown, series record titleholder Bernd Schneider also won at Hockenheim in the GTC Race series. Schneider, driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3, won Race 1 before Markus Winkelhock took the Race 2 spoils aboard an Audi R8.

***Gabriele Piana and Michael Schrey won the second season of ADAC GT4 Germany, beating Nicolaj Moller-Madsen and Jan Kaspelik by two points after the final races of the year at Oschersleben. The two pairings won a race each, while former table-toppers Julien Apotheloz and Luca-Sando Trefz slipped to third after dropping points in Race 1.

***IMSA team The Heart of Racing won the New Zealand Endurance Championship held at Highlands Motorsport Park. Alex Riberas and Darren Kelly took victory in the three-hour race, beating defending champions Neil Foster and Jonny Reid whose Audi R8 LMS GT3 came through in second.

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

News & Notes

***The winners of year’s ADAC GT Masters will be crowned International German GT champions, the series confirmed at its season-ending press conference on Sunday. The rebrand is designed to ensure GT Masters “will be the only German championship for professional drivers competing at motor racing circuits”, seemingly a response to the DTM adopting FIA GT3 cars next year. Additionally, the series and Pirelli have renewed their exclusive tire supply deal for “several more years”.

***T3-HRT-Motorsport is set to return to GT Masters next season. Team boss Jens Feucht told the series’ website that his organization will “increase our involvement” with an extra car in 2021, building on its two-car entry with Bentley and Audi machinery this year.

***Assetto Corsa Competizione has developed an update to its GT World Challenge Europe downloadable content for PCs. Imola has joined the tracks list, while the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo have also been added. All official liveries from the 2020 GTWC Europe powered by AWS season will be included in the update.

***1997 Le Mans winner Stefan Johansson is among the 22 artists featured in this year’s Royal Automobile Club Art of Motoring exhibition. A total of 166 works of art including several sports car pieces are featured in the virtual display, which has been curated by TV commentator and pit lane reporter Andrew Marriott.

***The Ultimate Cup Series has announced a new meeting at Paul Ricard on Dec. 4-6, to make up for its cancelation of the November rounds at Navara and Estoril.

***This weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be preceded by a special track walk for fans, presented by Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall from The Torque Show. The event will start on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

“Walking the Sebring circuit will be truly memorable for our fans,” said Sebring Raceway President and General Manager Wayne Estes. “To be on the same track that many legends of motorsports have competed on is a bucket-list experience.”

On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (Bahrain), IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (Sebring), GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup (Paul Ricard), 24H Series (Mugello)

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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