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Weekly Racing Roundup (12.14.20)

News and notes from around sports car racing plus Super Taikyu, 6H Rome in action…

Photo: Super Taikyu

***D’station Racing won the penultimate round of the Super Taikyu season at Autopolis with its Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Tsubasa Kondo triumphed in the five-hour race after gaining the upper hand in a battle with HIRIX Good Day Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. HIRIX Good Day ultimately finished fourth, which has kept the title race alive heading into the Suzuka season finale on Jan. 23-24.

***Yusaku Shibata, Masami Kageyama and GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup race winner Ryuichiro Tomita came through in second with their Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, one minute off the winning Aston. View the results here.

***Audi Sport Team Italia won a thrilling 6 Hours of Rome held at Vallelunga. Ricky Agostini, Lorenzo Ferrari and Sean Hudspeth claimed victory in a dramatic ending that saw Agostini fend off Drive Test Motorsport Lamborghini driver Raffaele Giammaria over the final stint. The pair crossed the line just half a second apart, while AKM Motorsport’s Mercedes-AMG finished third.

***Lucas Mueller took the spoils in round three of the FCP Euro GT World Challenge America Esports Championship at Monza. Philippe Simard took the checkered flag first but was demoted to second by a 10-second penalty for spinning Mueller’s Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG around in the battle for the lead.

Photo: Allied-Racing Facebook

***Leading GT4 outfit Allied-Racing is set to join the GT3 ranks next year with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Allied tested its new car at Portimao last week. The team won this year’s ADAC GT4 Germany title and the GT4 European Series Pro-Am class with Porsches.

***Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard have reunited for a 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship entry with Beechdean AMR. The duo achieved several victories together between 2011-15, including a pair of overall championships for Howard and one for Adam. Next year they will share an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, continuing the precedent set by their previous campaigns with Aston machinery.

***SSR Performance plans to defend its ADAC GT Masters title next year. Its managing director Stefan Schlund told the PS on Air official GT Masters talk show that the Porsche squad will be back in 2021 and could expand to a multi-car entry. SSR has declined the use of the No. 1 car designation for winning the championship, instead preferring to stick with the No. 92.

***United Autosports and HHC Motorsport have joined forces to run the former’s new GT4 European Series entry. The collaboration will operate out of United’s base with HHC’s Charlie Kemp and Jody Hemmings joining as GT project manager and head of GT engineering, respectively. Kemp was the crew chief for the 2006 Le Mans GT2-class winning entry that included United co-owner Richard Dean as one of the drivers.

***Nielsen Racing has purchased a Ligier JS P320 Nissan and tested the car last week at Donington Park. The British team ran two Duqueine D08 Nissans in the European Le Mans Series this year. It previously fielded Ligier JS P3s from 2017-19.

***2 Seas Motorsport has shipped its full set of equipment – including trucks – to Bahrain for next month’s Gulf 12 Hours. The British GT race-winning squad is set to enter two McLaren 720S GT3s into the event.

Photo: Mazda MX-5 Cup

***Mazda has increased the sum of its prizes for next year’s IMSA-sanctioned Mazda MX-5 Cup. The 2021 champion will receive a $250,000 USD payout – marking a $50,000 increase on last year – while the second and third-placed drivers in the standings will get $85,000 and $50,000 respectively. Prize money for the season will now be given to the top ten drivers, rather than the top five.

***IMSA DPi champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has been inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame. Castroneves was surprised with the award by Penske team manager Tim Cindric, who traveled to visit the Brazilian driver in Florida, while current and former Penske employees joined the ceremony on video link. Castroneves is the ninth Penske hall-of-fame driver.

***An online version of the annual Autosport International motorsport trade show has been launched. ASI Connect will take place in March, functioning as a marketplace and a platform for keynote and panel discussions. Various sports car programs have been launched as ASI over the years.

***The Italian GT Championship has added Enna-Pergusa to its 2021 calendar, which consists of eight rounds split evenly between the Sprint and Endurance competitions. Enna is set to open the Endurance campaign on May. 21-23 before fixtures at Mugello, Vallelunga and Monza. The Sprint championship plans to race at Monza, Misano, Imola and Mugello.

***The Hankook 6H Abu Dhabi is set to ahead as planned on Jan. 22-23, race organizer Creventic has confirmed. Creventic’s assurance comes after the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Committee for the COVID-19 Pandemic declared that it is “working with local authorities to resume all economic, tourism, cultural and entertainment activities in the emirate within two weeks.”

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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