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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (2.12.18)

GT Masters grid revealed, Super GT lineups and new co-driver for British GT champion…

Photo: ADAC GT Masters

News & Notes 

***Thirty-seven GT3 cars are set to contest the ADAC GT Masters with eight different brands represented on the full-season entry list. The most popular car is the Audi R8 LMS GT3 with 12 entered by seven different teams, while Ferrari returns to GT Masters with HB Racing giving the 488 GT3 its first outing in the series. Click Here for the list of teams and cars entered.

***The Honda NSX GT3 is set to make its European debut with a two-car entry in GT Masters under the Team Honda Racing banner. The car has already had success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge badged as the Acura NSX GT3 but will race in Europe for the first time this year.

***Zakspeed has confirmed it will continue to run a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the German series, now running as Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing, with Luca Stolz and 2015 champion Sebastian Asch the first two announced drivers. YACO Racing, meanwhile, has kept its lineup of Rahel Frey and Philip Geipel in its Audi GT3 for the fifth year running.

***Lexus Gazoo Racing will support six Lexus LC 500 cars in the Super GT GT500 class, with new and returning faces in its driver rosters. Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 drivers Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi are both in the lineups, as are reigning champions Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy. Felix Rosenqvist has replaced Andrea Caldarelli at Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s, the team with which he finished third in Super Formula last year.

***Nissan has also outlined its Super GT plans with four Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500s entered. 2014 and 2015 champions Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli will remain together for their fifth straight season as co-drivers, while Katsumasa Chiyo, Jann Mardenborough and Mistunori Takaboshi are all present in the lineup as well. Several updates have been made to the car, including aerodynamic improvements, to optimize air flow along the center of the vehicle, and alterations to improve drivability.

***2017 British GT champion Rick Parfitt Jr. will have a new teammate at Team Parker Racing this season, with Ryan Ratcliffe replacing Seb Morris in the Bentley Continental GT3. Parfitt and Ratcliffe won the GT4 title together in 2013 and the Welshman drove AMD Tuning’s Mercedes GT3 in the series last year. It has also been announced that two-time GT3 champion Andrew Howard and his Beechdean AMR outfit will return to the series with Darren Turner.

***Team HARD will again run two Ginetta G55 GT4s in British GT with a currently unrevealed driver lineup which is expected to include drivers with previous GT4 experience and a Silver entry in at least one car. It brings the number of Ginettas in the series up to four, along with the pair of HHC Motorsport entries.

***Absolute Racing is set to enter two Audi R8 LMS GT3s in the Blancpain GT Series Asia, but is also yet to reveal its drivers. The team ran several cars last season, including the OD Racing Audi of Aditya Patel and Mitch Gilbert who missed out on the title by just one point. This entry is expected to be one Pro-Am and one Silver entry. KCMG, meanwhile, will run two new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s in the series.

***Reigning International GT Open champion Imperiale Racing will field three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in the series this year. The team won both the teams’ title and the drivers’ championship with Giovanni Venturini. The Italian is expected to return to try and defend his title while the rest of the lineup could also include Lamborghini junior drivers.

***Drivex will also return to GT Open, with a Mercedes GT3 driven by an unchanged lineup of Marcelo Hahn and Allam Khodair. The pair finished third in Pro-Am last year, racking up three podium finishes and a class win at Paul Ricard.

***Matt Bell and Jim McGuire will tackle the Michelin Le Mans Cup for a second season together with United Autosports in a Ligier JS P3 Nissan. Bell will also compete with the team in the European Le Mans Series.

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


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