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Weekly Racing Roundup (3.1.21)

News including GT Masters champion’s team switch, McLaren DDP return and more…

Photo: KÜS Team75 Bernhard

***Reigning ADAC GT Masters champion Christian Engelhart has moved to KÜS Team75 Bernhard for his 2021 title defense. Engelhart will have a new race partner in Porsche factory driver Thomas Preining after working with Michael Ammermueller at Porsche outfit SSR Performance last year.

***In addition to announcing the first of two Porsche 911 GT3 R driver lineups, KÜS Team75 Bernhard has appointed Jennifer Leising as team manager. Leising is the sister of team owner and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard. Alongside its GT Masters program, Bernhard’s outfit will run a Porsche entry in ADAC GT4 Germany for Alexander Tauscher and Levi O’Dey.

***Grasser Racing Team has named the last of its four GT Masters driver pairings. Clemens Schmid and Mike David Ortmann will drive the No. 11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. Schmid returns to the Austrian team while Ortmann drove for Audi squad Car Collection Motorsport in various championships last year.

***Land-Motorsport has confirmed two Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos for Masters. The 2016 title-winning team is yet to name its driver pairings.

***Rino Mastronardi will aim to defend his Michelin Le Mans Cup title from last year with a new co-driver. The Italian will share the No. 8 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with Paolo Ruberti, after teaming up with Giacomo Piccini last season. Iron Lynx has yet to name the drivers of its No. 9 car.

***Reigning European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Wayne Boyd will compete in Le Mans Cup this year, sharing a United Autosports Ligier JS P320 Nissan with John Schauerman from the United States.

Image: McLaren

***McLaren has resumed its official Driver Development Program after the young talent initiative was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enrolled drivers Katie Milner, Michael Benyahia, Harry Hayek and Alain Valente will pilot Team Rocket RJN McLaren 570S GT4s in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship. The quartet was first named on the McLaren DDP in late 2019 while the race program was initially set to be run by Tolman Motorsport.

***Father-and-son duo Stewart and Lewis Proctor will share a Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 in British GT’s new Silver-Am category. Stewart drove for Balfe in Pro-Am last season while his son Lewis represented Optimum Motorsport in Silver Cup.

***Triple 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Darren Turner will drive an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the U.K-based GT Cup series round at Donington Park in April. Aston Martin stalwart Turner is teaming up with James Guess in the Feather Motor Sport entry, for what is set to be his first GT4 outing in two years.

***Vincenzo Sospiri Racing has announced a pair of Lamborghini entries for International GT Open. Reigning European Le Mans Series GTE champion Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff will share the No. 63 car, while Baptiste Moulin is the first confirmed driver of the No. 19. Both Schandorff and Moulin were official Lamborghini GT3 Juniors last year.

***Lamborghini outfit JLOC has firmed up both of its GT300 driver lineups for Super GT. Kosuke Matsuura and Natsu Sakaguchi form a new pairing in the No. 87 machine while Takashi Kogure and Yuya Motojima stay on in the No. 88. Matsuura and Sakaguchi drove Honda and Toyota GT300 cars last season, respectively. JLOC continues to use Yokohama tires.

Photo: K-PAX Racing

***K-PAX Racing spent two days testing its new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos at Sonoma late last week ahead of this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season-opener at the California track. It marked the first time that all four K-PAX drivers – Andrea Caldarelli, Giovanni Venturini, Jordan Pepper and Corey Lewis – had worked on-site together.

***On the other side of the U.S, WeatherTech Racing carried out a test with two Porsche 911 RSR-19s at Sebring Raceway ahead of the 12-hour race later this month. The team has yet to name its full driving squad for round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

***SRO America has published the full 29-car entry list for the TC America season-opener at Sonoma. The largest of the three categories is TC with 15 drivers signed up.

***Amazon Web Services will take on an expanded role in SRO Motorsports Group’s various series this year, beyond its existing sponsorship agreement. Its new status as ‘global technology partner’ will include rolling out an enhanced version of its RaceVision powered by AWS concept, which collects and presents real-time data from cars during races.

***VP Racing Fuels has been named the Official Performance Additive of IMSA, adding to the company’s other roles of Official Fuel Supplier and Official Performance Coolant for the North American sports car racing sanctioning body.

***A handful of initial entries have been posted for the second season of the Ligier European Series. Defending champion HP Racing is returning with a single Ligier JS P4 in partnership with Eurointernational while the Jack Leconte-run Les Deux Arbres organization is fielding two P4 prototypes. Orhes Racing and CTF Performance have announced entries in the Ligier JS2 R class.

Photo: Supercars Endurance

***The GT4 South European Series and TCR Iberico have joined forces to create a new championship called Supercars Endurance. Mixed grids of GT4 and TCR machinery competing in separate classes will take part in five rounds across Spain and Portugal this year. Each meeting will consist of two 45-minute races, with solo and two-driver lineups permitted.

***The Ultimate Cup season-opener at Nogaro has been postponed due to French COVID-19 control measures. The event was due to take place on March 19-21. A meeting at Dijon on Apr. 30-May 2 is next on the calendar.

***Another European series to adjust its season start date is the U.K-based Sports Prototype Cup, which opted to re-arrange its March 27 Silverstone opener in response to the planned resumption of British race events on March 29. The four-round season is due to kick off at Silverstone in May.

2021 Supercars Endurance schedule
May 1-2 – Portimao
Jun. 5-6 – Jarama
Jul. 12-13 – Estoril
Sep. 25-26 – Valencia
Nov. 8-9 – Jerez

2021 Sports Prototype Cup schedule
May 29 – Silverstone
Jul. 16-17 – Portimao
Oct. 23 – Donington Park
Nov. 5-6 – Paul Ricard

On this weekend: Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, GT America powered by AWS, TC America (Sonoma); 2020 Ferrari Finali Mondiali (Misano)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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