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Weekly Racing Roundup (3.20.23)

Report from four-hour NLS season-opener plus other racing action and news…

Photo: BMW M Motorsport

Martin, Vanthoor Win NLS Opener for ROWE

Maxime Martin and Dries Vanthoor won the opening round of the NLS season for ROWE Racing after beating Phoenix Audi duo Ricardo Feller and Kim-Luis Schramm.

The Martin-Vanthoor pairing was entered into two different BMW M4 GT3s for the four-hour race at the Nürburgring due to ROWE’s other drivers being engaged in other commitments at Sebring.

Martin, who started the No. 99, and Vanthoor engaged in an early battle with two of the Scherer-backed Phoenix Audis before ROWE put its focus on only one BMW.

After the final pit stops shook out, Vanthoor was only a second ahead of Schramm but the Belgian driver managed to keep the No. 16 Audi at bay to win by six seconds.

“As we only had two drivers at the track today, we had to decide whether to just make up the numbers or go for the win,” said team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf.

“We decided to go on the offensive and, after one and a half stints, put all our eggs in one basket – the better‑placed car – and took the No. 98 out of the race. The success shows we made the right decision.”

Schnitzelalm Racing completed the podium with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Marcel Marchewicz and Marek Bockmann, while the No. 33 Audi Sport Team Car Collection crew took fourth ahead of the BMW Junior Team.

RESULTS: ADAC Westfalenfahrt

Photo: Absolute Racing

Other Racing Action & News

***Absolute Racing claimed a one-two result in the revived Sepang 12 Hours with a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs.  Markus Winkelhock, James Yu Kuai and Andrew Haryanto beat the B-Quik Absolute lineup of Christopher Haase, Peter Kox and Henk Kiks by 16 seconds. The race features a dozen GT3 cars and was held over eight hours due to financial considerations for teams. Results

***Team 5ZIGEN won the opening round of the Super Taikyu season at Suzuka with a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Its lineup of Shintaro Kawabata, Yusuke Shiotsu, Yu Kanamaru and ‘Hirobon’ beat the TKRI Mercedes-AMG lineup by 21 seconds. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s hydrogen-powered Corolla H2 Concept did not take part in the race due to a vehicle fire in a private test at Fuji Speedway. Results

***The European Le Mans Series will hold its season-opener on a revised version of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that does not have a chicane in the last sector. The venue introduced the chicane in 2007 but infrastructure and safety upgrades have resulted in a reversion to the older 14-corner layout.

***Lorenzo Patrese, Alex Aka and Pietro Delli Guanti will share the No. 99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup. Patrese and Aka will also compete in the Sprint series.

***Madpanda Motorsport has signed Alexey Nesov to drive its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, alongside team principal Ezequiel Companc. Nesov signed with the team after impressing during a recent test at Paul Ricard last week.

***Estonian driver Ralf Aron will return to racing after a five-year absence as part of Theeba Motorsport’s Bronze Cup crew for GTWC Europe Endurance Cup. Aron, who works with Prema in a team management role, will share Theeba’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Reema Juffali and Alain Valente.

Photo: Muecke Motorsport

More News

***Muecke Motorsport has expanded into prototype racing with the launch of an LMP3 program for the Prototype Cup Germany series. Nico Goehler and Gustavo Kiryla will share the German team’s Duqueine D08 Nissan in the six-round series.

***Team Project 1 is pressing ahead with its plan to run two new Porsche 911 GT3 Rs, despite confirming a two-car DTM program with the BMW M4 GT3. Team principal Axel Funke told Sportscar365 that Project 1 expects to receive its Porsches in June, ahead of preparing for a 2024 program that is set to run alongside the BMW effort.

***Huber Racing has committed to ADAC GT Masters with a new Type-992 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team plans to announce its driver pairing at the end of this month.

***Vincenzo Sospiri Racing last week confirmed its driver lineup for the Italian GT Sprint Championship where it will run three Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2s. Reigning Endurance champion Edoardo Liberati will team up with 2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo world champion Mattia Michelotto in one of the cars. The other pairings are Baptiste Moulin/Mateo Llarena and Riccardo Cazzaniga/Artem Petrov.

***GT4 Scandinavia will once again join the GT4 European Series grid for one of the support races at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, McLaren Trophy Europe and the GT1 Sports Club are also on the undercard.

On this weekend: 24H Series (Mugello)

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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