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Weekly Racing Roundup (3.29.21)

Reports from 12H Mugello and Super GT testing plus news and notes from the past week…

Photo: Petr Fryba/Creventic

Herberth Defends 12H Mugello Win

Herberth Motorsport successfully defended its 12 Hours of Mugello win from last year as Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer, Ralf Bohn and Daniel Allemann took a controlled victory at the Italian circuit last weekend.

The reigning Asian Le Mans Series champion squad’s pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs finished first and fourth in the second points-paying round of the Creventic-run 24H Series.

The winning No. 91 triumphed by a three-lap margin after dominating Saturday’s second half of the ‘double-six’ race format. It started from sixth on Friday’s initial grid but moved into the lead through a mixture of pace and a series of Code 60 caution periods.

Scuderia Praha finished second with its Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, while Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche came through 11 seconds behind in third.

The battle for second ran all the way up to the final half-hour when Matus Vyboh put former 24H Series champion Scuderia Praha ahead with a pass around the outside of Ivan Jacoma.

Another on-track duel took place for fifth position and saw T2 Racing’s Manuel Lauck narrowly hold off a charging Pierre Kaffer in Rutronik Racing’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

The highest-finishing car outside of the GT3 classes was the Reiter Engineering KTM X-Bow GTX which placed 10th on its first European endurance race outing. Mads Siljehaug, Nicolai Elghanayan, Horst Felbermayr Jr and Eike Angermayr shared the wheel.

TCR category honors went to the Red Camel-Jordans team with its Seat Cupra TCR DSG driven by Ivo and Rik Breukers.

RESULTS: 12H Mugello

Photo: Super GT

TOM’s Toyota driver Sho Tsuboi set the fastest lap of Super GT’s official pre-season test at Fuji Speedway, ahead of the first round at Okayama next weekend.

Tsuboi’s 1:27.760 flyer, which came during the opening day of running on Saturday, was enough to lead the 15-car GT500 field outright.

Toyota drivers finished first and second in the test as Kenta Yamashita came through on a 1:27.949, while Ronnie Quintarelli was third overall in his No. 23 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

The quickest times were set on the opening day as rain impacted the pace on Sunday. In addition to standard running, the test included mock safety car procedures and restarts.

Quintarelli was the fastest driver on day two with a 1:28.397 set in the afternoon. The best Honda NSX-GT effort was a 1:28.287 which Bertrand Baguette posted on day one.

Joao Paulo de Oliveira topped the GT300 class leaderboard on both days, with the Brazilian’s best submission for the Kondo Racing Nissan outfit being a time of 1:36.476.

RESULTS: Session 1 / Session 2 / Session 3 / Session 4

Photo: Sportec

***Triple 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Marcel Fassler, who recently announced his retirement from a professional racing career spanning 26 years, has been appointed as the head of motorsport at Sportec. The Swiss company runs and distributes Porsche, Lamborghini and KTM race models, including the new X-Bow GTX.

***British F4 racer Tommy Foster will make his sports car debut this year driving for RLR MSport in Michelin Le Mans Cup. The 18-year-old will share a Ligier JS P320 Nissan with Mike Benham, who is also representing the team in the European Le Mans Series.

***Iron Lynx has joined forces with the Ferrari Driver Academy and FIA Women in Motorsport Commission to support the FIA’s Girls on Track-Rising Stars initiative to encourage more female participation in motorsport. The Italian race team is running a car in Italian Formula 4 for Maya Weug, in addition to its all-female GTE-Am driver lineup in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***The 2021 edition of Le Mans Classic has been postponed to next year due to doubt over whether spectators would be allowed to attend in early July. Automobile Club de l’Ouest President Pierre Fillon said it “would not make sense” to hold the historic race meeting behind closed doors. A new date will be communicated in September but is likely to be either the first or second weekend of July in 2022.

***TF Sport was at Silverstone last week for a pre-season test ahead of the 2021 WEC season. D’station Racing driver Andrew Watson was on-site to shake down the British squad’s pair of Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.

***Optimum Motorsport recently tested a Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo at Monza in preparation for the McLaren GT3 customer squad’s 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in GTE-Am. Ollie Millroy and Brenan Iribe took turns behind the wheel. Ben Barnicoat was absent from the session due to being stationed at Silverstone for a McLaren GT3 test with JOTA.

***Audi Sport Italia has announced that Filip Salaquarda will join the team’s sprint series pairing of Vito Postiglione and Edoardo Morricone for the Italian GT endurance rounds.

Image: Toyota

***Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe and British team Speedworks have co-launched the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Young Driver Programme. The initiative is open to GT racers aged 25 and under, while the first member will be revealed in the coming weeks.

***Rob Leupen, managing director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, said: “The GR Supra GT4 has made a positive impression in series around the world and we value the feedback and support of our customers, who have put their trust in TGR-E. With the UK Young Driver Programme, we intend to add further value while supporting Speedworks to nurture a new generation of British talent.”

***James Baldwin moved into the British GT Esports Championship points lead with victory in round two at Snetterton. The sim racer and real-world McLaren GT3 driver led home a one-two result for Jenson Team Rocket RJN, with Michael O’Brien in second.

***GT4 European Series champion squad AGS Events will return to defend its teams’ title this year. The French squad has announced a Silver Cup-class Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for series debutants Konstantin Lachenauer and FFSA French GT Am champion Cesar Gazeau. More entries are due to be announced.

***Another of last year’s GT4 European Series front-runners, NM Racing, has also declared its presence on the 2021 grid. Silver Cup runner-up Xavier Lloveras and Lluc Ibanez return to drive one of the Spanish team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4s. Rafa Villanueva and Filip Vava will compete in Pro-Am.

***Tributes from around sports car racing and wider motorsport have been paid to 1988 Le Mans winner Johnny Dumfries, who passed away last week at the age of 62. Two years after his only season in Formula 1 driving for Lotus, Dumfries triumphed at Le Mans sharing a Silk Cut TWR Jaguar XJR-9LM with Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace.

***Lammers wrote in a dedication on social media: “The love, joy and energy that he shared with his family and friends are irreplaceable. I hope that the immortal love will give his family and close friends the strength to cope with this tragic loss. It was a privilege to share some great times with you.”

On this weekend: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS (Bathurst)

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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