Ruud Sweeps TC America Season-Opener at Sonoma
Jacob Ruud claimed a sweep of the TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools season-opening weekend at Sonoma Raceway with the new-for-2021 TCX class in SRO America competition.
Ruud won both 40-minute races in his Classic BMW M2 CS Cup car, finishing ahead of teammate Tommy McCarthy in the three-car introductory class, which has replaced TCR for this season.
Eric Powell and Kevin Boehm picked up TC class honors in their Honda Civic Type-R machinery, with 2020 TCA champ Boehm benefiting from a start-line accident in Race 2 that collected Powell as well as Classic BMW’s Toby Grahovec
The No. 22 TechSport Racing Toyota 86 of Jesse Love, meanwhile, came out on top in both TCA class races following a pair of hard-fought battles with Mark Pombo.
A total of 27 cars took part over the weekend between the three classes, with additional entries expected for the second round of the season at Circuit of The Americas in May.
***Ferrari held its postponed 2020 Finali Mondiali at Misano last weekend. The event included the presentation of updated liveries for the manufacturer’s GTE-Pro Ferrari 488 GTE Evos ahead of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
***A post-race disqualification for Thomas Neubauer resulted in Florian Merckx winning the 2020 Ferrari Challenge global title. Neubauer was the first to finish Sunday’s deciding 30-minute contest, but the stewards’ post-race observation of “technical irregularities” handed the win to Merckx. Fabienne Wohlwend and Ferrari Challenge North America champion Cooper MacNeil completed the top-three. The results remain provisional pending an appeal from Neubauer’s Charles Pozzi team.
***Robert Haub and Gabriela Jilkova were crowned GT Winter Series champions after last week’s final round at Aragon. The Zakspeed Mercedes-AMG GT4 pair finished third and fourth in the two races to seal the title. Race 1 honors went to Mercedes GT4 driver Marcel Marchewicz, while Pål Pettersen Berg won Race 2 in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.
***Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus conducted the second test of its Le Mans Hypercar last week. Pipo Derani and Ryan Briscoe were at Monza to turn their first laps in the non-hybrid SCG 007 LMH. SCG has vowed to take the car to the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 8-11, one week before the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Monza.
***SRO Motorsports Group has removed the opening round of the new Fanatec GT Rebellion Series and a 15-year anniversary celebration for the GT3 formula from its Monza meeting next month. The reason is to meet limitations on attendance at the event, which is headlined by Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup.
***The GT Rebellion Series, which is tailored to Bronze-rated GT3 drivers, is now due to start at Hockenheim on May 14-15. A race at Spa on July 23-25 replaces the canceled Monza contest. SRO aims to find a new date for its ‘GT3 Anniversary’ races with old cars.
***Grasser Racing Team has locked in two-thirds of its Silver driving crew for GTWC Europe Endurance Cup. Tim Zimmermann and Super Trofeo ace Kikko Galbiati will drive one of the Austrian team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos. Grasser also has a Pro car signed up.
***Having already nominated a set of Pro entries, AKKA-ASP has added a Silver Cup car to its GTWC Europe program. LMP2 driver Konstantin Tereschenko will make his GT3 debut, sharing the No. 87 Mercedes-AMG with Jim Pla in Sprint Cup. Thomas Drouet will join the pair for Endurance Cup. Last season the No. 87 AKKA-ASP entry competed in Pro-Am, but Bronze driver Fabien Barthez has switched to the GT Rebellion Series for 2021.
***The official esports series of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship has been aligned with SRO’s other virtual racing competitions. The series was run by The Online Racing Association for six seasons but will migrate to SRO’s Assetto Corsa Competizione platform for 2021. Five 60-minute races will take place each Sunday from March 21.
***10Q Racing Team will make its Michelin Le Mans Cup debut this year with a single Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo for Wim Spinoy and Kenneth Heyer. The German team arrived on the GT3 scene in 2020, racing in the NLS. 10Q has purchased a second AMG to tackle the Le Mans Cup, as part of its “medium-term” goal of a 24 Hours of Le Mans entry.
***Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Maro Engel and Luca Stolz will continue with Toksport WRT in ADAC GT Masters. The duo will once again share the No. 22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Engel and Stolz won the 2020 season-opener and finished third in the standings, in Toksport’s first full-length campaign. The team is testing its AMG at Zandvoort today.
***Schubert Motorsport is set to continue running BMW M6 GT3s in GT Masters. The team has yet to announce the specifics of its 2021 involvement, including the driver lineup. Schubert is also gearing up for its ADAC GT4 Germany debut, running BMW machinery.
***Boutsen Ginion Racing will contest its first full season of International GT Open with a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 R-EX driven by Francois Grimm. The most recent appearance of a Reiter Engineering-built Gallardo on the GT Open grid came in 2017.
***Another recently-announced GT Open entry is the return of JP Motorsport’s Mercedes-AMG GT3. Patryk Krupinski and former Jaguar and Red Bull Formula 1 driver Christian Klien will again team up to compete in the Pro-Am class.
***31 cars are on the entry list for the first round of the new Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama. The series kicks off at Sebring on March 11-13.
***The final round of the 2021 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires will follow the rescheduling of Motul Petit Le Mans to Nov. 10-12. It was originally due to support the 10-hour race in early October. IMSA altered the date of its season finale weekend due to the 24 Hours of Le Mans postponement.
On this weekend: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS (Phillip Island)
John Dagys contributed to this report.