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Weekly Racing Roundup (4.13.20)

Motorsport’s aid to the COVID-19 relief effort, calendar changes and other news…

Photo: Aston Martin

COVID-19 Responses

***Aston Martin and Multimatic are working together to produce a new respiratory protection device, protective visors and gowns for frontline NHS (the UK’s National Health Service) workers. The respiratory protection design is already being trialled at the Royal London Hospital.

***In addition, Aston Martin’s design team is working with Warwick Hospital near its Gaydon base to develop a protective visor and has submitted a sample protective gown to the NHS with a view to starting production this week. Another part of the company is running a scheme to offer emergency vehicle repairs to NHS staff at the Milton Keynes University Hospital.

***JOTA Sport has started 3D printing face masks which will be donated to NHS personnel at two London hospitals: St Thomas’ Hospital, where UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson underwent treatment for COVID-19 last week, and Guy’s Hospital. The Kent-based team can print each mask in 45 minutes and assemble in just 20 seconds.

***Rebellion Racing has shifted its resources and attention to helping sister company LEMO’s scaled-up production of connectors for ventilators. LEMO is in discussions with several Formula 1 teams to help drive forward the supply of respiratory aids around the world. Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra told Sportscar365 that the company is concentrating “100 percent” of its resources on the pandemic fight.

***Riley Technologies, meanwhile, is producing powered air purifying respirator masks for Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, SC. The initial production run calls for up to 500 units but, if successful, Riley’s output could be increased to meet demands elsewhere in the U.S.

***Piedmont Medical Center got in contact with Riley through a referral from Composite Resources, the parent company of Riley’s fellow IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team CORE autosport. Composite Resources has been producing face masks since March.

Photo: GT Open

Calendar Changes

Be sure to check out and bookmark Sportscar365’s definitive guide to revised sports car racing schedules, which is updated as more events are postponed, canceled or added.

***The International GT Open season is now scheduled to get underway on June 28 at Hockenheim, according to the revised calendar released on Tuesday. The latest changes include the Spa-Francorchamps round being postponed from June 5-7 to Oct. 16-18, and the finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya being pushed back one week to Oct. 30 – Nov. 1.

***The new schedule includes rounds at Hockenheim (June 26-28), Hungaroring (July 10-12), Paul Ricard (Aug. 21-23), Red Bull Ring (Sept. 11-13), Monza (Sept. 25-27), Spa (Oct. 16-18) and Barcelona (Oct. 30 – Nov. 1)

***ADAC GT Masters has kept a seven-round schedule that is expected to begin on July 31 – Aug. 2 at Autodrom Most. That round could be moved to Lausitzring if national restrictions in the Czech Republic don’t allow for racing. The next four meetings at the Nürburgring, Zandvoort, Hockenheim and Sachsenring remain unchanged, but the Austrian round at the Red Bull Ring is moved to Oct. 16-18, one week before the finale at Oschersleben on Oct. 23-25.

***FFSA GT4 France is now slated to begin on July 17-19 during the SRO Speed Week at Spa-Francorchamps, while the Nogaro race, usually held on Easter weekend, has been moved to Aug. 21-23. Circuit d’Albi will replace Pau on Oct. 16-18, while Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard keep their original dates of Sept. 11-13 and Oct. 3-4. The season finale at Ledenon has been moved to Nov. 7-8.

***The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli season has been extended into December, meanwhile. It will return to action at Indianapolis on June 19-21 but will then run its original dates until October. Lime Rock Park will host the series on Oct. 16-17, before rounds at Circuit of The Americas (Nov. 6-8), Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (Nov. 19-22) and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Dec. 4-6).

***Trans Am has removed all autograph sessions and fan walks from its remaining races to protect the public.

***In addition to the postponement of the biennial Le Mans Classic, Peter Auto has also canceled its Spa Classic, which was set to take place on May 22-24.

Photo: IMSA

News & Notes

***Tributes have poured in from the sports car and wider motor racing world following the death of Sir Stirling Moss at the age of 90. Moss, who passed away on Easter Sunday after a long illness, was one of Britain’s most successful drivers in sports car and Formula 1 competition.

***Aston Martin described its former driver Moss as “legendary sportsman and gentleman” while Maserati paid tribute to “an audacious, devoted, skilful, and fierce” competitor. IMSA also offered its condolences, sharing a memory of Moss winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1954.

***Australian GT has moved to allow invitational entries in the Australian GT Trophy Series, including the Australian-made MARC Cars. The series is now open to GT3 cars of model years earlier than 2016, one make GT production sports cars, and invitational cars, including Motorsport Australia-designated Group 2B Prodsports.

***ROWE Racing is yet to communicate its racing plans this year but the team, which is run by Motorsport Competence Group in western Germany, released a teaser image of its BMW M6 GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3 R last week, suggesting it still plans to run both models.

***The world of sim racing continued to provide entertainment and competition during the current real-world motorsport dry spell over the Easter weekend. 2018 Super GT champion Jenson Button claimed victory in the latest Legends Trophy race at Sebring, ahead of reigning IMSA DPi champion Juan Pablo Montoya and former Ford WEC driver Andy Priaulx.

***The first round of the SRO GT Rivals Esports Invitational also took place, with Bryan Heitkotter taking the win on a virtual version of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

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

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