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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (4.26.21)

Reports from 12H Paul Ricard, GT Masters and GT Open testing plus news and notes…

Photo: Petr Fryba/Creventic

Herberth Porsche Wins 12H Paul Ricard 

Precote Herberth Motorsport claimed its second 24H Series victory of the season in the 12 Hours of Paul Ricard which was held in two parts over the weeekend.

Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer, Daniel Allemann and Ralf Bohn backed up their 12H Mugello win from last month by achieving a repeat result in the south of France with their Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The German quartet came out best from an early battle with the Middlecap Racing Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Josef Kral, Miroslav Vyboh and Matus Vyboh.

Herberth’s Porsche finished one lap ahead of its closest rival, while a further three laps separated the white and blue Ferrari from the third-placed Rutronik Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo driven by Pierre Kaffer, Elia Erhart, Michael Doppelmayr and Swen Herberger.

Car Collection Motorsport’s Audi placed fourth after an entertaining duel in the early stages with the Reiter Engineering KTM X-Bow GTX.

Despite winning with its No. 91 car, Herberth experienced an early retirement for its No. 92 sister machine after a collision on the opening lap that also forced the Kessel Racing Ferrari out of the race.

MP Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 was also involved in the incident but managed to recover to place 11th overall, behind the top two cars in the TCE touring car category.

RESULTS: 12H Paul Ricard

Photo: GT Masters

 GT3 Teams Gather for Pre-Season Testing

ADAC GT Masters and International GT Open both held their official pre-season tests last week, as Oschersleben and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya respectively.

Over in Germany, Thomas Preining set the fastest lap in the KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 R that he is sharing with reigning champion Christian Engelhart. 

Preining posted his best time in the fifth and final session, narrowly beating Zakspeed Mercedes-AMG driver Jules Gounon to the top spot by just 0.011 seconds.

“I have settled in well in the new team and I have also coordinated better and better with Christian,” said Preining. “We used the test perfectly to find a setup that suits both of us. The car is running great, now I’m looking forward to the race weekend.”

Dries Vanthoor was third-quickest for Team WRT with a time of 1:23.983 that came in the first of three sessions held on Wednesday.

The first day on Tuesday consisted of two sessions that were led by reigning champion Michael Ammermueller in the SSR Performance Porsche.

Over at Barcelona, Loris Spinelli posted the best time of the GT Open test behind the wheel of AKM Antonelli Motorsport’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The Italian submitted a 1.42.595 flyer at the end of the second and final day to lead outright.

Three of the five sessions on day two were led by a guesting Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, while Frederik Schandorff and Michele Beretta’s Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo led day one.

Photo: Schaeffler Paravan

***Gary Paffett’s Muecke Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo will contest the DTM with Schaeffler Paravan’s ‘Space Drive’ steer-by-wire system, which lacks a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and rack. The technology has been trialled in recent seasons of the GTC Race series. Paffett sampled Space Drive during last month’s official DTM pre-season test.

***A total of 21 entries are on the provisional list for season two of the DTM Trophy. It includes teams running GT4-based machinery from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, KTM, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche. BMW is the best-represented marque with nine M4s.

***Mathieu Jaminet will return to ADAC GT Masters, driving for last year’s title-winning Porsche squad SSR Performance. The 2018 series champion will team up with defending champion Michael Ammermueller.

***Team Rocket RJN has added a third McLaren 570S GT4 entry to its Intelligent Money British GT Championship stable. James Kell and 2020 class runner-up Jordan Collard will team up in addition to RJN’s previously announced pair of GT4 entries that form part of the McLaren Driver Development Programme.

***Balfe Motorsport has also announced a McLaren GT4 entry for British GT. Jack Brown and Ashley Marshall will drive.

***Former LMP1 driver Mathias Beche is driving a Ligier JS P320 Nissan in the Ultimate Cup Series this year. The entry for Mirage Racing is an early phase in the team’s plan to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023 in partnership with Vaillant.

Photo: Absolute Racing

***Sandy Stuvik will pursue his third consecutive Thailand Super Series title in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo run by B-Quik Absolute Racing. The Audi Sport Asia official driver will team up with Philip Massoud after winning the 2020 title alongside Daniel Bilski.

***Absolute has also announced a Porsche 911 GT3 R entry for the China GT Championship. Reigning Macau GT Cup winner Ye Hongli and Bian Ye form the Pro-Am pairing.

***FAW-VW Audi Racing Team has also announced a China GT entry that will be run by Absolute. Cheng Congfu and Anthony Liu will drive the team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

***The British GT Esports Championship concluded on Sunday with an Assetto Corsa Competizione race at Donington that was won by Angus Fender in a BMW M6 GT3. James Baldwin had already wrapped up the GT3 title and did not participate in the season finale. Sim racer Nils Naujoks clinched the GT4 title by taking victory in a 19-car class field.

***1979 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and former IMSA driver Bill Whittington was killed in a plane crash in Arizona last week according to multiple reports. Whittington, 71, and brother Don had spent time in prison after being convicted of drug smuggling and other charges. 

***Former American Le Mans Series champion Scott Tucker has won his appeal against the Federal Trade Commission that will not see the former Level 5 Motorsports team owner pay $1.3 billion in restitution to borrowers of Tucker’s payday lending businesses. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sided with Tucker, who remains in prison on separate criminal charges from a 2017 case.

***Longtime PFC brake employee Darrick Dong passed away last week after an illness. Dong had been a regular in North American sports car racing paddocks for more than 20 years. 

On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (Spa), Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, GT America (all COTA), Super GT (Fuji), NLS (Round 3)

John Dagys contributed to this report.

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

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