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Weekly Racing Roundup (4.5.21)

Updates from the past week including French GT action, GT Masters lineups and more…

Photo: FFSA GT

***Rodolphe Wallgren and Gael Castelli won Sunday’s FFSA French GT season-opener at Nogaro sharing a Mirage Racing Alpine A110 GT4. The Pro-Am pair triumphed outright after a mechanical issue forced Alain Ferte and Gregoire Demoustiere’s pole-sitting Alpine to retire. AKKA-ASP’s Timothe Buret and Paul Evrard won Silver Cup class and took second outright. The second race of the Easter Cup meeting takes place today.

***Nogaro race one-winning team Mirage has announced a GT4 European Series entry, marking its debut in the competition. The French squad is running an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Ruben del Sarte and 2019 AMR Driver Academy graduate Tom Canning.

***This announcement adds to GT4 Europe’s publication last week of an improved 37-car full-season entry for 2021, after fewer than 20 cars contested last year’s coronavirus-hit campaign. Nine brands are represented while AKKA-ASP, United Autosports, Sainteloc Racing and defending champion AGS Events are among the committed teams. The Monza opener is set to yield a grid north of 40 cars with additional entries joining.

***Automotive service provider AVL will direct the DTM’s balance of performance system for the series’ first season under FIA GT3 rules. AVL’s racing department will use Vehicle Simulation Model software to analyze and manage car performance from the different manufacturers. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari and McLaren are currently involved. The DTM is holding a pre-season test at Hockenheim on Wednesday and Thursday.

***Mercedes-AMG already has several entries confirmed for the revamped DTM, but last week the manufacturer’s first 2021 DTM Trophy entry was announced. Customer team CV Performance Group will run a Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Finland’s Matias Salonen.

Image: Phoenix Racing

***Phoenix Racing is returning to ADAC GT Masters after two seasons out. The 24 Hours of Spa and Nürburgring 24 winner will field an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for 2019 champion Patric Niederhauser and Jusuf Owega, who drove for Team WRT in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup last year.

***19-year-old GT4 ace Luca-Sandro Trefz will graduate to GT3 competition in GT Masters, sharing a Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with 24H Spa and Nürburgring 24 winner Christopher Haase. Trefz finished third in ADAC GT4 Germany last year and is also a GT4 European Series class champion.

***The Audi that Trefz and Haase will drive is sporting a Mann-Filter livery, marking the first time that the German automotive filter supplier has supported cars from two different manufacturers. Mann-Filter is best known for its backing of HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG entries, and will continue to sponsor the HTP/Winward Racing squad.

***Reigning GTWC Europe Sprint Cup champions Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts will continue to share a Team WRT Audi in GT Masters. Their first campaign together in the German series last year heralded a victory at the Lausitzring.

***Bulgarian team Overdrive Racing has joined ADAC GT4 Germany with two Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsports. Young drivers Pavel Lefterov and Stefan Bostandjiev will share one car, while former Schuetz Motorsport BMW pair Tano Neumann and Joachim Boelting form the other duo.

***Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport has committed to DTM Trophy with three BMW M4 GT4s. Michael Schrey, Christopher Rink and Philipp Stahlschmidt will drive for the team which is best-known for its endurance exploits at the Nürburgring and in the 24H Series.

Photo: TS Corse

***Italian outfit TS Corse will step up to Michelin Le Mans Cup competition this year after a season in the Ultimate Cup Series. Team owner Pietro Peccenini and Irish national-level F3 racer Cian Carey will share the team’s Duqueine D08 Nissan in LMP3.

***Villorba Corse has completed its European Le Mans Series LMP3 driver lineup with the signing of Damiano Fioravanti. The Italian racer, who drove for Oregon Team in 2019, is returning to ELMS after a year out. He will share Villorba Corse’s Ligier JS P320 Nissan with Andreas Laskaratos and Alessandro Bressan.

***Inter Europol Competition terminated one of its ELMS LMP3 entries after travel restrictions hampered the chances of getting an all-Brazilian crew to drive the No. 14 Ligier. The Polish squad, which has finished second in the LMP3 standings the last three years, is still running its No. 13 car. Ex-Formula Renault Eurocup racer Ugo de Wilde was recently announced alongside the returning Martin Hippe.

***BRDC British Formula 3 driver Josh Skelton will make his sports car racing debut this year, having been signed by Cool Racing to drive a Ligier LMP3 in Michelin Le Mans Cup. The 19-year-old will team up with French racer Antoine Doquin.

***David Perel has replaced Aaron Scott in the No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE Evo for ELMS and Le Mans. Perel, who won two races with Kessel Racing last year, will team up with Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin who had been Scott’s co-drivers since 2015.

Photo: JEP

***G-Cat Racing has entered its Porsche 911 GT3 R into the first three rounds of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, including the Silverstone 500. Its drivers Shamus Jennings and Greg Caton entered a handful of races in 2019.

***James Baldwin extended his British GT Esports Championship points lead with a second consecutive victory despite carrying the maximum weight ballast. McLaren GT3 driver Baldwin led a one-two for Team Rocket RJN, beating his teammate Michael O’Brien in round three held on Brands Hatch. Baldwin has a 28-point lead over Jody Fannin with two races to go. Results

***2015 ELMS LMP2 champion Jon Lancaster will drive for the new Greystone GT team which has added a third McLaren 570S GT4 to its domestic GT Cup program. Lancaster, who returned to the ELMS last year, is partnering with Rich Mason.

***Winward Racing’s DTM cars will run with primary support from REMUS Sport Exhaust (Lucas Auer) and KNAUS (Philip Ellis). The team is set to run its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos under U.S license, making it the first American entrant in the series.

***Clemens Schmid is set to complete Grasser Racing Team’s squad for Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup. Kikko Galbiati and Tim Zimmermann have already been named in the team’s Silver Cup Lamborghini entry.

***IGTC series manager Sophie Peyrat has left SRO Motorsports Group after a 14-year stint with the GT racing promoter. Peyrat had been in charge of the IGTC since its inaugural 2015 season and also served as the team relations manager for SRO’s top-line European GT competitions.

On this weekend: Super GT (Okayama)

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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