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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (5.16.22)

Report from Michelin Le Mans Cup at Imola plus other weekend racing action and news…

Photo: MPS Agency

Hydrogen Car Debuts as Smith, Jakobsen Win

The Mission H24 hydrogen-electric prototype made its race debut in Saturday’s Michelin Le Mans Cup round at Imola where Stephane Richelmi completed 38 laps in the LMP3-based machine.

After bouncing back from mechanical issues during practice, Richelmi qualified for the 110-minute race and reached the checkered flag in 32nd overall, making four refueling stops on the way.

The event served as a test in race conditions for the hydrogen fuel cell prototype, which took part in Le Mans Cup practice sessions last season.

“The first feeling is just a great achievement because we’re working a lot,” said Richelmi.

“So, we are pleased to be at the finish line, this was the first target obviously. Then, of course, we were looking for the pace and we know we’re missing some, but we are here to improve.

“It’s really important for us to be competing against the others in real racing, because we’re discovering things that we cannot understand by just doing some testing.”

At the head of the field, Maurice Smith and Malthe Jakobsen inherited victory for Cool Racing after benefiting from a penalty for on-the-road winners Adam Eteki and Fabien Michal.

After the fourth and final safety car of a hectic race, Mads Siljehaug led for Reiter Engineering but was overtaken by both Eteki and Jakobsen in their Ligier JS P320 Nissans.

Jakobsen managed to bring the gap down to two seconds, but CD Sport’s Eteki kept the Cool Racing driver at bay, only to be handed a 30-second time penalty for a track limits violation after crossing the line.

GMB Motorsport won the GT3 class with Jens Reno Moller and Gustav Birch sharing a Honda NSX GT3 Evo22.


Photo: Italian GT

Other Racing Action

***Vincenzo Sospiri Racing claimed a one-two result in the opening round of the Italian GT Endurance Championship at Enna-Pergusa. The team’s winning Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was driven by reigning Super Trofeo world champions Karol Basz and Mattia Michelotto, alongside Benjamin Hites. Results

***Lonni Martins and Sacha Bottemanne won the FFSA French GT night race at Magny-Cours from 17th on the grid in their Team Fullmotorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4. The second race went the way of Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG duo Patrice Evrard and Thomas Drouet. Race 1 / Race 2

***Ex-Formula 1 driver Adrian Sutil made his Ferrari Challenge debut last weekend and won the first of two Trofeo Pirelli races at Paul Ricard. The German racer then finished second to John Wartique in Race 2. It marked Sutil’s first race appearance since his last F1 spell with Force India in 2014.

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

News & Notes

***JP Motorsport will make an ADAC GT Masters cameo at the Red Bull Ring where Dennis Lind and Christian Klien will co-drive a McLaren 720S GT3. It is set to mark the first McLaren appearance in the German championship since 2014, when MRS GT-Racing fielded a McLaren MP4-12C full-time.

***Earl Bamber Motorsport has committed a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season, with team owner and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber involved in the driver lineup. Bamber will share one of the Porsches with Adrian D’Silva, while Setiawan Santoso and Reid Harker form the other pairing.

***A change to the GTWC America sporting regulations has required K-PAX Racing to split up its 2021 title-winning pairing of Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper. Starting at round two this weekend, a Silver-rated driver will be required in each Pro entry.

***K-PAX has reacted by moving Pepper to the No. 3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo alongside Misha Goikhberg. Caldarelli will stay in the No. 1 car but with Michele Beretta as his new co-driver. The adjustment to keep Pepper and Caldarelli onboard has shuffled Giacomo Altoe out of K-PAX’s No. 3 lineup for the rest of the season. Altoe replaces Beretta in the TR3 Pro-Am Lamborghini.

***Freddie Hunt, the racing driver son of 1976 Formula 1 world champion James Hunt, has signed a five-year deal with Reiter Engineering. The 34-year-old is already competing for the team in the Michelin Le Mans Cup LMP3 class, but there are hopes to run higher in the FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Reiter also develops KTM GTX and GT2 cars, with team boss Hans Reiter hinting that Hunt could also race those vehicles.

***Matt Campbell recently got the chance to drive the Rothmans-liveried Porsche 956 in which Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx won at Le Mans in 1982. Campbell shook the car down at Porsche’s Weissach test track. “Man I wish I was around in the 70s & 80s. For me the best era,” the Porsche factory driver tweeted.

On this weekend: DTM (Lausitzring), ADAC GT Masters, Fanatec GT2 European Series (Red Bull Ring), Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America (NOLA), Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS (Sepang), International GT Open (Paul Ricard)

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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