Hurley, Lawrence Take Trans Am Esports Wins at Road Atlanta
Josh Hurley claimed his second win of the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship on Sunday before Cameron Lawrence went on to become the series’ third winner in four races.
Hurley dominated Race 1 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta by leading every lap of the race from pole position, but the Jetco Racing driver had to defend from last week’s winner Tyler Kicera after letting off the accelerator to prevent overdriving his Corvette C7.R GTLM.
After running side-by-side for six turns, Kicera finally fell behind when he went into the grass, allowing Hurley to continue relatively unchallenged and finish the race 2.5 seconds clear of Kicera.
Later in the day, Lawrence won Race 2 by the smallest margin seen so far in Trans Am esports competition: 0.584 seconds.
Kicera launched a similar attack on Lawrence as he had on Hurley in Race 1 but went off track at the same part of the track, allowing Lawrence to out-break him and take the lead to the line.
With Kicera second in both races, Ernie Francis Jr. completed the podium on both occasions.
COVID-19 News & Notes
***ADAC GT Masters has pledged to avoid a clash between its season finale and the Total 24 Hours of Spa on Oct. 23-25. “We are already in talks with the SRO and will align the ADAC GT Masters calendar to avoid the date clash,” a statement released last week read.
***Creventic is understood to be rescheduling its Hankook 12 Hours of Spa, which was supposed to take place on Friday and Saturday ahead of the TCR Spa 500, which should have run from 6 p.m. on Saturday to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
***The 24H Series’ next scheduled round is the 24H Portimao on June 12-14, followed by the 12H Monza on July 10-11 and 24H Barcelona on Sept. 4-6. The status of these races is currently unknown.
***2014 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner Simon Dolan made headlines last week when he announced plans to launch a legal review of the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. His Jota Aviation company has delivered personal protective equipment to the NHS, but Dolan claims that the UK’s current lockdown measures are legally defective and disproportionate.
“The lockdown is telling us to stop living to avoid dying,” Dolan said. “To imprison people in their homes is an extremely dramatic decision to make. It is unprecedented and it would have been a brave Boris [Johnson, UK Prime Minister] to say ‘no, we are not going to do that’, but it has gone on too long now, and we need to lift it or loosen it.”
Esports News & Notes
***Nico Mueller and sim racer Brodie Steen won the two opening rounds of the DTM esports Classic Challenge on Sunday. The pair of 20-minute races featured 1992-era cars racing on Zolder, with a field including current drivers from DTM and other series, DTM legends, and sim racers. The series will use different era cars on each race day.
***Karl Kaschube made a dramatic last-corner pass on Laurin Heinrich to claim victory in last weekend’s Digital Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie race. The sister BMW Z4 GT3s were side-by-side heading down the Döttinger Höhe straight for the final time before Heinrich jumped across the grass at the Hohenrain chicane and hitting Kaschube. Despite this, Kaschube was held up the least and went on to take the checkered flag first.
***Kaschube shared the win with BMW works driver Bruno Spengler and Nils Koch, while Heinrich recovered from the race-deciding incident to finish second, 0.9 seconds ahead of the Alex Arana/Agustin Canapino Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. Watch the race replay here.
***2018 Super GT champion Jenson Button claimed victory in the first of two Legends Trophy esports races held at the Nürburgring. Button won Race 1 from IMSA stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Jan Magnussen, while 2003 World Rally champion Petter Solberg triumphed in Race 2.
***Aston Martin Racing has founded its own esports team for the All-Star Series and Legends Trophy events, fielding three factory drivers in the former and one in the latter. AMR president David King said the new venture would enable Aston to “take our first steps into the esports universe”.
Other News & Notes
***Jackson Motorsports Group, which services and supports Michelin North America’s operational, marketing and public relations initiatives in IMSA, produced a video (above) that highlights the anticipation of racing resuming soon.
***AF Racing Holding Group, the company behind R-Motorsport, has signed Thomas Mayer as its new CEO. Mayer took the position on May 1, and has previous experience with high-level roles at Lotus, Renault and Manor Formula 1 teams, at Bombardier and Solaris, and start-ups Ecotive and Bristol Superlight.
***Dr. Florian Kamelger remains team principal of R-Motorsport but he and Dr. Andreas Baenziger will cede day-to-day operational duties to Mayer.
***GDS (Groupe de developpement sportif) has been appointed as the FIA’s new National Sporting Authority (ASN) in Canada. The group is led by Canadian Grand Prix promoter Francois Dumontier, while long-time Corvette driver Ron Fellows is Vice President.
***BMW works driver Jens Klingmann will partner ADAC GT4 Germany standout Marius Zug in MRS GT Racing’s BMW M6 GT3 for the upcoming GT Masters season.
***Revere Lifestyle has taken delivery of its ADESS-03 LMP3 chassis in Sydney. The team plans to enter the rare car in LMP3 Cup Australia, which is now slated to get underway at Phillip Island on Aug. 21-23.
***Continuing its series of classic race replays, SRO Motorsports Group streamed the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series (now GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS) round from Navarra on Sunday afternoon. The series was supposed to race at Brands Hatch last weekend and would have been heading to Silverstone this weekend.
***Speaking to Endurance-Info, Stephane Ratel hinted that he’s ‘tempted’ by the idea that the Total 24 Hours could run for 25 hours, as the clocks will be turned back one hour to end Daylight Savings Time during the race. “We’ll think about it. You can have a 24-hour race or a [green flag] at 3 p.m. for a finish at 3 p.m. I admit that the idea tempts me,” the SRO founder and CEO said.
***Hurley Haywood celebrates his 72nd birthday today. With five victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Haywood is considered the winningest driver in endurance sports car racing history.
***Aston Martin junior Jamie Chadwick is doing a sponsored 100-mile indoor cycle ride today, to raise money for mobile chemotherapy supply charity Hope for Tomorrow.
***The Alpine Elf Europa Cup has adjusted its calendar and will now support the French FFSA GT Championship at three events. Subject to change, the Alpine series is set to race at Nogaro, Paul Ricard and Magny-Cours, as well as the ELMS 4 Hours of Portimao.
Daniel Lloyd & John Dagys contributed to this report