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Weekly Racing Roundup (6.22.20)

Reports from NLS testing and Trans Am Esports decider plus other news and notes…

Photo: Porsche

NLS Teams Go Testing on the Nordschleife

Around 70 cars took part in the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie official test held last week in preparation for the championship’s season-opener on June 27.

Manthey Racing, Phoenix Racing, Falken Motorsports, ROWE Racing, Walkenhorst Motorsport, Frikadelli Racing and Black Falcon were among the teams to set GT3 cars out on track for the championship’s first collective running since the coronavirus pandemic.

Drivers were able to turn laps in varying conditions as early morning rainfall made for a damp circuit before the picture cleared later in the day.

The test also enabled the NLS to analyze some of its hygiene measures that will be in place during the season, although the new in-paddock pit lane system was not trialed.

“It was a good test in many ways,” said Christian Stephani, managing director of the VLN organization that runs the NLS.

“We received positive feedback from the drivers and teams. Many processes were comparable to those of the racing events. We can now say that our season-opening plans will work in these areas.”

Lamborghini also held a group test for four of its teams – Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, Emil Frey Racing, Vincenzo Sospiri Racing and Imperiale Racing – at Imola last week.

The two-day session helped the teams prepare for their respective seasons, and gave GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup entrants FFF and Emil Frey the chance to collect data on the track that will host the season-opener next month.

Image: Trans Am

Hurley Clinches Trans Am Esports Title

Josh Hurley earned the inaugural Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship title and a $20,000 prize after scoring a double podium in last weekend’s season finale.

Hurley entered the Silverstone round behind his season-long rival Tyler Kicera in the points, but managed to level the scores heading into Race 1 by finishing top of qualifying.

The championship momentum then swung in Hurley’s direction when he claimed a dominant victory in the opening race, while Kicera finished fourth behind second-placed Carl Rydquist and Edward Sevadjian in third.

This set Kicera on the back foot for Race 2 – the final contest of the season – but the Howe Racing driver had the slight advantage of being in front of  Hurley on the reverse grid.

Kicera, whose car was carrying 40 kg of success ballast, managed to outrun Hurley but couldn’t find a way past leader Dylan Archer despite the pair touching several times.

Archer held on to take the win while Kicera finished second, but it was Hurley who clinched the top prize by taking third to win the championship by 454 points to 444.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2
Championship Standings

Photo: Jayson Fong/GRRC

Calendar Updates

***This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival historic meeting have been canceled. The Festival hill climb had already been postponed from its July date, while the Revival was due to take place in September. Purchased tickets will remain valid for the 2021 editions.

***The updated Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup schedule will see the single-make championship support Formula 1 in Austria, Hungary, the UK, Spain, Belgium and Italy. This includes consecutive race weekends at the Red Bull Ring, where the season will start, and Silverstone.

***While the Australian GT Championship has yet to announce its revised calendar, the series has confirmed that Sydney Motorsport Park will hold the opening round.

***The timetable for the 24 Hours of Le Mans support races has been adjusted, in line with the condensing of the main event’s schedule on the weekend of Sept. 19-20.

***The first Road to Le Mans LMP3/GT3 race will now be held on the Friday rather than the Thursday, while Race 2 will remain on Saturday morning prior to the start of the 24 Hours. There will be two hours of Free Practice on Thursday, ahead of two lots of qualifying and the first of two 55-minute races starting at 2:15 p.m. CEST. Race 2 will begin at 11:30 a.m. CEST on Saturday.

***The Porsche Carrera Cup support race will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9:15 a.m. CEST with qualifying taking place the evening before.

Image: T3 Motorsport

Other News & Notes

***Bentley will be represented in ADAC GT Masters for the first time since 2016 after T3 Motorsport confirmed plans to enter a single Continental GT3 in 2020. The team initially filed for two Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos but will now operate the Bentley and one Audi instead. 21-year-old Austrian Constantin Scholl is the first driver named for the Bentley effort.

***GT Masters squad Aust Motorsport has signed Hendrick von Danwitz to drive one of its Audis. Von Danwitz’s co-driver has yet to be announced, while Nicolaj Rogivue and Maximilian Hacklander have already been named in the team’s other R8.

***Christian England said it was “absolutely mega” to return to the wheel of a racing car for the first time since a major accident in the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Portimao last October that resulted in surgery to save his right leg, ankle and foot. England shook down a Ligier LMP3 car at an airfield – watch the video here.

***The new Don Panoz footbridge at the Circuit de la Sarthe has been completed, along with a series of improvement works at Mulsanne corner. Endurance-info was on-site recently to capture photographs of the developments.

***The Brumos Collection has launched a new monthly series of Facebook/Instagram Live interviews and museum tours with prominent members of the international motorsport and collector car worlds. The first episode of ‘Inside the 59’ will air at 12 p.m. EST on June 25 and will feature triple Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood.

***Ryan Simpson will drive his own Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Australian GT this year, having campaigned a McLaren 720S GT3 in 2019. The Mercedes was previously owned and raced by Mark Griffith, who drove it to second in one of last season’s races at Sandown.

***After Speedworks Motorsport received its new Toyota GR Supra GT4 two weeks ago, French squad CMR also took delivery of its two cars and gave them a maiden run-out Paul Ricard. The team’s Supra lineups for FFSA GT are Antoine Potty/Timothe Buret and Gael Castelli/Stephane Lemeret.

***Twins Alesia and Jacqueline Kreutzpointner, the daughters of Michael Schumacher’s 1991 Le Mans co-driver Fritz Kreutzpointner, will share an MRS-GT Racing BMW M4 GT4 in ADAC GT4 Germany this year.

***Leipert Motorsport has named its three drivers for the inaugural DTM Trophy season. Fidel Leib, Jan Kisiel and Marc de Fulgencio will each pilot a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the single-driver series.

***Racing sim Assetto Corsa Competizione is to be released on console platforms tomorrow. The game, which has hosted SRO’s esports series during the pandemic, will be available on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

***Team Redline won the iRacing virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans held last weekend with its Audi R18 driven by Dominik Farber, Tom Michelmore, Patrick Wolf and Matt Farrow.

***A total of €21,500 ($24,000) was raised for HRS Princess Charlene of Monaco’s foundation during the ACO-organized virtual 24H Le Mans held two weeks ago. The donations will be used to support medical research in the fight against COVID-19.

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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