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Weekly Racing Roundup (7.13.20)

Report from TC America at VIR, plus Le Mans Cup entry list news and other updates…

Photo: Regis Lefebure/SRO America

Maxson Sweeps Weekend in TC America’s Return at VIR

Tyler Maxson continued his undefeated run in TC America this year by sweeping the weekend in the series’ return at Virginia International Raceway.

The Copeland Motorsports driver took his No. 74 Hyundai Veloster N TCR to wins in all three TCR races, giving the 15-year-old his fifth consecutive victory in SRO America competition.

Maxson finished 8.214 seconds ahead of the No. 17 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR of Scott Smithson in Race 1, while beating the Honda TCR of Victor Gonzalez Jr. in Race 2, which ended under a full course yellow. 

Sunday’s third round, which served as a make-up race for the canceled event at Lime Rock Park, also ended under caution following a heavy accident for a TCR car.

While Johan Schwartz claimed victories in the first two TC races of the weekend, it was Toby Grahovec who emerged victorious on Sunday, thanks to a daring three-wide pass for the lead in his No. 26 Classic BMW M240iR Cup car.

TCA class honors, meanwhile, went to the MINI JCW Team duo of Tomas Meija (Race 1) and Mark Pombo (Race 2), with the Copeland Hyundai Veloster Turbo of Tyler Gonzalez taking top class honors on Sunday.

RESULTS: Race 1 /Race 2 / Race 3

Photo: MPS Agency

Le Mans Cup Gets 26 Entries for Season-Opener

A total of 26 cars will contest this weekend’s Michelin Le Mans Cup curtain-raiser which is supporting the European Le Mans Series opening round at Paul Ricard.

The entry list for the two-hour race includes 17 cars in the top LMP3 category, featuring the debut of the 2020-spec generation of prototypes, as well as nine GT3 runners.

Reigning drivers’ champion Laurents Hoerr returns to the No. 3 DKR Engineering lineup but will share the team’s new Duqueine D08 Nissan with a new co-driver in Jean Glorieux.

Duqueines will be operated by eight crews including Nielsen Racing, Mülhner Motorsport and GT squad Rinaldi Racing which is venturing into prototype competition this year.

There are nine Ligier JS P320 Nissans listed, including two-car efforts for CD Sport and FIA World Endurance Championship squads Cool Racing and United Autosports.

All but two of the cars in the GT3 field are examples of the new Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.

Iron Lynx and Kessel Racing have entered three Ferraris each while Spirit of Race is represented by a single car.

The interlopers are a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Nicolas Leutwiler and 2018 Le Mans class winner Julien Andlauer, and a Mercedes-AMG run by ELMS champion squad IDEC Sport.

Photo: NLS

Return to Racing Updates

***Nordschleife veteran Volker Strycek made history in Saturday’s NLS race, breaking the record for class wins in the championship. Strycek chalked up his 132nd victory driving the only car in the Opel Astra OPC Cup class with his children Lena and Robin. Previous record-holder Johannes Scheid was on hand to congratulate him after the checkered flag.

***Tristan Herbert, Audi Sport customer racing America’s motorsports manager, made his racing return over the VIR SRO America weekend at the wheel of New German Performance’s Audi RS 3 LMS TCR, finishing third in Race 1 of the triple-header.

***Super GT has released the entry list for this weekend’s belated season-opener at Fuji. Reigning series champion Kenta Yamashita will replace Heikki Kovalainen at SARD/Toyota due to the Finn encountering travel restrictions from Europe to Japan. Bertrand Baguette, on the other hand, successfully made it over from Europe and will take up his seat with Honda team Keihin Real Racing.

***Preparations for the start of the DTM season continued with a test at Spa last week. Audi and BMW both fielded cars, but current championship drivers weren’t allowed to take part. This rule enabled BMW’s Augusto Farfus to get back behind the wheel of a DTM car the first time since leaving the series for GT racing last year.

***Having only recently published its updated calendar, Australian GT has been forced to delay its restart by three weeks to negate the current coronavirus lockdown in Victoria. The Sydney Motorsports Park weekend is now set for Sept. 4-6.

***The GT4 South European Series has pushed its sophomore season into the winter, as confirmed in the latest calendar update. Jerez will host round one on Oct. 17-18 while Jarama follows two weeks later. Rounds three and four will both be held at Portimao, with one event on Dec. 5-6 and the finale taking place on Jan. 23-24 next year.

***Dylan Pereira moved into the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup points lead with victory in the second round of the season at the Red Bull Ring. The Lechner Racing driver finished ahead of Porsche junior Ayhancan Guven and Team GP Elite’s Larry ten Voorde.

Image: Optimum Motorsport

GT Racing News

***Optimum Motorsport will run two McLaren 720S GT3s in International GT Open. One car will be driven by Nick Moss and James Pickford, while the other pairing is yet to be confirmed. Optimum ran an Audi in the series in 2018 and Aston Martins last year.

***The British squad has also confirmed an additional McLaren 720S for British GT, to be driven by the Silver Cup duo of Ollie Wilkinson and Lewis Proctor.

***Barwell Motorsport has adjusted its driver lineups for GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup. Patrick Kujala replaces Jordan Witt in the team’s Silver-class Lamborghini, while Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell move into the sister Huracan GT3 Evo – which has shifted from Am Cup to Pro-Am – alongside Leo Machitski.

***Bentley factory driver Jordan Pepper will contest his first ADAC GT Masters season in four years with new Continental GT3 customer T3 Motorsport, partnering Constantin Schöll.

***Henrique Chaves will return to Teo Martin Motorsport for a second GT Open season with the McLaren outfit. The 23-year-old, who finished third in the 2019 points standings, will partner Miguel Ramos who joins Teo Martin from SPS Automotive Performance.

***HTP-Winward Motorsport has confirmed its graduation from GT Open’s Am class to the Pro-Am division. Reigning GTWC Europe Silver Cup champion Nico Bastian and Bronze-rated Markus Sattler will drive the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

***KTM will be represented in the inaugural DTM Trophy season through Teichmann Racing, which is fielding an X-BOW GT4 for Kevin Strohschank.

***Breitmotion has also entered the new DTM support series and will run a Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Jan Philipp Springob.

***GT4 Europe entrant NM Racing has switched to Mercedes machinery from Ginetta for the upcoming season. Spaniards Lluc Ibanez and Xavier Lloveras will drive in Silver Cup.

***24 Hours of Le Mans participant Ebimotors has confirmed that it will run a new Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Italian GT Championship’s sprint races this year. Gunther Blieninger and Luca Riccitelli are the drivers.

Photo: Ligier Automotive

Other News & Notes

***Ligier Automotive has named Nicolas Monetil as its new technical director. Monteil previously worked as a composite engineer on the Peugeot and Porsche LMP1 programs.

***Greensall Motorsport, the team co-run by Le Mans TVR Tuscan driver Nigel Greensall, has joined the Sports Prototype Cup. It is one of two teams to have recently committed to the new Revolution A-One prototype, alongside BTCC squad Excelr8 Motorsport which has signed on as a build partner.

***BMW has launched a competition for sim racing livery designers to come up with a new scheme for a car competing in the real-world DTM Trophy series. More details can be found here.

***Last week the Automobile Club de l’Ouest opened its first hydrogen filling station at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The station, which is located near the aerodrome opposite the track entrance, will first cater to Le Mans city buses before opening to trucks and other vehicles later.

***Total 24 Hours of Spa winner GPX Racing has launched its own esports team. The eGPX squad will enter sim racing events and develop young driving talent. It was founded off the back of Louis Deletraz’s SRO E-Sport GT Series title in a GPX-liveried Porsche.

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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