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Weekly Racing Roundup (7.20.20)

Reports from Le Mans Cup at Paul Ricard and GT Masters testing, plus news and notes…

Photo: Le Mans Cup

DKR Engineering Wins Le Mans Cup Opener

Reigning champion team DKR Engineering got its Michelin Le Mans Cup title defense off to a perfect start by winning the first two-hour race of the season at Paul Ricard.

2019 drivers’ champion Laurents Hoerr and his new co-driver Jean Glorieux came out on top in their No. 3 Duqueine M30/D08 Nissan after benefiting from a late problem for the leading Cool Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

Ben Barnicoat was on course to earn his and his teammate Maurice Smith’s first series win until a damaged tire reduced their car to a crawl in the final minute.

This enabled Hoerr to come through and take the checkered flag, while Motorsport98’s Ligier of Eric de Doncker and Dino Lunardi finished second as Barnicoat faded to fifth.

Rinaldi Racing’s Daniel Keilwitz took the lead at the start and led through the opening stint, which included a safety car for a two-car LMP3 collision at the final corner.

Keilwitz then dropped down the order after being handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the start in his Duqueine.

This gave the lead to Glorieux, although the Frenchman also hit a snag when he spun whilst under pressure from Graff’s Rory Penttinen, before recovering and swapping for Hoerr who emerged from the final round of pit stops in second behind Barnicoat.

Penttinen and Matthias Kaiser completed the podium behind the DKR and Motorsport98 entries, after benefiting from a 30-second time penalty for the MV2S Racing Ligier which finished third on the road but failed to meet its mandatory pit stop requirements.

Giacomo Piccini and Rino Mastronardi won the GT3 class for Iron Lynx as Ferrari 488 GT3 Evos swept the top five places.

RESULTS: MLMC Paul Ricard

Photo: Gruppe C/GT Masters

Marciello Quickest in GT Masters Testing

Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driver Raffaele Marciello set the fastest lap during last weekend’s two-day official ADAC GT Masters pre-season test at the Lausitzring.

The 2018 GT World Challenge Europe overall champion, who is driving with Philip Ellis at HTP-Winward Motorsport this season, topped the leaderboard with a time of 1:22.330 set on Sunday afternoon during the fourth session out of five.

Second-quickest was reigning’ champion Kelvin van der Linde in his HCB-Rutronik Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, while Sven Mueller was third for Porsche outfit Herberth Motorsport.

These drivers all set their best times on Sunday, while the fastest lap on day one came from Audi ace Dries Vanthoor, who clocked in at 1:22.579.

The 29 cars that took part in the test completed around 4,300 laps in total, equating to almost 15,000 km.

GT Masters is now set for its season-opening round at the Lausitzring on Aug. 1-2, while some of the last driver lineup confirmations were made last week.

Team WRT announced its full set of driver pairings for the decorated GT3 squad’s debut in the series.

Audi’s lastest factory driver signing Mirko Bortolotti will partner Rolf Ineichen, while Vanthoor and series rookie Charles Weerts will share the sister Audi R8.

Additionally, Aust Motorsport announced that Rahel Frey will partner Hendrik von Danwitz in one of the team’s Audis.

RESULTS: Session 1 / Session 2 / Session 3 / Session 4 / Session 5

Photo: Italian GT

Return to Racing Updates

***A winning margin of just 0.026 seconds was clocked in the three-hour Italian GT season-opener at Mugello. Mattia Drudi, Riccardo Agostini and Daniel Mancinelli came out on top in their Audi R8 after a thrilling battle with the BMW M6 GT3 of Alexander Sims, Marius Zug and Stefano Comandini. Drudi narrowly held sway over Formula E star Sims in the photo finish. (Results)

***Andrea Dromedari and the duo of Valentin Simonet and Alexandre Yvon shared out the prototype wins at Paul Ricard as the Ligier European Series held its inaugural meeting. Cool Racing driver Sebastien Baud triumphed twice in the sub-class for Ligier JS2 Rs.

***Thomas Neubauer scooped both victories in the second Ferrari Challenge Europe round of the year at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Emanuele Maria Tabacchi twice finished second to Neubauer to maintain his lead in the Trofeo Pirelli standings.

***Dylan Pereira claimed his second consecutive Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup victory at the Hungaroring. Ayhancan Guven and Larry ten Voorde completed the top three.

***Goodwood will hold a new motorsport event on Oct. 16-18, featuring standard races, rallying and a single-lap timed shootout. The Goodwood Speedweek, which is making up for the canceled Festival of Speed and Revival Meeting, will include modern cars in competition at the historic circuit for the first time. Trackside spectators won’t be allowed, but the event will be broadcast.

Photo: Ferrari

Other News & Notes

***Ferrari GT3 squad Octane 126 has launched an appeal following its post-race disqualification from round three of the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie which cost it a maiden victory in the series. In a statement, the Swiss team said the penalty for using a non-compliant left-rear Goodyear tire was “strictly rejected by all parties” and that it would seek to overturn the decision.

***The second-gen LMP3 cars competing in the Le Mans Cup and ELMS races at Paul Ricard were given additional mandated pit stops after the emergence of a “fuel consumption problem” that prevented them from completing their expected stint lengths. ORECA, which supplies the spec Nissan V8 LMP3 engines, informed the series organizer of the issue during the race weekend.

***In a statement, the ELMS publicly put a request to Oreca to rectify the problem and avoid the need for an additional pit stop rule at the 4 Hours of Spa next month.

***WRT has confirmed that Harrison Newey will replace the previously-announced Ed Jones in its DTM lineup. Newey will make his series debut, driving an Audi RS5 Turbo for the privateer squad that is also fielding Ferdinand Habsburg and Fabio Scherer.

***The new Toyota GR Supra GT4 will appear in the inaugural season of DTM Trophy. Ring Racing, which gave the car its global debut in June’s NLS opener, has yet to confirm its driver for the DTM’s new support series.

***SRO America will move ahead with its Sonoma weekend on Aug. 7-9, despite initial doubt whether the event would be run amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in California. A bulletin was sent to teams last week confirming that hotel room reservations are being honored and local restaurants are working on outdoor and to-go options for series’ competitors.

***Prominent GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS team Garage 59 will make its Nürburgring 24 debut in September, with an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Darren Turner, Chris Goodwin, Alexander West and another driver. It will also enter NLS round four.

***Bentley GT3 customer JRM has withdrawn its British GT Championship entry. Last year’s GT4 Pro-Am champions Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher were due to step up to the top class for the new campaign. A team statement said the decision was made “in response to the current COVID-19 situation in the UK and across the globe and how the pandemic is taking its toll on people’s lives.”

***HHC Motorsport has completed its 2020 British GT lineup. Patrik Matthiesen and Jordan Collard will drive the team’s second McLaren 570S GT4, joining the previously confirmed Gus Bowers and Chris Wesemael.

***Century Motorsport is to run an extra BMW M4 GT4 in British GT this year for club racing outfit Team Tegiwa. Luke Sedzikowski and Dave Whitmore will drive in Am.

***Reece Barr has been named as the first member of the new JAS Motorsport Driver Development Program. The 19-year-old Irishman raced in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany last year and in TCR Europe the year before.

***22-year-old Christian Hahn will sub for Allam Khodair in Teo Martin Motorsport’s International GT Open lineup when Khodair is absent on Stock Car Brasil duty. It means that Hahn will share the No. 16 McLaren 720S GT3 with his father Marcelo at three events.

***The hospital treating Alex Zanardi issued a statement on July 16 confirming that it had started the process of bringing the Italian driver out of a medically-induced coma. Zanardi was involved in a hand cycling accident with a lorry last month, suffering serious head injuries.

***The winning entry from Revolution Race Cars’ livery design competition has been announced. This striking scheme will feature on a Revolution A-One prototype in the support race to the FIA World Endurance Championship Total 6 Hours of Spa.

***Toyota Gazoo Racing recently gave a young fan the chance to visit its European headquarters in Cologne after receiving photos of his impressive home-built LMP1 LEGO model.

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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