K-PAX Win Streak Broken at Watkins Glen
Lamborghini squad K-PAX Racing was beaten in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS competition for the first time this season as Pro-Am crews from Wright Motorsports and CrowdStrike Racing prevailed at Watkins Glen.
K-PAX was aiming to extend its victory streak after winning the first six rounds of the season, but its best result in upstate New York was seventh in Race 2 for Michele Beretta and points leader Andrea Caldarelli.
Wright’s Porsche pairing of Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck won a hectic opening race that was impacted by incidents and safety car periods.
Beretta led the opening stages from pole ahead of Turner Motorsport BMW driver Michael Dinan. Shortly after the third safety car restart, Dinan went across the grass at the Inner Loop as he tried to overtake the Italian which ended up with Russell Ward’s returning Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo sneaking into the lead.
Beretta was handed a 60-second stop-hold penalty for over-aggressively defending the position, causing K-PAX’s No. 1 Lamborghini to tumble down the order where it joined its No. 3 car, which had developed a mechanical issue.
At the head of the field, Winward’s Philip Ellis ran second behind US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG driver Loris Spinelli after the pit stops, while Heylen climbed several positions to be running third with 15 minutes to go.
Heylen then moved his and Luck’s Porsche into the lead when both Mercedes-AMGs ahead of him experienced trouble — a puncture for Winward and suspension failure for US Racetronics — paving the way for a Wright victory.
Colin Braun and George Kurtz won the second race in their Riley-prepared No. 04 Mercedes-AMG, as Ward and Ellis made it a one-two for the German manufacturer.
Spinelli led the first half-hour of racing ahead of Ellis, Ryan Dalziel and Braun and pitted under intense pressure from the Winward Mercedes-AMG with 45 minutes to go.
Winward moved into the lead during the pit cycle, with Ward enjoying a seven-second gap over Kurtz and Spinelli’s co-driver Steven Aghakhani down in third.
Ward’s victory looked certain until the Mercedes-AMG mysteriously slowed in the last couple of minutes, enabling Kurtz to easily sweep past and secure the overall win.
CarGuy, Triple Eight Take Fuji Honors
CarGuy Racing and Triple Eight JMR shared out the wins during the third round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season at Fuji Speedway.
Japan Cup leaders Kei Cozzolino and Takeshi Kimura took their second victory in as many weekends after their decisive strategy gamble paid off at Suzuka, while Nick Foster and Prince Jefri Ibrahim extended their overall GTWC Asia points lead in Race 2.
Bronze-rated Kimura took a surprise pole for the opening 60-minute contest in CarGuy’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 but dropped to fourth during the early exchanges.
Naoki Yokomizo took the lead in Yogibo Racing’s blue Ferrari and pitted at the earliest opportunity, while the cars in second and third waited until later in the window.
That call gave Yogibo an extended lead once Kiyoto Fujinami took the reins. CarGuy also pitted early, with Cozzolino emerging in third and overtaking Porsche driver Tanart Sathienthirakul before passing Fujinami for the lead within two laps of stepping in.
Cozzolino went on to win by 13.5 seconds as the Yogibo pair ensured a Ferrari one-two.
CarGuy also started the second race from pole and Cozzolino made a strong getaway, but knew he had a success penalty to serve in the pits.
Foster dropped from third to fifth on the opening lap but gained two places in one maneuver to put himself on the tail of Tomonobu Fujii and the leading Ferrari.
The Triple Eight JMR driver then advanced to second by out-braking Fujii’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 into Turn 1, and was six seconds behind Cozzolino when the pit window opened, ensuring his co-driver Ibrahim would become the leader due to the success penalty.
Ibrahim capably took victory by 7.8 seconds from Porsche Center Okazaki’s Hiroaki Nagai and Yuta Kamimura, with Cozzolino and Kimura completing the podium.
Fox McLaren Takes Provisional Spa Win
Jamie Stanley and Nick Halstead finished first in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s annual overseas round at Spa-Francorchamps, although their victory remains provisional due to an appeal.
The Fox Motorsport McLaren duo took the checkered flag around five seconds clear of James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson’s 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG.
But the result will only be confirmed after a hearing from the National Court in relation to a penalty that the Fox car picked up for non-compliance with the Balance of Performance.
Halstead started the two-hour race from second on the grid, alongside pole-sitter Adam Balon, but was overtaken by Cottingham exiting La Source.
Graham Davidson initially climbed into the lead but his Paddock Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 was handed a drive-through penalty for tipping around Morgan Tillbrook’s Enduro Motorsport McLaren at Bus Stop on his way through the field.
Both Cottingham and Halstead found ways past leader Balon, before the Fox Motorsport driver overtook the red and yellow 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG into Eau Rouge for first.
Stanley stepped aboard the No. 40 McLaren with six seconds in hand to Williamson, who was unable to make any significant inroads that could have led to a response.
It provisionally marked the first overall win for Fox Motorsport in British GT.
RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie maintained his championship lead by finishing third alongside Jules Gounon. GT4 honors at Spa went to R Racing’s Josh Miller and Jamie Day.
***Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras continued their Pirelli GT4 America domination by sweeping the weekend at Watkins Glen. The drivers of the No. 18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR earned their sixth and seventh victories of the year, while Pro-Am honors went to Gray Newell and Ian James (The Heart of Racing) and Tom Capizzi and John Capestro-Dubets (Auto Technic Racing). Race 1 / Race 2
***The Watkins Glen bill also included GT America powered by AWS. In addition to winning the second GTWC America race, George Kurtz claimed a double victory in the single-driver GT America series piloting the No. 4 CrowdStrike Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with assistance from Riley Motorsports. Race 1 / Race 2
***True Racing KTM drivers Stefan Rosina and Filip Sladecka took a lights-to-flag victory in the first Fanatec GT2 European Series race of the weekend at Spa, before coming from behind for Sladecka to make a last-lap move on Kevin Weeda’s Brabham BT63 Concept to bank Race 2 honors as well. Race 1 / Race 2 / Pro-Am
***The SRO Speedweek meeting at Spa also included a pair of FFSA French GT4 races. It was a good weekend for Silver Cup points leaders Erwan Bastard and Royee Mayuhas, who came away from Belgian with an extended advantage courtesy of a second place and a victory in their Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4. Stephane Lemeret and Stephane Tribaudini won the first encounter in a CMR Toyota GR Supra GT4. Race 1 / Race 2
***There have been several additions to the GT4 European Series grid for this weekend’s round at Spa. Of note, the GT4 Scandinavia series will join the continental field, adding eight cars to what is set to be a record entry. Additionally, reigning ADAC GT4 Germany champions Michael Schrey and Gabriele Piana will share a BMW M4 GT4 run by Hofer Racing by Bonk Motorsport.
***Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific outlined its 2022 racing initiatives last week, including the launch of a Shanghai-based GT Track Day as an entry-level step for drivers wanting to scale the Porsche pyramid. “This exciting new event is aimed at bridging the gap between learning the motorsport basics and taking to the field among other dedicated privateers in a competitive environment,” said Alexandre Gibot, managing director of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific.
***The new GT Track Day will support the Porsche Sports Cup China, which held its season-opener at Ningbo last weekend and will also visit V1 Tianjin, Zhuhai and Shanghai.
On this weekend: Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup (Spa-Francorchamps)