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Weekly Racing Roundup (7.6.20)

Report from Porsche Supercup opener plus lots of news from around sports car racing…

Photo: Porsche

Evans Wins on Supercup’s Return

Jaxon Evans won as Lechner Racing drivers finished first, second and third in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season-opener held at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.

After clinching his second career pole position earlier in the event, Porsche factory junior driver Evans earned his maiden victory in the series by leading all 17 laps of the race.

Evans was under pressure from his teammate Dylan Pereira who made up two spots on the opening lap, but the New Zealander successfully defended his position throughout the contest and held on to take the checkered flag just 0.728 seconds in front.

Leon Köhler then crossed the line a second behind Pereira in third to complete a top-three sweep for Walter Lechner’s team, while Ayhancan Güven was fourth on the road.

However, Porsche junior Güven was forced to give up four places after being handed a five-second time penalty for repeated track limits offenses.

This promoted Larry ten Voorde to fourth in the classification, ahead of French drivers Florian Latorre and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer.

Marvin Klein also benefited from Güven’s misfortune to finish seventh, while Marius Nakken and sim racing graduate Laurin Heinrich rounded out the top 10.

A total of 25 Porsche 911 GT3 Cups took part in Sunday’s season opener and will return this weekend for another round at the Red Bull Ring, once again supporting Formula One.

Photo: Subaru

Coronavirus Impact

***Subaru has withdrawn its factory-affiliated Nürburgring 24 entry due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The STI team has been a regular in the race since 2008 and finished 18th overall in last year’s edition with its SP3T-class Subaru WRX STI GT. Its withdrawal follows that of fellow Japanese outfit Kondo Racing which was set to enter a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

***Reigning TC America TCR teams’ champion FCP Euro has opted out of this season’s opening two rounds at VIR and Sonoma, citing the ongoing pandemic as the reason.

***FCP Euro driver and motorsport director Nate Vincent said: “Servicing our customers and keeping our employees safe is our number one priority, and as soon as we feel there is minimal risk to our employees and customers, we will return to racing.”

***The 2021 Geneva Motor Show has been canceled and is up for sale, partly because of automotive manufacturers’ unwillingness to attend in the post-coronavirus climate. The organizers reported that most companies indicated in a survey that they would probably not participate next year.

***UK-based MotorSport Vision has announced plans to allow spectators at its five circuits, including Brands Hatch and Donington Park, from July 11. British racing can now resume following the expiration of the national ban that lasted until the end of June, while private testing has been available for the last few weeks.

Photo: Audi Sport Asia

Other News & Notes

***Sports car racing resumed in China last weekend with a meeting at Zhuhai International Circuit that included a win for Ma Ka Chun in the No. 77 Audi R8 LMS GT3. Fellow Zun Motorsport driver Yang Baijie finished second and earned class honors in a first-generation R8. 

***Ferrari Challenge Europe kicked off at Imola with Emanuele Maria Tabacchi scoring a double victory in the opening race weekend of the season. Michelle Gatting finished second in Race 1 while Fabienne Wohlwend was runner-up in Race 2.

***The Ligier JS Cup will expand into an Italian championship next year. The single-make series for Ligier JS2 R sports cars debuted last year in France and attracted an average of 27 cars per round, while 60 models have been built so far. Gruppo Peroni Race will be the official distributor and promoter for the Italian competition.

***A total of 30 cars hit the track for the FFSA French GT Championship’s official pre-season test at Nogaro last Tuesday and Wednesday. Two of AKKA-ASP’s Mercedes-AMG GT4s finished first and second in the times, with the Jim Pla/Jean-Luc Beaubelique car going quickest.

***Turkish squad Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport has added a second BMW M4 GT4 to its stable and will race both cars in the GT4 European Series this year. Ibrahim Okyay and Fatih Ayhan will return to share one of the BMWs while Yağız Gedik and Cem Bölükbaşi will pilot the other.

***Another BMW customer to confirm its GT4 Europe plans is W&D Racing Team. The Italian outfit will enter the first two rounds at Imola and Misano with Stefano Valli and Paolo Meloni driving in Am Cup.

***GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS driver Valentin Hasse-Clot will compete in GT4 Europe this year, sharing an AGS-entered Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with Theo Nouet. Hasse-Clot is also set to feature in Garage 59’s Aston GT3 lineup.

***TF Sport could add a second Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to its recently-confirmed single-car GT Open program, after withdrawing its two GT3 entries from British GT.

***Team principal Tom Ferrier told Sportscar365 that GT Open is one of the options being looked at to secure a program for Ahmad Al-Harthy, whose British venture was canceled due to a lack of testing for the Omani racer because of travel restrictions, and date clashes with two WEC rounds affecting his co-driver Jonny Adam.

Photo: Racing Team Nederland

***Racing Team Nederland was among the sports car teams to take part in private testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week. Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd put the FIA World Endurance Championship squad’s Oreca 07 Gibson through its paces. Inter Europol Competition and Lexus GT3 squad Tech 1 Racing were also present.

*** Dinamic Motorsport will field a car in the Italian GT Championship sprint division, in addition to its GTWC Europe Endurance Cup program. Carrera Cup racers Marco Cassara and Alex De Giacomi will share the Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***Snetterton has joined the Sports Prototype Cup bill, replacing the Silverstone weekend which has been reallocated to the British Superbike Championship. The pair of Snetterton races will involve classes for Revolution A-Ones, Radical SR3s and an uncapped Open division.

***Reiter Engineering has confirmed that it will run the new KTM X-BOW GTX in Creventic’s 12H Monza race this month. Stefan Rosina, Eike Angermayr and KTM works driver Laura Kraihamer will drive the team’s Valvoline-liveried car.

***ARC Bratislava has entered the International GT Open round at the Hungaroring next month and will also take its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to the Red Bull Ring event in September. Miro Konopka’s co-driver has yet to be confirmed.

***Last week BMW held its first-ever sim racing track day, in which drivers from BMW customer teams received tuition from factory drivers and sim racers using the BMW M4 GT4. Participants included Pirelli GT4 America racers Jon Miller and Toby Grahovec.

***A new class will be added to the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie for the recently-launched BMW M2 CS Racing and is set to debut in this weekend’s double-header round.

***Australian GT has named Omologato as its official timepiece partner for the 2020 season. The deal will involve Omologato sponsoring the pole position award for each race.

***The ELMS has launched an initiative for fans to send in photos of themselves to appear on boards in team garages during the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, which is taking place behind closed doors on July 19.

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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