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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (8.31.20)

Reports from British GT, TC America and Le Mans Cup plus other racing action and news…

Photo: Jakob Ebrey/British GT

Barwell Lambo Wins Brands Hatch Bout

Sandy Mitchell and Rob Collard became first-time Intelligent Money British GT Championship race winners as the Barwell Motorsport pair triumphed in Sunday’s two-hour race on the Brands Hatch GP layout.

Mitchell brought the No. 78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to the checkered flag 0.6 seconds ahead of Michael O’Brien in the Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3.

O’Brien’s co-driver James Baldwin dominated the opening stint from pole, but the esports champion’s near half-minute lead was erased by a safety car just before halfway.

The interruption, which came after contact between Jordan Witt and Nick Jones resulted in the latter’s Bentley Continental GT3 beaching in the gravel, led into the pit window.

The lead changed during the driver swaps, as Mitchell emerged ahead of O’Brien after Collard’s strong opening stint to guard second position from a group of GT3 cars.

Lamborghini junior Mitchell then kept composed through a second safety car to beat O’Brien and secure the No. 78 Lamborghini’s first win of the season.

Angus Fender and Dean MacDonald’s 2 Seas Motorsport McLaren crossed the line in third, but was classified 11th due to a 40-second time penalty for an unsafe pit release.

This promoted the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman into the top three, ahead of their sister RAM car, the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini and the Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 on its series debut.

GT4 honors went to Academy Motorsports’ Jordan Albert and Matt Cowley who won from eighth on the grid in their Ford Mustang, while a last-lap tangle between the TF Sport Aston Martins enabled Century Motorsport’s BMW to snatch second.

RESULTS: Brands Hatch

Photo: Keith Rizzo/SRO

Maxson’s TC America Win Streak Ends at Road America

Tyler Maxson’s undefeated run in TC America TCR competition came to an end in Race 2 at Road America, with mechanical issues for the 15-year-old’s Hyundai Veloster N TCR giving way for Scott Smithson to collect his first victories of the season.

Maxson, who took his No. 74 Copeland Motorsports entry to his ninth win on Friday, suffered power-related and shock absorber issues in the two remaining 40-minute races of the weekend.

It handed victory in Race 2 to Smithson’s No. 17 DXDT Honda Civic Type-R TCR, who held off a strong challenge from Victor Gonzalez Jr. for top honors in Race 3, which was marred by a massive start-line accident involving multiple TC class cars.

Tim Lewis Jr. appeared set to take his maiden victory in the No. 55 KMW Motorsports/TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR in Race 3 until contact between Lewis Jr. and Smithson while battling for the lead resulted in suspension damage to the Alfa.

While retiring in Race 2, Maxson limped home to finish fourth in Race 3 to maintain his championship lead.

James Clay was denied a sweep of the weekend in TC, following a dramatic last-lap pass by Toby Grahovec in Race 3. Clay, in his No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR Cup, finished just 0.112 seconds behind the Classic BMW driver in Sunday’s race.

It came after a lengthy red flag for barrier repairs after Johan Schwartz and Chandler Hull were collected in a multi-car pileup at the start.

Kevin Boehm and Victor Gonzalez picked up TCA class honors on the weekend, with Gonzalez winning on Saturday and Sunday in his Copeland Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 / Race 3

Photo: Cool Racing

Cool Racing Continues Le Mans Cup Form 

Matt Bell and Maurice Smith delivered Cool Racing’s second win of the Michelin Le Mans Cup season but the Swiss team was denied a one-two result because of a penalty.

Bell took the lead from Edouard Cauhaupe in the sister Cool Racing Ligier JS P2320 Nissan with 20 minutes of the two-hour race to go and crossed the line 13 seconds ahead.

But the car that finished second on the road was dropped to fifth in the classification following a 70s time penalty applied post-race, for Cauhaupe’s Bronze-rated co-driver Nicolas Maulini not respecting his minimum drive time.

This promoted the No. 26 Graff Ligier or Rory Penttinen and Matthias Kaiser to second, while United Autosports’ Daniel Schneider and Andy Meyrick assumed third place.

Penttinen led the opening stint in wet conditions while Maulini, who initially got the jump on the Finn at the start, was handed a drive-through for jumping the getaway.

Maulini then recovered before handing over to Cauhaupe, who took the lead during a Full Course Yellow shortly before halfway that fell at a poor time for Penttinen and Kaiser.

Penttinen had already passed the pits when the FCY came out, forcing the Graff driver to embark on a slow 80 km/h lap while those behind pitted.

Kaiser emerged behind the Cool Racing cars but lost fourth to a charging Dino Lunardi, who was on course for a podium until his Motorsport98 Ligier packed up on the final lap.

Bell and Smith’s victory marked the second in a row for Cool, after Cauhaupe and Maulini triumphed last time out at Spa.

In GT3, Porsche duo Julien Andlauer and Nicolas Leutwiler defeated a field of Ferrari 488 GTE Evos to win for the Pzoberer Zürichsee by TFT sqsuad.

RESULTS: Paul Ricard

Photo: Italian GT

Other Racing Action

***Antonio Fuoco, Giorgio Roda and Alessio Rovera won for AF Corse in the Italian GT Championship’s three-hour race at Imola. Their No. 71 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo beat the VSR Lamborghini of Frederick Schandorff, Tuomas Tujula and Danny Kroes (results).

***Ayhancan Guven earned his second Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup win of the year at Spa, while Dylan Pereira reclaimed the championship lead from Larry ten Voorde after finishing second, three places ahead of his rival. Pereira now leads by 134 points to 130.

***Andrea Dromedari and Sebastien Baud shared the wins in the Ligier European Series at Paul Ricard. Dromedari prevailed in race one as the only Ligier JS P4 driver in the field, while Baud took control of the wet second race to win with his Ligier JS2 R Cup. Baud was also the best JS2 R driver in race one, giving the Cool Racing driver a clear lead in the drivers’ standings.

***Ferrari Challenge Europe reached its season midpoint at Mugello, where Emanuele Maria Tabacchi won twice to increase his points advantage. Fabienne Wohlwend and Florian Merckx completed the top three on both occasions.

***Cooper MacNeil maintained his 100 percent win record in Ferrari Challenge North America by sweeping the fourth weekend of the season at Circuit of The Americas.

***Clint Vahsholtz won the 98th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, scaling the Colorado mountain in a time of 9:35.490 aboard his Ford open-wheel special. The best sports car was David Donner’s Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport in third.

Photo: JUBU Performance

News & Notes

***Austrian Lotus specialist JUBU Performance has launched a GT2 concept based on the Exige. Three versions of the car named JP ZERO are being produced, including a 610hp competition model designed to fit SRO Motorsports Group’s GT2 category. The company expects to build 20 race cars and make the first deliveries in spring 2021.

***Madpanda Motorsport has signed Romain Monti for this weekend’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round at the Nürburgring. The winner of Silver Cup in the 2018 Total 24 Hours of Spa will share the No. 90 Mercedes with Ezequiel Companc and Patrick Assenheimer.

***Cabezas has since switched to the GT4 European Series, partnering 2017 Pro-Am champion Duncan Huisman in a second Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R for V8 Racing.

***Doerr Motorsport has also joined the GT4 Europe grid for this weekend’s Nürburgring encounter. Phil Doerr and Aleksey Sizov will drive the team’s McLaren 570S GT4.

***GT World Challenge Asia’s official esports championship held its first races last Friday. The Suzuka Charity Cup event doubled as a fundraiser for Save the Children Hong Kong. Evan Chen won the Pro-Am contest, which involved several real-world drivers.

***Garage 59 gave the Aston Martin Vantage GT8R its race debut in Saturday’s NLS round with Darren Turner, Chris Goodwin and Alexander West at the wheel.

***The entry list for the Fuji 24 Hours, which kicks off the Super Taikyu season on Sept. 5-6, has been published. A total of 45 cars are shown, including six GT3s in the top ST-X class.

On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta), IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (Road Atlanta), GTWC Europe Endurance Cup (Nürburgring), DTM (Assen), 24H Series (Hockenheim), Super Taikyu (Fuji), Lamborghini Super Trofeo (Road Atlanta, Nürburgring), Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama (Road Atlanta)

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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