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Weekly Racing Roundup (8.5.19)

Reports from the weekend’s Super GT, VLN and British GT races plus Australian GT news…

Photo: Super GT

Team LeMans Wako’s Lexus Wins 500-Mile Super GT Race

Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita gave Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s its second consecutive Super GT win on Sunday, in the Japanese championship’s longest race of the season at Fuji.

Oshima and Yamashita emerged victorious after almost five hours of racing in the 500-mile race at Fuji Speedway, completing 175 laps in the process.

They led a mixed podium that included entries from all three GT500 manufacturers, with a Honda NSX-GT second and a Nissan GT-R NISMO third.

The winning Lexus LC500 took the lead after a bold strategy call to bring it into the pits just before the safety car came out for the second and final time. 

When the race restarted, the Lexus had a sizeable lead over Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli’s NISMO Nissan and the Team Kunimitsu Honda of Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto.

The latter two cars traded positions for the remaining podium places, with reigning champions Button and Yamamoto coming out on top, while Oshima and Yamashita were able to extend their lead to 31 seconds by the line.

JLOC game the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo its first Super GT win by taking GT300 class honors, meanwhile.

Tsubasa Takahashi, Andre Cuoto and Kiyoto Fujinami shared driving duties in the No. 87 Lamborghini, which emerged in the class lead after a quick pit stop during a safety car period.

They finished ahead of Saitama Toyopet’s Toyota Mark X MC and the third-placed Modulo Drago Corse Honda NSX GT3 Evo.

RESULTS: Fuji

Photo: Black Falcon

Black Falcon Goes 1-2 in Longest VLN Race of the Season

Black Falcon scored a 1-2 victory in Saturday’s six-hour VLN race, the series’ longest race of the season, with Maro Engel and Patrick Assenheimer taking victory.

The winning duo completed 40 laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife to take their Black Falcon Team AutoArena Motorsport-entered Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the win in VLN 5.

They finished 35 seconds clear of another Black Falcon Mercedes, shared by Adam Christodoulou, Hubert Haupt and Luca Stolz.

Eight cars were classified on the lead lap, including a combination of Audi, BMW and Porsche machinery in addition to the two leading Mercedes.

Black Falcon led a total of 34 laps between its two contending cars, although the eventual runners up were at the front of the field for 18 laps, compared to Engel and Assenheimer’s 16.

Engel took pole in wet conditions during the morning’s qualifying session and, although the race began on a wet track, conditions improved throughout the afternoon to end under sunny skies.

Phoenix Racing claimed SP9 Pro-Am class honors with its No. 9 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo driven by Michele Beretta, Nicolaj Moller Madsen and Steve Jans, finishing eighth overall.

The best-placed GT4 car was a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport running in the Cup 3 class and placing 14th overall.

The dedicated GT4 classes, SP8T and SP10, however, were won by a Black Falcon Mercedes and a Team AVIA Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4, respectively.

Elsewhere in the field, BMW’s new M2 Competition model made its race debut. Joerg Weidinger and BMW Motorsport junior Beitske Visser shared the car and completed 28 laps.

Delivery of the new entry-level BMW customer race car will begin in the second quarter of 2020.

RESULTS: VLN 5

Photo: JEP/SRO

TF Sport Improves British GT Title Hopes With Brands Hatch Win

TF Sport’s Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson have firmly put themselves in contention for the British GT Championship title after winning Sunday’s two-hour race at Brands Hatch.

The pair took their second win of the season with the No. 47 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the same chassis that won the Pro-Am Cup in the Total 24 Hours of Spa a week earlier.

Adam and Davidson have now moved up to second in the title battle, although five driver pairings are in contention in next month’s season finale at Donington Park.

Davidson took a commanding lead early on, moving from fourth to second in the first couple of corners before passing Ollie Wilkinson for the lead when the Optimum Motorsport driver spun a few laps later.

He kept the lead at the restart after a heavy accident for Team Parker Racing’s Glynn Geddie before handing over to Adam in the mid-race pit stops.

The Aston Martin Racing factory driver remained out front for the rest of the race, finishing six seconds clear of Balfe Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3, while Century Motorsport completed the podium with its BMW M6 GT3.

Sunday’s winners are now eight points off the championship lead, with 37.5 points up for grabs at Donington, running behind Phil Keen and Adam Balon.

Jonny Cocker/Sam De Haan, Ollie Wilkinson/Bradley Ellis and Shaun Balfe/Rob Bell are also in contention in a five-way title battle.

A hectic GT4 battle ultimately went the way of Tolman Motorsport’s James Dorlin and Josh Smith after swinging in the favor of several crews throughout the race.

The No. 4 McLaren 570S GT4 was able to take the win after a late-race brake failure sent leader Will Moore’s Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 into the wall at Druids.

HHC Motorsport made it a McLaren 1-2 in class, while TF Sport finished third.

RESULTS: Brands Hatch

Photo: Australian GT

Australian GT Changes Format of Sandown Rounds

Organizers of the CAMS Australian GT Championship have changed the format of its two events at Sandown Raceway later this year in an effort to reduce costs and attract more entries.

The Melbourne circuit was scheduled to host the Australian Endurance Championship on Sept. 20-21 before a Sprint round on Nov. 8-10.

The Endurance race, originally set for a three-hour length, has been split into three one-hour sprints, with overall championship points to be decided by the cumulative results of those races.

The November round, meanwhile, will be open to Pro drivers in Pro-Am pairings unlike the rest of the season’s Sprint events. This allows Pro drivers to carry their points over from the September races into the second Sandown event.

Named the Sandown GT Cup, the formula is aimed to reduce costs, according to Australian GT’s category manager David Vervaart.

“Round 5 will now be three one-hour legs, which can allow competitors that don’t have refuelling facilities to compete, whilst also allowing single driver entries to contest the race alone, something which has already proven popular amongst Competitors that have been sitting on the sidelines during the endurance rounds,” he explained.

“There had been a lot of ongoing discussions over the last few months with all the stakeholders – including CAMS and the competitors – to address entry numbers for the endurance events.

“The endurance races provide a big challenge logistically, and cost-wise they also require more crew, refuelling rigs and obviously two drivers.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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