Makowiecki, Hirate Take SUGO Super GT Win
Frederic Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate won Sunday’s Super GT race at SUGO, driving a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 and breaking a five-race win streak for Lexus.
It marked just the second non-Lexus win of the season after seven races, with the only other occasion coming when ARTA’s Tomoki Nojiri and Takuya Izawa won the season opener at Okayama with a Honda NSX-GT.
Hirate and Porsche factory driver Makowiecki hadn’t scored a podium so far this year until they took victory in wet conditions on Sunday, driving a Craftsports-entered car for NDDP Racing with B-Max.
Makowiecki got the No. 3 Nissan into the lead in some of the heaviest rain conditions of the race, passing Ryo Hirakawa, who couldn’t keep up in his Lexus Team KeePer Tom’s car.
Koudai Tsukakoshi had started from pole in the Keihin Real Racing Honda but an unsuccessful gamble for slick tires soon dropped him out of contention, moving Jenson Button into the top spot.
Button’s teammate Naoki Yamamoto fell down the order when he was given slick tires, moving Hirakawa into the top spot until Makowiecki made his way past.
ARTA scored the GT300 class win with a Honda NSX GT3 driven by Shinichi Takagi and Nirei Fukuzumi, in a similar battle that was decided by tire strategy.
GT Open Title Battle Heats Up at Barcelona
The battle for this year’s outright International GT Open championship will go down to the wire at Monza next month after an eventful penultimate event of the season at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Teo Martin Motorsport and Emil Frey Racing each won a race at the Spanish track and each team now has two driver pairings in contention for the title.
Fran Rueda and Andres Saravia won Saturday’s race in one of Teo Martin’s McLaren 720S GT3s after the Antonelli Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 that had initially won was given a five-second penalty.
While Riccardo Agostini and Loris Spinelli only fell back to second, a third place finish for Teo Martin’s Henrique Chaves and Martin Kodric represented a good points haul for the team at its home track while Emil Frey’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos finished fourth and 11th.
The Swiss team fought back in Race 2, finishing first and second with Mikael Grenier and Norbert Siedler beating Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoe.
Costa and Altoe head to Monza as championship leaders despite being the pair that finished 11th on Saturday and thus failing to score any points in that race,
They have an 11-point lead over Chaves and Kodric, while Grenier and Siedler are just one point further back. Rueda and Saravia are a further four points behind.
Lanan Inherits Le Mans Cup Win as Entire Podium Disqualified
Lanan Racing inherited victory in Saturday’s Michelin Le Mans Cup race at Spa-Francorchamps despite finishing fourth on track, as all three podium finishers were disqualified.
Mike Benham and Duncan Tappy initially finished 18 seconds off the lead in fourth place with their No. 25 Norma M30 Nissan while Graff crossed the line first.
The initial podium, entirely made up of Normas, consisted of cars from Graff, Nielsen Racing and DKR Engineering, which were all found to have non-compliant crashbox fixation screws in post-race scrutineering.
DKR’s car, driven by Francois Kirmann and Laurents Hoerr, led the first 90 minutes of the two-hour race until it served a stop-and-go penalty for spinning wheels in the pit stop.
This dropped Hoerr down to third, while Nicolas Schatz assumed the lead in Graff’s No. 39 car, with which he would go on to take the checkered flag.
Giacomo Piccini and Sergio Pianezzola finished 1.2 seconds clear in the GT3 class, taking a nine-point championship lead with their Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3.
Vincent, Gonzalez Take TCR America Wins; Hurczyn Builds Points Lead
Nate Vincent and Victor Gonzalez each took a TCR America race win at Road America but a pair of second-place finishes helped Michael Hurczyn to increase his lead in the championship standings.
Vincent, driving one of FCP Euro’s Volkswagen Golf GTIs, took the Race 1 lead on the first lap when polesitter Michael McCann Jr. slid wide in wet conditions at Turn 5.
He went on to lead the rest of the race to win on his first time racing at the Wisconsin track, while his FCP Euro teammate Hurczyn picked up valuable championship points in second.
Hurczyn started from pole in Race 2, which was delayed due to worsening weather conditions and started behind the safety car.
He then lost control of his Volkswagen going into Turn 1 on the second lap after the green flag, dropping him to fourth and handing the lead to Gonzalez, driving a VGMC Honda Civic Type R TCR.
Gonzalez built up a lead he never relinquished while Hurczyn made his way past James Walker and teammate Vincent to move up to second.
Hurczyn now has a 40-point lead over Vincent heading into the final two races of the season at Las Vegas.
Keegan Wins Saleen Cup Race at Road America
Matt Keegan came from the back of the grid to win Saleen Cup Race 1 at Road America in his series debut, holding off Young Gun class winner Carter Fartuch.
Keegan was slated to start sixth, but had to start from the rear due to being late to the grid because of the short turnaround between the previous Pirelli GT4 America session that he participated in with Team Panoz Racing.
Race 2 of the weekend was canceled due to inclement weather.
RESULTS: Race 1
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report