Lawson Dominates Red Bull’s Home DTM Round
Red Bull AF Corse’s Liam Lawson became the first driver to sweep a DTM weekend in the series’ GT3 era as the 19-year-old put on a commanding overall performance in Austria.
Lawson took a chunk out of Kelvin van der Linde’s substantial championship lead, bringing the gap down to 12 points, after scoring a near-maximum 55 points out of a possible 56 in his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
The New Zealander won Saturday’s opening 55-minute race from pole, holding off Mercedes-AMG Team HRT’s Maximilian Goetz at the start before going on to maintain his advantage after the tire change pit stops.
Nico Mueller and Esteban Muth opted for long opening stints, but neither managed to gain the upper hand on Lawson who carried his net lead through to the end.
Philip Ellis completed the podium from a charging Alex Albon in the other AF Corse Ferrari, while points leader Kelvin van der Linde took fifth.
The second race came down to a close finish between Lawson and Marco Wittmann, who started from pole but lost his lead to the Red Bull car in the pits.
After breaking away from the field, the pair ran close until the tire changes when AF Corse gave Lawson a three-second jump on the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
Double series champion Wittmann tracked Lawson for the remainder of the race, and started to draw alongside out of the final corner but was unable to complete a move before the checkered flag. Goetz, who stands four points behind Lawson, finished third.
RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 / Standings
United Clinches GT4 Teams’ Title at Nürburgring
A one-two in the second race of the season’s penultimate round in Germany was enough for United Autosports to seal the GT4 European Series Silver Cup title at its first attempt.
Gus Bowers and Dean MacDonald earned their maiden win of the season, while teammates Charlie Fagg and Bailey Voisin took second in their identical McLaren 570S GT4 to wrap up a debut championship for United on its first season back in GT racing.
Four other titles were decided in race two at the Nürburgring, including Gregory Guilvert and Fabien Michal sealing the Pro-Am drivers’ accolade for Audi squad Sainteloc Racing.
Christophe Hamon and Michael Blanchemain secured Am Cup honors, while Sainteloc and Team Full Motorsport won their respective championships in Pro-Am and Am.
Theou Nouet and Jan Marschalkowski took the overall victory in Race 1 after a battle with Fagg and Voisin from United.
Voisin led the early stages from his teammate Bowers, until the second United driver ran wide at Turn 15 to open the door for Marschalkowski’s Zakspeed Mercedes-AMG.
Traffic on Fagg’s out-lap then enabled Zakspeed to gain the net upper hand, with Nouet holding off the United driver in the closing stages to take the win.
Fagg and Voisin later opened a 44-point Silver Cup drivers’ championship lead heading into the Barcelona finale with a clean run to second during race two.
They were helped by main rivals at CMR, Stephane Lemeret and Antoine Potty, retiring early in the race.
Bowers and MacDonald dominated from pole, but were pushed to the end by their teammates who produced a 0.3-second gap between the United cars at the checkered flag.
Super Trofeo Sweep for Spinelli, Weering
Loris Spinelli and Max Weering landed a brace of victories in the penultimate round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season at the Nürburgring.
The Johan Kraan Motorsports pair dominated the opening race from pole before sealing their weekend sweep with a last-lap overtake on Leipert Motorsport in race two.
The first 50-minute encounter was a straightforward affair at the front as Spinelli charged into a nine-second lead from pole in the opening stint before handing over to Weering with 20 minutes remaining.
Raul Guzman, whose co-driver Glenn van Berlo ran second at the start, managed to reduce the gap to Weering in the closing stages after the driver swaps but was unable to find a way past before the time was up.
Leipert Motorsport’s Sebastian Balthasar took pole for the second race and led away from pole, while Guzman lost his second position spot after contact at Turn 1 resulted in a puncture for his Target Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO.
Kevin Gilardoni picked up the chase on Balthasar for the remainder of the first stint, as Weering rose from 12th to eighth on the grid under the radar.
Balthasar stayed out late in the pit window before handing over to his new co-driver Seb Morris, who inherited the lead over Gilardoni’s driving partner Leonardo Pulcini.
Further back, Spinelli was on a charge and picking off the cars ahead of him. The Italian caught Pulcini and overtook the Oregon driver at Turn 5 before passing Morris on the exit of Turn 1 at the start of the final lap.
Spinelli then opened a 1.3-second margin over Morris on the last tour to negate a 1.2-second post-race time penalty he was carrying for undercutting the minimum pit time.
***The 2022 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo 2 finished fifth on its global race debut at the 24 Hours of Barcelona. Patric Niederhauser, Nathanael Berthon, Christer Joens and Martin Lechmann drove the car in its first competitive outing ahead of its customer rollout next year. Herberth Motorsport won the race with Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer, Ralf Bohn and Daniel Allemann who led home a one-two for the Porsche squad. Results
***Chinese circuit racing returned last weekend with the opening round of the China Endurance Championship at Ningbo. Absolute Racing drivers Cheng Congfu and Chen Weian took overall honors in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. The grid included 17 cars, five of which were GT3s in the top class. Results
***A Honda NSX GT3 Evo won in the Italian GT Championship for the first time this season as Jacopo Guidetti and Francesco de Luca prevailed for the Nova Race team in the second Sprint Cup bout at Imola. Guidetti beat the race one-winning Audi from Riccardo Agostini and Lorenzo Ferrari by less than half a second. Race 1 / Race 2
***Ben Green overtook William Tregurtha at the top of the DTM Trophy standings as both Brits won at the Red Bull Ring. Green’s first and third over the weekend gave the FK Performance Motorsport BMW driver a 10-point advantage over Tregurtha who encountered two penalties in the opener before winning race two. Race 1 / Race 2 / Standings
***TF Sport will tackle this weekend’s International GT Open round at the Red Bull Ring with British GT runner-up Sam de Haan and Charlie Eastwood. De Haan is set for his first appearance in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, having been acquainted with Mercedes-AMGs.
***ITR and German electronics retailer MediaMarkt are offering a 2023 DTM Trophy drive to the chosen graduate of the DTM Youth Development Program starting next year. An esports series will take place at MediaMarkt outlets, with the quickest moving to a testing and training program.
On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and supports (WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca), Super GT (Sportsland SUGO), ADAC GT Masters (Lausitzring), NLS (Round 7), British GT (Oulton Park), International GT Open (Red Bull Ring), Porsche Sportscar Together Festival (Indianapolis)