Debut Double as United Sweeps GT4 Opener
United Autosports won both legs of the opening GT4 European Series round on the LMP2 title-winning team’s maiden outing in the category with its McLaren 570S GT4s.
Bailey Voisin and Charlie Fagg won twice to take an early lead in the Silver Cup points, while crews from Sainteloc Racing and Porsche Centri Ticino claimed Pro-Am honors.
In the first encounter, Voisin ran fourth through a safety car-interrupted opening stint and was battling Ivan Jacoma’s Centri Ticino Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport before a second slow-down occurred due to a pair of separate accidents.
United opted to bring its lead car in at the first opportunity which resulted in an undercut on the front-runners including the Stephane Lemeret and Antoine Potty-driven Toyota GR Supra GT4 that had been leading from pole. Fagg beat Lemeret by three seconds.
Fagg then started race two from pole and led away from Jim Pla’s AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Lemeret until a safety car was called for an incident involving two cars.
United pitted its McLarens immediately after the restart, again coming in earlier than the other front-runners. The move caused Pla to check up and enabled Cesar Gazeau to seize the lead in his AGS Events Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
But once the pit stops played out Voisin was back in front. The GT4 rookie then defended from CMR Toyota driver Potty through another late safety car to claim a narrow win.
GT2 European Series Kicks Off at Monza
Different Audi R8 LMS GT2s triumphed in the first appearance of the new Fanatec GT2 European Series.
Anders Fjordbach and Mark Patterson dominated Saturday’s opening race for High Class Racing, before PK Carsport’s Bert Longin and Peter Guelinckx prevailed on Friday.
Pole-sitter Fjordbach was overtaken at the start of race one by Michael Vergers’ Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport but quickly restored the original positions at the first Lesmo before setting off and handing over to Patterson who chalked up a comfortable win.
However, thee 70-year-old returned in race two and his Reiter Engineering-prepared car led the early stages after a strong opening from Kris Rosenberger.
A driver change relegated the Am pairing out of overall contention, but they still picked up a class podium.
The KTM’s delay handed the lead to PK Carsport’s Audi, but Longin needed to defend hard from Luca Pirri who had taken over the third Audi in the race from Stephane Ratel.
Longin crossed the line less than a second ahead of Pirri, while Vergers did the same from Fjordbach to nail down the final podium spot.
RLR Ligier Wins Opening Le Mans Cup Bout
Mike Benham and sports car racing debutant Tommy Foster won the two-hour Michelin Le Mans Cup curtain-raiser at Barcelona after a late Full Course Yellow shake-up.
Foster, who raced in British F4 last year, profited from race leader Garett Grist opted not to pit his Team Virage Ligier JS P320 Nissan when a slow period occurrred with 10 minutes remaining.
Grist circulated for an entire lap at a restricted pace and pitted at the next opportunity, but the track had returned to green flag status by that stage.
The time lost by pitting when the rest of the field was at full speed dropped Grist behind Foster in the No. 15 RLR Ligier.
A 36-second post-race time penalty was then applied to Grist and Rob Hodes for not respecting the minimum pit stop time at their car’s second service.
This dropped Virage to fifth and promoted United Autosports to a double podium with Gerry Kraut and Scott Andrews moving up to second and Wayne Boyd and John Schauerman advancing to third.
GT3 honors went to Julien Andlauer and Niki Leutwiler in the TFT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Only four GTs raced after an Iron Lynx Ferrari developed an issue before the grid.
Super Trofeo Solo Artists Prevail at Monza
Solo drivers Max Weering and Alberto di Folco won the first two rounds of the new Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season against an increased field of more than 30 cars.
Weering claimed his maiden series victory driving for Johan Kraan Motorsports in the opener before Super Trofeo regular di Folco commanded the second 50-minute race in his Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO.
Punctures for race leader Andrzej Lewandowski, whose teammate Karol Basz started the first race from pole, and Kevin Gilardoni who was initially poised to inherit the lead enabled Weering to come through for an unexpected victory.
Milan Teekens and Maxime Oosten made it a one-two for the Johan Kraan squad.
Di Folco’s first race was hampered by a clash with Dan Pijs at the start which led to a puncture for his Imperiale machine.
The Lamborghini GT3 Junior then bounced back to take pole for race two by half a second before dominating from his prime starting position.
***The PC Okazaki Porsche won the three-hour second round of the Super Taikyu series held at Sugo. Yuta Uemura, who teamed up with Hiroaki Nagai and GT500 racer Yuichi Nakayama, held off D’station Racing’s Tsubasa Kondo in a tense run to the flag from a red flag restart, after an accident for one of the GT3 Nissans. Results
***Season two of the Ligier European Series kicked off at Barcelona with two races won by Natan Bihel’s Ligier JS P4. Pairings from the Les Deux Arbres and HP Racing teams shared out honors in the three-entry JS R2 category. Race 1 / Race 2
***Leipert Motorsport has returned to GT3 and will run a Lamborghini in select 24H Series races, including the 24 Hours of Sebring. Brendon Leitch, Tyler Cooke, Sebastian Balthasar and Fidel Leib are the named drivers. Leipert is also eyeing the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.
***Markus Winkelhock and Florian Spengler will continue to share a Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo in ADAC GT Masters this year, after pairing up in 2020.
***Balfe Motorsport has returned to International GT Open after three seasons away. The British squad, which last entered the series with McLaren in 2017, is running an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for Shaun Balfe and GP2 race winner Adam Carroll.
***The Supercars Endurance series has postponed its planned season-opener at Portimao from early May to Oct. 17-18. Jarama will now open the new Iberian GT4 and TCR competition on June 5-6.
***Two Sports Prototype Cup races, including the one-make Revolution A-One class, will appear on the Italian Grand Prix support bill in September. The SPC supported F1 in Portugal last year.
On this weekend: 24H Series (12H Paul Ricard)