Connect with us

Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (6.12.23)

Reports from Road to Le Mans, ADAC GT Masters plus news and notes…

Photo: BMW M Motorsport

Rossi Takes First BMW Win at Le Mans

Valentino Rossi took his maiden victory in the BMW M4 GT3 during the second Road to Le Mans race at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Rossi and his Team WRT co-driver Jerome Policand — the team principal of Akkodis ASP — contributed to a sweep of the GT3 class for the Belgian squad after Max Hesse and Tim Whale prevailed in Race 1.

The win for the No. 46 crew came in an incident-filled race that included a 20-minute safety car period and a penalty for the car that finished first on the road.

Kei Cozzolino, who rose to the GT3 lead after the safety car pit stops, was given a drive-through for erratic driving that was later converted into a 30-second time penalty.

Rossi, who won at Le Mans three times during his top-category motorcycle racing career, emerged as the winner after the former MotoGP star overtook the HCR by CaffeineSix Porsche 911 GT3 R of Anders Fjordbach into Tertre Rouge.

Overall honors in Race 2 went to Luis Sanjuan and David Droux who shared the No. 97 Cool Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

The opening Road to Le Mans contest went the way of Nielsen Racing’s Matt Bell and John Melsom. Their Duqueine D08 Nissan benefited from a five-second post-race penalty for Team Virage driver Manuel Espirito Santo who overtook the safety car.

United Autosports’ Wayne Boyd led the opening half of the race, which was interrupted by a 16-minute safety car for a multi-car accident at the Daytona Chicane that also delayed GT3 leader Rossi.

The WRT driver recovered back into the GT3 top three but a spin for Policand at the same corner ended the No. 46 pairing’s chances.

John Schauermann took over the overall-leading United Ligier from Boyd but the Bronze-rated driver was caught and passed by Espirito Santo and eventual winner Bell.

In GT3, BMW factory ace Hesse made up several positions during his stint and made the deciding pass on Fjordbach’s Porsche into the Daytona Chicane.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

GT Masters Season Kicks Off With 11-Car Entry

Porsche teams Huber Racing and Team Joos by SportMotion shared the spoils in the opening round of the new ADAC GT Masters season which saw only 11 cars take part.

Tim Zimmermann and Jaxon Evans won the first 60-minute contest in their Huber Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and came away with an early points lead by finishing fifth in Race 2.

Benjamin Hites started Race 1 from pole position but his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 developed a puncture, which relinquished the top spot to Kim-Luis Schramm.

The FK Performance Motorsport driver led the remainder of the opening stint before handing his BMW M4 GT3 over to Igor Walilko.

A safety car period for Elias Seppanen’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo stopping between Turns 1 and 2 then bunched the field up, and Evans overtook Walilko shortly after the restart to claim a debut victory for the Type-992 Porsche in GT Masters.

The second race saw Sven Mueller and Finn Gehrsitz prevail in their No. 91 Team Joos Porsche, ahead of Haupt Racing Team’s Arjun Maini and Petru Umbrarescu.

Maini started from pole in the HRT Mercedes-AMG and remained ahead through to the pit window, however a drive-through penalty for an infringement during the driver change resulted in Gehrsitz taking the lead after taking the reins from Mueller.

The 18-year-old went on to claim his first GT Masters victory by a 6.4-second margin.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 / Standings

Photo: GTWC Asia

News & Notes

***SRO Motorsports Group will hold standalone races for GT4 cars after splitting the category off from Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS for the August event at Okayama. Two 60-minute races will be held for Am-Am or Silver-Am driver pairings. The ‘GT4 Japan’ exercise is a pilot venture ahead of a possible standalone championship next year.

***Czech team Mirage Motorsport will join the International GT Open grid for this weekend’s round at the Hungaroring. Reigning ESET GT3 champion Libor Milota is set to drive the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo as a solo competitor.

***Kessel Racing will introduce a pair of Ferrari 296 GT3 to its stable from the next GT Open round after starting the campaign with the older 488 model. Its driver pairings will be David Fumanelli/Frederic Jousset and Nico Rosi/Niccolo Schiro. Racing One already operates a 296 GT3 in the series.

On this weekend: Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS (Virginia), Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS (Fuji), NLS (Round 4), International GT Open (Hungaroring), Fanatec GT2 European Series (Dijon)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in Racing Roundup