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Weekly Racing Roundup (12.3.18)

VLN news, new Ligier series and schedules for GT Open and Pure McLaren GT Series…

Photo: VLN

VLN Tweaks SP9 Speed Trophy Format

The VLN series has updated the format of its Speed Trophy competition for teams in the top SP9 class. For 2019, competition partner ROWE is offering a prize pot of 25,000 Euros ($28,000 USD) to lure GT3 entries.

Additionally, the points scoring will be opened up to include the top 20 finishers rather than the top 10, while points will be handed out to the top three cars in qualifying for the first time.

Falken Motorsports clinched the 2018 Speed Trophy with its Porsche 911 GT3-R after Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler won the final race of the season.

“We are very happy to have found a strong partner for the VLN Speed Trophy with ROWE,” said VLN managing director Dietmar Busch. “The prize money significantly upgrades the special classification for top vehicles.”

The VLN has also adjusted how it calculates team entry fees next year. Its process will be more transparent with additional costs such as transponder handling and guardrail damage now falling within the main full-season amount.

The in-car driver transponder system will also be streamlined to make races easier to follow, with each car now required to carry a name-tracking device.

Photo: GT Open

GT Open Moves Spa Date, Confirms 2019 Schedule

Next year’s International GT Open event at Spa-Francorchamps will be held two weeks earlier than planned, on June 8-9, while the full schedule has now been confirmed.

The date change avoids a clash with the Nürburgring 24 and affects GT Open, Euroformula Open and the new GT Cup Open Europe.

The season will get underway at Paul Ricard on Apr. 27-28 following a pair of pre-season tests at the French track and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

It will visit seven European countries over the course of the season, finishing in October at Monza.

2019 International GT Open, GT Cup Open Europe Schedule:

Feb. 22-23 – Paul Ricard (test)
March 8-9 – Barcelona (test)
April 27-28 – Paul Ricard
May 25-26 – Hockenheimring
June 8-9 – Spa-Francorchamps
July 6-7 – Hungaroring (GT Open only)
Sept. 7-8 – Silverstone
Sept. 21-22 – Barcelona
Oct. 12-13 – Monza

Photo: McLaren

International FIA Pure McLaren GT Series Schedule Revealed

McLaren has revealed a six-round schedule for the second running of its FIA Pure McLaren GT Series, including a season-ending flyaway round in Bahrain.

The championship, which features a grid of McLaren 570S GT4s, was launched in 2018 and will have an expanded international footprint next year.

It will get underway on May 3-6 at Portimao before heading to Spa-Francorchamps, Hungaroring, Hockenheimring, Silverstone and Bahrain, with the season ending on Nov. 26-28.

In addition to the overall championship, the Bruce McLaren Cup class will be open to drivers who have held their racing licence for less than 12 months and have not competed higher than club level that year.

FIA Pure McLaren GT Series Schedule:

May 3-6 – Portimao
May 31 – June 3 – Spa-Francorchamps
June 28 – July 1 – Hungaroring
Aug. 30 – Sept. 2 – Hockenheimring
Oct. 11-14 – Silverstone
Nov. 26-28 – Bahrain

Photo: Onroak Automotive

Onroak Launches Two New Ligier Series

Details of two new single-make series for Ligier GT and prototype machinery have been revealed, coinciding with the French brand’s 50th anniversary in 2019.

Constructor Onroak Automotive has announced a six-round championship for the recently-launched Ligier JS2 R (above) and a four-round class challenge for the Ligier JS P4 prototype.

The GT-based Ligier JS Cup will open with a four-hour race at Le Mans in March, with subsequent stops at Dijon, Spa-Francorchamps, Magny-Cours, Paul Ricard and Ledenon.

Onroak expects around 20 cars for the inaugural race with more joining later in the season. The Ligier JSR 2, which was revealed last month, is powered by the same 3.7-liter Ford V6 engine used in the Ligier JS P4 which will run alongside the new-for-2019 Ultimate Cup  Series next year.

The Ligier JS P4 Ultimate Challenge is set to join the main Ultimate Cup grid, which includes LMP3 machinery, at four events held between June and November at Mugello, Valencia, Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard.

A prize entry to the 2019 Gulf 12 Hours, as well as a full season in the 2020 Ultimate Cup, will be offered to the winner of the first Ultimate Challenge campaign.

Dan Lloyd contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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