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Weekly Racing Roundup (2.13.23)

News and notes including Falken’s Nürburgring plans, KCMG in GTWC Asia and more…

Photo: Jan Brucke/VLN

***Falken Motorsports has outlined plans to run a pair of new Porsche 911 GT3 Rs at next year’s Nürburgring 24. The German squad, which is run by Schnabl Engineering, was the first customer team to run the Type-992 model in an NLS round last year. It will announce its full program and driver lineups at a later date.

***Falken Tyres motorsport manager Stefanie Olbertz said: “We are delighted to return to the Nordschleife in 2023 as a Porsche customer team and compete with the brand new 911 GT3 R. The new model is a major step forward in performance and design and we can’t wait to hit the track with it and fight for victory throughout the NLS season and at the Nürburgring 24.”

***KCMG is returning to Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS for the first time in five years, with a single Honda NSX GT3 Evo22. Team owner Paul Ip will share the wheel with KCMG regular Edoardo Liberati, who is also the reigning Italian GT Endurance champion.

***Ip is making his GTWC Asia debut but has driven the Honda in the FIA Motorsport Games, representing Hong Kong. “I’m delighted to be taking on a new challenge this season in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia with my team,” he said. “SRO has done an amazing job to rebuild the championship since the global pandemic and assemble the region’s most competitive GT3 grid.”

***Single-seater team Motopark has expanded into sports cars with an International GT Open entry. The German squad, which has won several Euroformula Open titles, is fielding a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos. Team principal Timo Rumpfkeil said: “We already had a successful GT branch when we did the Porsche Supercup in 2010-12 and in the past couple of years, we’ve also offered customer racing support to GT3 privateers on a domestic level, so we know what’s required for that discipline of racing.”

***Newly signed BMW factory driver Dan Harper will embark on a full season in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship with Century Motorsport. The Northern Irishman is confirmed to partner Darren Leung, who won last year’s Donington season finale with Alexander Sims. Harper, Leung and Century worked together at the Gulf 12 Hours in December.

***Paddock Motorsport has announced one of its two McLaren 720S GT3 driver pairings for British GT. Team owner and 2013 FIA World Endurance LMP2 champion Martin Plowman will link up with Californian racer Mark Smith, who finished runner-up in the Cayman class of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama last year.

***The French duo of Gregory Guilvert and Christophe Hamon will drive a Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 in the GT4 European Series Pro-Am class. 2021 Pro-Am champion Guilvert finished third in the standings last year alongside Fabian Michal.

***Muecke Motorsport has made two further driver signings to its GT4 customer program with Mercedes-AMG. Josef Knopp, who previously raced a KTM in the DTM Tropy, will partner with the already-confirmed Rodrigo Almeida in ADAC GT4 Germany. Furthermore, Norwegian prospect Emil Gjerdrum will make his GT4 debut in both Germany and the GT4 European Series.

***Experienced Audi GT3 engineer Sebastien Breuil has joined Comtoyou Racing ahead of the Belgian team’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS debut. Breuil moves into the role of ‘GT department manager’. He worked with Tresor by Car Collection last year and Sainteloc Racing in 2021.

***After racing Nissans and Bentleys last year, Brett Hobson will switch to campaigning a GWR Australia Mercedes-AMG in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS, stepping up from the GT Trophy class to Pro-Am. “We tested last Wednesday just gone, well it was basically a shakedown,” Hobson said. “The car is the original Mercedes-AMG GT3 from RAM Motorsport that was crashed the week before last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour and it’s been re-shelled.”

***The latest round of the GT Winter Series took place at Jerez last weekend. Colin Caresani and Kenneth Heyer won the 60-minute ‘endurance’ race in their Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG, taking victory by almost 90 seconds. Caresani also prevailed in one of the shorter sprint contests, beating Audi Sport factory driver Markus Winkelhock.

On this weekend: Asian Le Mans Series (Yas Marina)

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.

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