***Christopher Mies was the fastest driver in the official ADAC GT Masters pre-season test at Oschersleben on Monday and Tuesday. The German, driving the No. 29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS set the fastest time on the Tuesday. Mies was just five hundredths of a second faster than Laurens Vanthoor. A total of 31 cars took part in the test.
***Among the cars at the pre-season test was Callaway Competition’s Corvette C7 GT3-R with Americans Eric Curran and Boris Said getting their first laps in the German-built GT3 contender. The car will carry the familiar colors of Whelen throughout its European campaign, which will include a mix of GT races.
***Loris Hezemans, son of former Le Mans class winner Toine Hezemans and brother of FIA GT stalwart Mike Hezemans, will replace Curran at the opening round of the GT Masters due to Curran’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship commitments at Long Beach that weekend. The 18-year-old raced in the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2015 and will replace Curran on several occasions this season.
***YACO Racing confirmed Philip Geipel and Rahel Frey for the third consecutive GT Masters season. The pair will race a new Audi R8 LMS, the 50th new-generation R8 to be delivered. Audi confirmed a total of 187 Audi R8 LMS cars, new and old, have been delivered so far.
***Chris van der Drift will replace Kevin Estre in the GT Masters season opener at Oschersleben and the third round at the Lausitzring. The New Zealander will take Estre’s seat in the KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 R as Estre is unavailable due to a clash of dates.
***ABT Sportsline revealed the driver pairings for the three Bentley Continental GT3s it will run in GT Masters. Daniel Abt and Christer Joens will race together in the No. 7 car, Fabian Hamprecht and Guy Smith will race the No. 8 car, while Jordan Pepper and Andreas Weishaupt will share the wheel of the No. 9.
***Xavier Maassen and Lukas Schreier will join previously announced Marco Bonanomi and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky at Aust Motorsport. Maassen, who raced in FIA GT and at Le Mans, will also compete for MRS GT-Racing in the 24H Series rounds at Zandvoort, Paul Ricard and Barcelona, plus the Nürburgring 24 hours.
***The FIA has again updated its driver ratings list, which sees a handful of notable changes. Randy Pobst, David Murry, Craig Stanton and John Pew are now all Bronze-rated drivers, while Michael Waltrip is now a Silver. Click Here for the full list.
***Two new Audi R8 LMS cars will race in the Japanese Super GT Championship this season. Audi Team Hitotsuyama will enter a single car for Richard Lyons and Tomonobu Fujii, while newcomers Audi Team Braille has signed Pierre Kaffer and Masanobu Kato for the upcoming season.
***Audi confirmed the launch of the Audi Sport racing academy on Monday. The new academy promotes talented youngsters with assistance by Audi Sport customer racing drivers Frey and Kaffer. The first three candidates are Hungarian Vivien Keszthelyi, South African Sheldon van der Linde and Danish driver Nicklas Nielsen. Van der Linde and Nielsen will compete in the Audi Sport TT Cup.
***After six years away from racing, Former Formula 1 test driver Roldan Rodriguez is set to resume his career in the International GT Open series this season. Rodriguez will share the cockpit of the Teo Martin Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Miguel Ramos.
***Thomas Biagi is the first driver to be confirmed by Orange1 Team Lazarus. The 40-year-old Italian will race the team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the International GT Open series. Biagi’s teammate will be announced later.
***Sports&You will race in GT Open with a Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Portuguese team confirmed a full season entry in the GTAm class of the series. In recent years the team ran a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
***Anna Rathe will compete in the Reiter Young Stars program, racing a KTM X-BOW GT4 in the GT4 European Series. The Norwegian, worked on an international GT racing over the last two years, recently tested the JRM Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and the DriveX Audi R8 LMS ultra.
John Dagys contributed to this report