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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (4.6.20)

Latest updates of COVID-19’s impact on motorsport, plus more news from the past week…

Photo: Toyota

COVID-19 Impact Update

***Super GT will run its rounds at Suzuka, Buriram and Sepang at the end of the season, and is now set to host its first race in July at Okayama. The Thai and Malaysian races are now set to take place in December or January, while Suzuka’s new date is “unfinalized”.

***It means that all of the series’ races until at least November will take place in Japan, thus minimizing potential international travel disruption. Rounds are planned at Okayama, Fuji, SUGO, Autopolis and Motegi. A two-day test will be held at Fuji Speedway on June 27-28, two weeks ahead of Okayama’s season-opener.

***Lamborghini has converted parts of its Sant’Agata Bolognese plant to produce surgical mask and protective plexiglass shields, which will be donated to the Sant’Orsola-Malphigi Hospital in Bologna. It can produce 1000 masks and 200 shields every day through the initiative, which is supported by the Emilia-Romagna region and the University of Bologna.

***The Historic Sportscar Racing’s Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta has been canceled altogether. The event was set to be held on April 23-26, but HSR will return to the Georgia circuit later in the year for the HSR Fall Historics. A new date hasn’t been determined for that event yet, which has been indirectly affected by the slight postponement of Motul Petit Le Mans.

***Ultimate Cup Series has revealed its revised 2020 calendar, featuring seven rounds between July and November. It will get underway on July 17-19 at a currently unconfirmed track, before rounds at Dijon, Navarra, Magny-Cours, Paul Ricard, Estoril and one more TBA location.

***The Super Taikyu event at Sportsland SUGO, which was originally scheduled for late April, has been postponed to Oct. 3-4. The season is now set to begin at Fuji on Jun. 6-7. 

***Silverstone has offered its medical center for the NHS, the UK’s national healthcare system, to use for extra capacity. “Whatever we can do to help, we’re ready to do it”, the circuit tweeted on Monday morning.

***One of a number of temporary hospitals set up around the UK is in the ExCeL Arena, the planned location of July’s London E-Prix. Formula E was set to host its season finale on a circuit inside and around the arena. The temporary facility, named Nightingale Hospital, can hold up to 4,000 patients and was transformed into a hospital in nine days. Along with the remainder of the Formula E calendar, the returning London E-Prix is now under question.

***Be sure to view and bookmark Sportscar365’s definitive guide to revised sports car racing schedules, which will be updated as more events are postponed, canceled or added.

Photo: VLN

News & Notes

***The Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie held its second esports event of the year on Saturday. The three-hour race, which featured plenty of GT racing regulars, was won by Sami-Matti Trogen and Dominik Staib from the Williams esports team. BMW DTM ace Philipp Eng was part of the crew that came second while Richard Westbrook and Mike Rockenfeller finished fifth.

***Double IMSA WeatherTech GT Le Mans class champion Jan Magnussen won the first of two ‘Legends’ esports races at NOLA Motorsports Park last weekend. Magnussen beat an all-star field that included reigning IMSA DPi champion Juan Pablo Montoya, five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro and 2018 Super GT champion Jenson Button. All drivers were using 1970s Brabham F1 cars.

***Britcar is the latest series to step into the world of esports. The Britcar Endurance E-Series will start after Easter with a virtual meeting at Spa, including four Brabham BT62s, several GT3 cars and two Glickenhaus SCG003s.

***TCR Europe has been added to the support bill for the Total 24 Hours of Spa as part of the touring car championship’s revised schedule. It is set to join Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, GT4 European Series and Formula Renault Eurocup on the support bill for the July 23-26 event.

***Entries for the DTM Trophy, the new DTM support series catering to GT4-level cars but without official GT4 franchise status, have been extended to June 1. The series has already received 20 entries from 12 teams, including cars from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche. Registered teams include Phoenix Racing, Walkenhorst Motorsport, Allied Racing, Leipert Motorsport and PROsport Racing.

***The series is now slated to support DTM at six events between July and November, at Norisring, Anderstorp, Zolder, Nürburgring, Lausitzring, and Hockenheim.

***Hitotsuyama Racing is planning to enter August’s Suzuka 10 Hours with its Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for Shintaro Kawabata, Ritmo Miyata and a TBC third driver. Christopher Mies drives for the team alongside Kawabata in Super GT.

***SPS Automotive Performance has acquired two Porsche 935s and a 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. The GT2-spec cars will be used for track day use and aren’t set to compete.

***Iron Lynx Motorsport Lab has revealed the liveries for its Ferraris competing in the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup this year. The Andrea Piccini and Sergio Pianezzola-run outfit is making its debut as an entrant in the ELMS this year with two Ferrari 488 GTE Evos.

***WEC GTE points leader Nicki Thiim will compete in the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s esports invitational on April 19. The event will be held on a virtual version of the Catalunya RX track using Dirt Rally 2.0.

***Motorsport photographer Gary Parravani captured some excellent images of the Bentley Continental GT3s in the SRO E-Sports GT Series Charity Challenge race two weekends ago. Click here to view a selection.

***The highlights film from last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will be streamed on the 24 Heures du Mans Facebook page this week, at 8 p.m. CEST on Tuesday. It will later be uploaded to the race’s YouTube channel for on-demand viewing between April 9-12.

Daniel 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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