More titles were decided this weekend during the final rounds of the ADAC GT Masters, GT4 European Series, Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup and GT Sports Club. This week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup also covers the final IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites round, as well as races of the International GT Open, VLN and Supercar Challenge.
ADAC GT Masters
Luca Ludwig and Sebastian Asch have won the 2015 ADAC GT Masters title at Hockenheim. The Team Zakspeed drivers finished fifth in the final race of the season. BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert won the teams championship.
Rahel Frey and Philip Geipel won the penultimate race on Saturday. The race was stopped on the opening lap after a violent accident for newcomer Nicklas Mackschin in one of the Schubert BMW Z4 GT3s. After the restart Sebastian Asch collided with Porsche driver Klaus Bachler, which meant both drivers retired from the race. Luca Stolz initially led the race, but four laps his Bentley lost power and Frey inherited the lead. Teammate Geipel held onto the lead after the stops.
The final race was held on a drying circuit and victory went to Jordan Lee Pepper and Nicki Thiim. Before the pit stops two safety car periods kept the field together and after the stops a third stop meant the field was bunched up once more. Pepper, however, controlled the race after the restart and won. With Dominik Baumann finishing in third place, a fifth place for Asch and Ludwig was enough to secure the championship.
Race 1 – YACO Racing (Frey/Geipel) Audi, 2. Bentley Team HTP (Schmid/Hamprecht) Bentley, 3. C. Abt Racing (Wackerbauer/Van der Linde) Audi.
Race 2 – 1. C. Abt Racing (Pepper/Thiim) Audi, 2. Lambda Performance (Verdonck/Kechele) Ford, 3. BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert (Spengler/Baumann) BMW.VLN
Twin Busch Motorsport won the eighth race of the 2015 VLN season, Dennis and Marc Busch taking their second VLN with their Audi R8 LMS ultra on Saturday.
The fight for victory in the 55th ADAC Reinoldus-Langstreckenrennen at the Nürburgring Nordschleife was only decided in the final minutes of the race. After 24 laps of racing the top three was separated by just one second, with the Audi leading the Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of Hubert Haupt, Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger and the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Thomas Jaeger, Jan Seyffarth and Yelmer Buurman.
One lap later the new Mercedes passed both the old car and the Audi, but it lost the lead again after being given a time penalty for ignoring the flag signals. The Black Falcon Mercedes broke down on lap 25, which meant the Audi suddenly had a one-minute lead over the Mercedes and the Walkenhorst BMW Z4 GT3.
Race – 1. Twin Busch Motorsport (Busch/Busch) Audi, 2. Mercedes-AMG Test Team (Jaeger/Seyffarth/Buurman) Mercedes, 3. Walkenhorst Motorsport (Cerruti/Krohn/Laser) BMW.International GT Open
Alvaro Parente and Miguel Ramos won the first race at Monza, their third victory of the 2015 season. The Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3 pulled away at the start and led until the pit stops. Ezequiel Perez Companc was in the lead after the driver changes, but the Ferrari driver suffered an engine problem and retired. This handed back the lead to Miguel Ramos. The race was red flagged after Nicola Benucci crashed heavily at the Ascari chicane, the Italian getting out of the car own his own.
In race two Ezequiel Perez Companc and Raffaele Giammaria took revenge by scoring their fourth win of the season. James Abbott (Radical) and Euan Hankey (Aston Martin) battled for the lead in the first part of the race. After the pit stops Salih Yoluc was still in the lead, but on lap 24 Giammaria passed the Aston. The Italian went on to win, while Parente and Balfe also passed Yoluc.
Race 1 – 1. Teo Martin Motorsport (Ramos/Parente) McLaren, 2. AF Corse (Cameron/Griffin) Ferrari, 3. AF Corse (Lathouras/Rugolo) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. AF Corse (Perez Companc/Giammaria) Ferrari, 2. Teo Martin Motorsport (Ramos/Parente) McLaren, 3. Shaun Balfe (Balfe/Keen) Ferrari.GT4 European Series
Jelle Beelen and Marcel Nooren clinched the GT4 European Series title at Misano this weekend. The Dutch drivers finished fourth overall in both races. V8 Racing won the teams’ title.
Heading into the final round of the series only Duncan Huisman still had a chance to beat his teammates, but Huisman collided with the Lotus Evora of Pavel Lefterov on the second lap, which meant he lost a number of places and the championship. Marcus Clutton and Jordan Witt won the first race with the Chevron, after Lefterov’s attack broke down when his Lotus stopped.
The second race, in very wet conditions, was a better race for Lefterov. The Bulgarian, who had also won both races of the Euro Series by Nova Race at Misano last weekend, finished almost 30 seconds clear of the KTM X-Bow of Halek and Ebner and the Sin R1 of Still and Guelden.
Race 1 – 1. Chevron Cars (Clutton/Witt) Chevron, 2. Ekris Motorsport (Knap/Severs) BMW, 3. Maserati (Curti/Curti) Maserati.
Race 2 – 1. ASC Bulavto Racing (Lefterov) Lotus, 2. ZaWotec #sport (Halek/Ebner) KTM, 3. Sofia Car Motorsport (Still/Guelden) Sin.Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup
John Dean II secured his first Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup series championship for Sick Sideways Racing at Road Atlanta. The title comes after Dean finished second in 2014, and third in both 2012 and 2013.
Dean won Round 11, his fourth win of the year. Patrick Gallagher won Friday’s Round 12 at Road Atlanta, and with Dean finishing fifth he had enough of a points gap to survive Gallagher’s challenge.
Dean took a decisive and important victory in Thursday’s Round 11 running a wet setup, in a race held in mixed, primarily wet conditions. The race featured four laps of full-course yellow and several cars involved in an accident, but with no driver injuries. Drake Kemper was second with Nathaniel Sparks third to complete a Sick Sideways podium sweep.
In Friday’s Round 12, Gallagher took the lead from Dean during the race and held it through to the finish for his third win of the year.
The weekend also featured the announcement of the introductory price for the new Global Mazda MX-5 Cup race car, $53,000, and a thrilling battle in the Skip Barber class. Entering Friday’s Round 12, Robby Foley led Sam Adams by one point and Ben Albano by three. At the conclusion of Round 12, Foley won that class title.
Race 1 — 1. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean II), 2. Sick Sideways Racing (Drake Kemper), 3. Sick Sideways Racing (Nathaniel Sparks)
Race 2 — 1. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Patrick Gallagher), 2. Copeland Motorsports (Dean Copeland), 3. Sick Sideways Racing (Nathaniel Sparks)IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites
Kenton Koch closed his championship-winning season in style in IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites, winning his 10th and 11th races in the 14-race season.
By doing so, Koch also completed a season-long sweep of the races by rather tall drivers. Koch and Clark Toppe, who won the other three races and finished second in the championship, are 6’4”-plus. It also means John Church’s JDC Motorsports team has swept the season, and Koch, Toppe and Matt McMurry finished top three in points.
Koch’s win in Thursday’s Round 13 made him the first Lites 1 driver to win double digit races in a season since Tristan Nunez in 2012, when Nunez won 11 races. Koch led flag-to-flag Thursday in the 21-lap, 30-minute race, beating another teammate of his, Matt McMurry, by 4.871 seconds.
Friday’s Round 14, also held in overcast, mixed and frequently rainy conditions in the morning, saw Koch win once more. On this occasion Koch won by a much greater margin, 17.936 seconds, following another flag-to-flag triumph in the 24-lap, 45-minute race.
Patron ESM had a particularly good weekend with its trio of open-wheel rising stars; Andrew Hobbs, Max Hanratty and James Dayson posting best finishes of fifth, sixth and ninth respectively in the 20-plus car fields.
Race 1 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry), 3. Performance Tech Motorsports (Robert Alon)
Race 2 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry), 3. Performance Tech Motorsports (Austin Versteeg)GT Sports Club
The final round of the inaugural GT Sports Club season took place at Misano. Max Bianchi won the overall title, while Martin Lanting won the Iron Cup.
On a wet Misano circuit Mario Cordoni won the Qualifying Race and the AF Corse driver therefore started the final race from pole position. Bianchi managed to pass Cordoni into turn one, but Cordoni quickly regained the lead.
Bianchi followed Cordoni for most of the race, but seven minutes from the end the Kessel Racing driver moved into the lead. Cordoni was determined to win his fourth consecutive race and passed Bianchi again. A problem late in the race for Lanting meant he dropped behind rival Louis-Philippe Soenen, but the Dutchman finished the race and claimed the Iron Cup title.
Race – 1. AF Corse (Cordoni) Ferrari, 2. Kessel Racing (Bianchi) Ferrari, 3. Villorba Corse (Mezard) Ferrari.Supercar Challenge
Forty-two cars raced at Spa-Francorchamps in this weekend’s Supercar Challenge round, with a Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo taking a double victory.
On Saturday it was Roger Grouwels in the Viper who took an early lead. The Dutchman had no time to relax as Tomas Enge closed in on him and on lap three the Czech driver passed the Viper. After the stops Yasser Shahin was still in the lead and none of the other drivers was able to challenge the Lamborghini.
In race two the Viper led the race early on, ahead of the SRT Corvette and the Reiter Lamborghini. After the pit stops the Corvette and Viper swapped positions, but not for long. Eventually Enge passed all of them and secured Reiter’s second victory of the weekend.
Race 1 – 1. Reiter Engineering (Enge/Shahin) Lamborghini, 2. Storm-Tag Point Motorsport (Storm/Bouwhuis) BMW, 3. Team RaceArt (Grouwels/Snoeks) Viper.
Race 2 – 1. Reiter Engineering (Enge/Shahin) Lamborghini, 2. Team RaceArt (Grouwels/Snoeks) Viper, 3. DayVTec (Koebolt/Caransa) Volvo.
Tony DiZinno contributed to this report