Seven race series and eight reports on the menu for this weeks Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup. The ADAC GT Masters season finale at Hockenheim, as well as the Supercar Challenge round at Spa-Francorchamps and the Super GT race at the new Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. At Road Atlanta the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA, IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and Mazda MX-5 Cup raced in their final weekend of the season.
ADAC GT Masters
René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde came to Hockenheim leading the championship and secured the title in the first race on Saturday, without having to fight for it.
In race one the Prosperia C. Abt Racing Audi was outside the points, with rival Jaap van Lagen’s GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche in third place. However, a mistake during the pit stop resulted in Van Lagen leaving the pits 0.394s early, which meant he was given a drive-through penalty. Van Lagen dropped out of the top ten, handing the drivers’ title to Rast and Van der Linde. The BKK MOBIL OIL Zakspeed Mercedes led most of the race, but was beaten in the end by the Callaway Competition Corvette of Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth, which was 14 seconds behind after the pit stops.
The final race was a Corvette show. Keilwitz and Callaway Competition teammate Andreas Simonsen had a six-second lead over the third placed Schubert BMW at the halfway mark, when Wirth took over from Keilwitz. Simonsen’s teammate Toni Seiler spun his Corvette, causing a brief safety car period. At the restart Wirth successfully defended his lead, until the safety car was deployed again two laps later. After the second restart Wirth pulled away and took the team’s sixth win of 2014, but as the Prosperia C. Abt Racing Audi of new champions Rast and Van der Linde finished sixth, the Audi team took the teams’ title as well.
Van der Linde/Rast won the championship with 214 points, with Van Lagen on 188 and Keilwitz on 184.
Race 1 – 1. Callaway Competition (Keilwitz/Wirth) Corvette, 2. BKK MOBIL OIL Zakspeed (Ludwig/Schlegelmilch) Mercedes, 3. Tonino Team Herberth (Ragginger/Renauer) Porsche.
Race 2 – 1. Callaway Competition (Keilwitz/Wirth) Corvette, 2. GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport (Van Lagen/Engelhart) Porsche, 3. HTP Motorsport (Götz/Stolz) Mercedes.
Super GT – GT500
The first time ever the Super GT series went to Thailand resulted in a victory for the No.36 PETRONAS TOM’S RC F of Kazuki Nakajima and James Rossiter. The No. 46 S Road MOLA Nissan GT-R started from pole position and led the race until lap 37. As Satoshi Motoyama vacated his seat for Masataka Yanagida and the team changed tires, the TOM’s team decided not to change tires on the two Lexus. The strategy call resulted in the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S RC F of Daisuke Ito and Andrea Caldarelli taking the lead and the No. 36 Lexus taking third, behind the No. 46 Nissan.
Yanagida caught Ito and moved back into the lead on lap 44. Nakajima caught Yanagida a couple of laps later and the two fought for the lead, until the Nissan suffered an engine problem and retired from the race. The TOM’s Lexus drivers were now first and second, followed by the No. 24 D’station ADVAN Nissan GT-R.
Having had problems with its gearbox earlier in the race, whilst battling for the lead, Michael Krumm and Daiki Sasaki fought back, but the No. 24 D’station ADVAN GT-R ran out of time and finished 1.980s behind the race winning Lexus after 66 laps. Hironobu Yasuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira in the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R also passed the , finishing almost seven seconds behind the race winners.
Race – 1. PETRONAS TOM’S (Nakajima/Rossiter) Lexus, 2. D’station ADVAN (Krumm/Sasaki) Nissan, 3. CALSONIC IMPUL (Yasuda/De Oliveira) Nissan.
Super GT – GT300
The Super GT GT300 class saw Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak starting from pole position in the No. 99 i MOBILE AAS Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Thai kept the No. 3 B-MAX NDDP Nissan GT-R of Kazuki Hoshino behind him for the first half of the race. After 15 laps the gap to the second placed Nissan was already 10 seconds, but the gap was reduced when Inthraphuvasak was hit by a GT500 car. When he came in for his pit stop on lap 26, the gap was still some five seconds.
After the stops Alexandre Imperatori pulled away from Nissan driver Lucas Ordonez and the No. 7 Studie BMW Z4 GT3 of Jörg Müller. With ten laps remaining Imperatori was four seconds ahead of Ordonez, but then disaster struck. The Porsche ran over debris, which caused a slow puncture and forced Imperatori to make an extra pit stop. Ordonez inherited the lead and in the remaining laps he managed to keep Müller’s BMW behind, taking his first Super GT victory by finishing just 0.862s ahead Müller after 61 laps.
Race – 1. B-MAX NDDP (Hoshino/Ordonez) Nissan, 2. Studie (Müller/Ara) BMW, 3. Goodsmile Hatsune Miku (Taniguchi/Kataoka) BMW.
Guest drivers Phil Keen and Shaun Balfe claimed victory in the first of two Supercar Challenge races at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. It was the RaceArt Viper that took the lead from Volvo driver Kelvin Snoeks on lap seven. Robert de Graaff pulled away at the front and handed over the Viper to teammate Roger Grouwels with a 20-second lead. After the stops Phil Keen rapidly closed the gap to the Viper and overtook it for the lead in the race. Keen was never under pressure from that moment and went on to win race one.
In the rain on Sunday it was the BMW Z4 GT3 of Jan Storm and Niels Bouwhuis that went on to win. Snoeks led until the pit stops, but retired soon after he had completed his stop. Bouwhuis rejoined the race in the lead after the stops, but was given a stop and go for a short stop, handing over the lead to the Martino Rosso Ferrari. The BMW driver rejoined in second place and battled with Balfe for second place, finishing just two-tenths ahead of the Ferrari. The Martino Rosso Ferrari was given a time penalty, resulting in Bouwhuis and Jan Storm inheriting the win, ahead of Balfe and Keen.
Race 1 – 1. Balfe Motorsport (Balfe/Keen) Ferrari, 2. Team Raceart (De Graaff/Grouwels) Viper, 3. HorsePower Racing (Bailey/Schulz) Aston Martin.
Race 2 – 1. Storm-Tag Point Racing (Storm/Bouwhuis) BMW, 2. Balfe Motorsport (Balfe/Keen) Ferrari, 3. Martino Rosso Racing (Herber/Lanting) Ferrari.
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
Colin Thompson has captured the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA championship following a drama-filled pair of races at Road Atlanta.
In Thursday’s Round 15, Angel Benitez Jr. seized the win opportunity when it presented itself. Benitez made a pass on Michael Lewis under the bridge with three and a half minutes remaining, as the pair lapped another car. Benitez held on by 0.961 of a second for the win with Lewis second and Thompson third. Thompson lost second on the opening lap when he ran wide at the exit of the last turn. That left Lewis on 235 points, Thompson on 234 and Benitez on 228 heading into Friday’s final round.
The title came down to a dramatic and wet season finale, Round 16, on Friday. Held immediately after the deluge that soaked the fourth TUDOR Championship practice session, the GT3 cars were essentially guinea pigs for the still wet track.
The conditions caught out Lewis, Sloan Urry and Kasey Kuhlman, who all spun out on the first lap. The track dried out and Thompson maintained a gap to Benitez around two or three seconds, but Benitez got stronger as the race went on. However, despite his attempts to pass, he was unable to get around Thompson and fell short by just 0.685 of a second. Thompson took his third win of the year (Watkins Glen weekend sweep). Christina Nielsen banked the final podium spot.
Thompson won the championship with 254 points, with Benitez on 246 and Lewis on 241.
Race 1 – 1. Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport (Angel Benitez Jr.), 2. Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian (Michael Lewis), 3. Kelly-Moss Motorsports (Colin Thompson)
Race 2 – 1. Kelly-Moss Motorsports (Colin Thompson), 2. Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport (Angel Benitez Jr.), 3. NGT Motorsport (Christina Nielsen)
IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites
From pole, 16-year-old Matt McMurry claimed his first win of the IMSA Prototype Lites season with a flag-to-flag performance in Thursday’s 30-minute Round 13. McMurry switched from Performance Tech Motorsports to JDC Motorsports at Watkins Glen, and followed through on the promise he’s shown all year, including back-to-back podiums at the prior race weekend at VIR. Jon Brownson ended second with Christian Potolicchio third. Potolicchio’s drive was particularly impressive, coming from 13th on the grid after a qualifying accident.
New series champion Mikhail Goikhberg took the win in Friday’s race two, held in completely wet conditions. Goikhberg led the opening seven laps before Madison Snow took over the lead on Lap 8, but an apparent loss of drive halted the Extreme Speed Motorsports’ driver’s charge on Lap 19. Goikhberg took over the lead that lap and won his ninth race in 14 races this season.
Master’s class drivers Enzo Potolicchio and John Falb drove well to second and third, en route to each of their best results of the season. Meanwhile Goikhberg later would finish sixth in PC in his TUDOR Championship debut on Saturday, driving the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry with Stephen Simpson and Chris Miller.
Race 1 – 1. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry), 2. Eurosport Racing (Jon Brownson), 3. 8Star Motorsports (Christian Potolicchio)
Race 2 – 1. JDC Motorsports (Mikhail Goikhberg), 2. 8Star Motorsports (Enzo Potolicchio), 3. ONE Motorsports (John Falb)
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America
Dillon Machavern came up just 1.635 seconds short of a weekend sweep in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo season finale. He won Thursday’s Round 11 and finished second to the pair of Corey Lewis and Aaron Povoledo in Friday’s Round 12, the season finale. Machavern clinched the Amateur title; Kevin Conway had already clinched the overall championship at VIR.
Machavern led only the final four laps in Thursday’s Round 11 after Pierre Kleinubing seemed poised to capture the win. Lewis and Povoledo led the final 14 laps in Friday’s Round 12 for the win there.
There were a number of guest drivers racing. Kleinubing ended sixth (Round 11) and third (Round 12), Andy Lally, sharing with Conway, ended ninth and fourth, Terry Borcheller’s shared entry ended 12th and 10th and the Justin Marks/Lawson Aschenbach car was 13th and 12th.
Race 1 – 1. Mitchum Motorsports (Dillon Machavern), 2. Rick Ware Racing (Cody Ware), 3. Musante-Courtney Racing (Corey Lewis, Aaron Povoledo)
Race 2 – 1. Musante-Courtney Racing (Corey Lewis, Aaron Povoledo), 2. Mitchum Motorsports (Dillon Machavern), 3. O’Gara Motorsports (Pierre Kleinubing)
Mazda MX-5 Cup
Sebastian Landy captured a Road Atlanta weekend sweep in Mazda MX-5 Cup for his first two career series victories, while Kenton Koch secured the championship merely by starting the second-to-last race.
Landy won Thursday evening’s Round 11 following a come-from-behind drive from 12th place after an off-course excursion. He went from fifth to the lead in the final two laps after a restart, en route to the win. Friday’s Round 12, held just before the thunderstorm that affected the TUDOR Championship practice, was held on a damp track. Landy led 17 of 23 laps en route to the win.
New champion Koch finished fourth in Round 11 despite starting on pole, but rebounded to second in Round 12. CJ Wilson Racing posted three top-five results with Patrick Gallagher fifth on Thursday, then Joey Bickers and Devin Jones season-bests third and fourth on Friday.
Race 1 – 1. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Sebastian Landy), 2. Copeland Motorsports (Dean Copeland), 3. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean II)
Race 2 – 1. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Sebastian Landy), 2. Alara Racing (Kenton Koch), 3. CJ Wilson Racing (Joey Bickers)
Tony DiZinno contributed to this Weekend Racing Roundup