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Weekend Racing Roundup, 11.16

Catch up on the weekend’s sports car action from around the world…

Photo: Nissan

Photo: Nissan

The final Weekend Racing Roundup features the final rounds of the 2015 Autobacs Super GT series and the Australian GT Championship. Nissan claimed their second title at Motegi, while Christopher Mies gave Audi something to celebrate ‘down under’. Meanwhile in Europe Gruppo Peroni’s 6 Hours of Rome was won by Avelon Formula.

Super GT (GT500)
The six teams still able to win the 2015 Autobacs Super GT series title faced difficult conditions at the Twin Ring Motegi. The first part of the race was completely wet, the second part was dry. KeePer TOM’s driver Andrea Caldarelli, unable to win the title, started from pole position.

Caldarelli led the race from the start, while the title contenders battled for third place. The No. 36 Petronas TOM’s Lexus RC F retired early in the race, which allowed the No. 1 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli to take sixth place.

The No.64 Epson NSX opted to stay out longer and took the lead, but just when it was due in an accident between the No. 46 S Road Mola GT-R and a GT300 car brought out the safety car. Their advantage disappeared and the No. 37 KeePer TOM’s moved back into the lead, followed by the No. 1 Nissan and the No. 100 Raybrig NSX.

In traffic the lead changed twice, but on lap 41 the No. 37 RC F took the lead again and held onto it until the finish. Tsugio Matsuda finished in second place, but with the Calsonic Impul GT-R finishing in fourth place it was enough to claim for Matsuda and Quintarelli to claim the title.

Race – 1. KeePer TOM’s (Caldarelli/Hirakawa) Lexus, 2. Motul Autech (Matsuda/Quintarelli) Nissan, 3. Raybrig (Yamamoto/Izawa) Honda.

Photo: Super GT

Photo: Super GT

Super GT (GT300)
The final race of the 2015 Autobacs Super GT series wouldn’t decided the title anymore, but teams did everything to finish the season on a high. The No. 31 Toyota Prius apr GT of Koki Saga started from pole position and quickly pulled away after the start.

Behind the Prius the two Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 cars of Goodsmile Hatsune Miku and Gainer Tanax battled for second place, while the No. 3 B-MAX NDDP Nissan GT-R crashed out of the race. After 10 laps the hybrid Toyota was already 25 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, a gap that continued to increase with each lap.

A late pit stop after the safety car had come back in meant the Prius lost a lot of time, but thanks to its lead it only dropped to fourth place. On a dry track Yuici Nakayima was again several seconds faster than the other drivers and soon the apr GT team was back in the lead.

Race – 1. apr GT (Saga/Nakayama) Toyota, 2. Goodsmile Hatsune Miku (Taniguchi/Kataoka) Mercedes, 3. Gainer Tanax (Hiranaka/Wirdheim) SLS.

Photo: Audi

Photo: Audi

Australian GT Championship
Christopher Mies secured the 2015 Australian GT Championship title at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand, by taking fourth place in the first race of the final race weekend.

Australian Klark Quinn and Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen won the first race, after Quinn beat Christopher Haase at the start. An incident between Haase and fellow Audi driver Nathan Antunes resulted in a safety car and teams scrambled to get their pit stop out of the way. After the stops Graeme Smyth led, until Van Gisbergen charged through.

In race two it was Van Gisbergen who started from pole, but after the compulsory pit stops Erebus Motorsport driver Morgan Haber who had taken the lead. In the final laps of the race Haber battled with local hero Craig Baird, but the Kiwi driver was unable to keep Haber from scoring his first Australian GT win.

Van Gisbergen also secured victory in the Highlands 101 race, the non-championship race that was held after the final round of the 2015 Australian GT season.

Race 1 – 1. Darrel Lea (Van Gisbergen/Quinn) McLaren, 2. Trass Family Motorsport (Lester/Smyth) Ferrari, 3. Erebus GT Motorsport (Twigg/Davies) Mercedes.

Race 2 – 1. Erebus GT Motorsport (Haber) Mercedes, 2. STM (Taylor/Baird) Porsche, 3. Trass Family Motorsport (Lester/Smyth) Ferrari.

Photo: Gruppo Peroni Race

Photo: Gruppo Peroni Race

6 Hours of Rome
Ivan Bellarosa and Guglielmo Belotti won the 6 Hours of Rome at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. The Avelon Formula drivers completed 211 laps with their Wolf GB08, finishing one lap ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Giancarlo Fisichella, Motoaki Ishikawa and Michele Rugolo. Scuderia Biffis took third place with its Tatuus.

After five straight wins, including four for AF Corse, Avelon Formula claimed the first win for a prototype since 2007. Oregon Team’s Renault R.S. 01 started from pole, but problems resulted in the team finishing outside the top three.

Race – 1. Avelon Formula (Bellarosa/Belotti) Wolf, 2. AF Corse (Ishikawa/Fisichella/Rugolo) Ferrari, 3. Scuderia Biffis (Biffis/Rinaldi) Tatuus

Marcel ten Caat (@marceltencaat) is a contributor to Sportscar365 and other publications including

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