It was a busy weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series in action at Silverstone and the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza. But that wasn’t all, as the Nürburgring 24 Qualifying Race took place as well in Germany, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe got its season underway at Monza and over in the US Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup, IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama raced at NOLA Motorsports Park.
BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert won the qualifying race for the Nürburgring 24 hours on Sunday. The No. 20 BMW Z4 GT3 of Dominik Baumann, Claudia Hürtgen, Jens Klingmann and Martin Tomczyk finished the six-hour race a full lap ahead of the rest of the field.
Uwe Alzen, Marco Holzer, Mike Stursberg and Maximilian Götz in the No. 8 Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 started the race from pole position and were on target for a race victory, but on the last lap a technical problem meant Götz was forced to retire the car.
Race – 1. BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert (Baumann/Hürtgen/Klingmann/Tomczyk) BMW, 2. Manthey Racing (Breuer/Cairoli/Müller) Porsche, 3. Black Falcon Team TMD Friction (Gerwin/Metzger/Eng/Plesse) Porsche.Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe
Patrick Kujala scored a double victory in the opening round of the 2015 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofe Europe at Monza, which also saw the new Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo make its debut.
The 18-year old Finnish driver dominated the Monza round, taking pole positions for both races and converting them into race victories. On Saturday Kujala finished 10.415s ahead of Sergio Campana and Fabrizio Crestani, while Bonaldi teammate Florian Spengler took third place.
On Sunday Kujala beat experienced drivers Daniel Zampieri and Roman Mavlanov, finishing eight seconds clear of the Antonelli Motorsport car. Italian-Japanese duo Kei Francesco Cozzolino and Shinya Sean Michimi completed the podium.
Race 1 — 1. Bonaldi Motorsport (Kujala), 2. Team Lazarus (Campana/Crestani), 3. Bonaldi Motorsport (Spengler)
Race 2 — 1. Bonaldi Motorsport (Kujala), 2. Antonelli Motorsport (Zampieri/Mavlanov), 3. Vincenzo Sospiri Racing (Shinya/Cozzolino).
Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup
Dean Copeland swept Rounds 3 and 4 of the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup season at NOLA Motorsports Park, scoring wins after Drake Kemper and John Dean II won at Sebring.
Copeland started fourth in Saturday’s first race of the weekend but emerged ahead courtesy of a last lap pass at Turn 10 on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn road course on Patrick Gallagher. Copeland’s pass for the lead was the fifth lead change in the 22-lap, 45-minute race.
Gallagher, who also came up a mere fraction of a second short of winning in Round 2 at Sebring, fell to third behind Chad McCumbee, driving in one of his and Stevan McAleer’s run cars, and deputizing for regular driver Charles Paquin.
In Sunday’s Round 4, Copeland enjoyed a more straightforward win despite the track being wetter, then drying over the course of the race. A dryer setup held paved the way for Copeland to win.
Race 1 — 1. Copeland Motorsports (Dean Copeland), 2. McCumbee McAleer Racing (Chad McCumbee), 3. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Patrick Gallagher)
Race 2 — 1. Copeland Motorsports (Dean Copeland), 2. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean II), 3. ALARA Racing (Ara Malkhassian)
IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites
Kenton Koch won both Rounds 3 and 4 of the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites at NOLA Motorsports Park, but both races were affected by cautions, incidents and rain.
Koch led flag-to-flag in the 11-lap, 30-minute Saturday race, which barely got any green flag running. Six cars were eliminated from the race in accidents, with the second yellow flag due to a five-car accident that forced the race to end under yellow. Still, the win was a banner result for John Church’s JDC Motorsports squad, which delivered a podium sweep with Koch leading teammates Clark Toppe and Matt McMurry.
Koch led the truncated four-lap, 13-minute Sunday race from start-to-finish. IMSA officials ended the race, originally scheduled for 30 minutes, early due to unsuitable racing conditions created by heavy, persistent rain. The race was yellow-flagged after 13 minutes and red-flagged eight minutes later, with the checkered flag unfurled shortly thereafter.
Race 1 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. JDC Motorsports (Clark Toppe), 3. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry)
Race 2 — 1. JDC Motorsports (Kenton Koch), 2. JDC Motorsports (Matt McMurry), 3. Performance Tech Motorsports (Austin Versteeg)
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
IMSA Scholarship winner Elliott Skeer secured his first win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA this weekend, in Saturday’s Round 3 at NOLA Motorsports Park, while Sunday’s race was scratched due to rain and heavy standing water on course.
Skeer held off a race-long challenge from Andrew Longe in the opening race of the weekend, which was held under cloudy skies but without any rain. Jesse Lazare, who swept the season-opening Sebring rounds, recovered to finish sixth after an opening lap spin dropped him to 20th.
IMSA is determining whether what was Sunday’s Round 4 will be made up at another race this season. A venue and date would need to be determined.
Race 1 — 1. Wright Motorsports (Elliott Skeer), 2. Fall-Line Motorsports (Andrew Longe), 3. Wright Motorsports (Kasey Kuhlman)
Marcel ten Caat contributed to this report