This week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup takes you to Germany, France and the UK. The ADAC GT Masters season kicked off at Oschersleben, the second round of the VLN series was held at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, while over at Paul Ricard the International GT Open season got underway, while the Britcar 24 Hour returned at Silverstone.
ADAC GT Masters
Oschersleben hosted the opening round of the 2015 ADAC GT Masters season, which saw the Bentley Continental GT3 make its debut in the series. Bentley Team HTP started the season with a double pole position.
Luca Stolz was unable to convert his pole into Bentley’s first win, as GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport driver Christian Engelhart passed him before the first corner.
Engelhart pulled out a two-second lead, before handing over to teammate Klaus Bachler. The Austrian extended the lead to almost nine seconds during his stint. Rain caused Bentley driver Clemens Schmid to crash his car into the barrier five minutes from the end, which led to finish behind the safety car.
In race two pole-sitter Jeroen Bleekemolen lost the lead on the second corner, while battling with Zakspeed driver Luca Ludwig. As the two fought for the lead, Corvette driver Daniel Keilwitz passed them both.
What followed was a three-way battle for the lead between Corvette, Bentley and Mercedes. After the driver changes Andreas Wirth looked set to take victory ahead of Bentley driver Luca Stolz, but with just a couple of minutes left a problem resulted in the retirement of the Corvette and Bentley Team HTP giving the Bentley a win on its series debut.
Race 1 – 1. GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport (Engelhart/Bachler) Porsche, 2. Team Zakspeed (Asch/Ludwig) Mercedes, 3. HP Racing (Proczyk/Simonsen) Mercedes.
Race 2 – 1. Bentley Team HTP (Bleekemolen/Stolz) Bentley, 2. Team Zakspeed (Asch/Ludwig) Mercedes, 3. HP Racing (Proczyk/Simonsen) Mercedes.
Round two of the VLN series was held on Saturday, the race being the final opportunity for teams competing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours to test cars and drivers. The brand new Audi R8 LMS took its maiden victory.
In qualifying it was the Lance David Arnold who put the Bentley Continental GT3 on pole position, but in changing conditions it was Audi Sport Team WRT that did everything right.
Christopher Mies and Nordschleife rookie Nico Müller made no mistakes and claimed the win after four hours of racing, having started in 14th place. Pierre Kaffer and Laurens Vanthoor made it an Audi Sport Team WRT 1-2 victory.
Race – 1. Audi Sport Team WRT (Mies/Müller) Audi, 2. Audi Sport Team WRT (Kaffer/Vanthoor) Audi, 3. ROWE Racing (Graf/Hohenadel/Bastian) Mercedes.
International GT Open
The first race weekend with only GT3 cars on the grid resulted in a rather small grid of just 14 cars for race one and 11 for race two. Despite the lack of entries, both races saw plenty of action.
Alessandro Balzan started race one from pole position and the Scuderia Villorba Corse driver was able to pull out a comfortable lead over his rivals during his stint.
When teammate Nicola Benucci took over he had a 33-second lead over Michele Rugolo and Alvaro Parente. Parente passed Rugolo and chased down Benucci, but would miss out on a race win by just two seconds.
In race two, Parente took the lead at the start and the Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 650S was still leading by the time the Portuguese driver pitted.
AF Corse’s Pasin Lathouras and Duncan Cameron returned in front of Parente’s teammate Ramos and battled for the lead, with Thai driver Lathouras claiming victory after 28 laps.
Race 1 – 1. Scuderia Villorba Corse (Balzan/Benucci) Ferrari, 2. Teo Martin Motorsport (Ramos/Parente) McLaren, 3. AF Corse (Lathouras/Rugolo) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. AF Corse (Lathouras/Rugolo) Ferrari, 2. Teo Martin Motorsport (Ramos/Parente) McLaren, 3.AF Corse (Perez Companc/Giammaria) Ferrari.
BRSCC Britcar Dunlop 24 Hour
After a two-year absence, Silverstone hosted a 24-hour race again last weekend. Team LNT’s LMP3 entry led the race until hitting trouble during the night and dropping out of contention for the overall win.
Beechdean AMR moved into the lead around noon as the previous race leaders encountered problems and the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 went on to win the race, completing 529 laps and finishing five laps clear of the second placed Bas Koeten Racing Seat Leon Cup Racer.
Race – 1. Beechdean AMR (Howard/Adam/Whale/Chadwick/Gunn) Aston Martin, 2. Bas Koeten Racing (Bessem/Hilders/Grouwels) Seat, 3. Cor Euser Racing (Prewitt/Brody/MacKinnon/Schulz) Lotus.