This week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup has quick reports and results of the Super GT round Fuji, the International GT Open season opener at the Nürburgring, the British GT Bank Holiday weekend race at Rockingham plus the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and Mazda MX-5 Cup races from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Super GT GT500
The Fuji GT 500km race was the second round of the 2014 Autobacs Super GT Series. Joao Paulo De Oliveira started from pole position and his No. 12 Calsonic Impul Nissan GT-R retained the lead at the start of the race. De Oliveira’s lead was cut short when a GT300 car crashed and the safety car was deployed, but as soon as the safety car came in again he pulled away again. Satoshi Motoyama retired from second position when his Nissan caught fire.
After the pit stops De Oliveira’s teammate Hironobu Yasuda quickly caught his rivals again and started chasing the now leading No. 23 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda. Matsuda had a comfortable lead, but on lap 69 suddenly stopped. Matsuda returned the car to the pits, but the No. 12 GT-R was back in the lead. Yasuda and De Oliveira managed to keep the other cars behind in the remaining laps, despite suffering from excessive vibration in the car, and won the second race of the season, ahead of the No 1. Zent Cerumo Lexus RC F.
Race: 1. Team Impul (Yasuda/De Oliveira) Nissan GT-R, 2. Lexus Team Zent Cerumo (Tachikawa/Hirate) Lexus RC F, 3. Lexus Team LeMans Eneos (Oshima/Kunimoto) Lexus RC F.
Super GT GT300
The GT300 race at Fuji was decided in the second part of the race. An early safety car due to the No. 88 Lamborghini crashing into the barriers and then another one for a GT500 car on fire resulted in a number of teams making their stops during the second safety car period. The teams that had not opted for a pit stop slowed down as the temperatures began to rise and when every team had made a second stop it was the No. 0 Mugen CR-Z GT Hybrid that had taken the lead.
The No. 4 Goodsmile Hatsune Miku BMW Z4 GT3 was unable to chase the leading CR-Z, instead Tatsuya Kataoka had to defend his position against Bjorn Wirdheim in the No. 11 Mercedes. However, with just 10 laps remaining Nakayama began to get problems with the handling of the No. 0 and with six laps remaining he spun at Dunlop Corner. Kataoka and Wirdheim passed him and the battle for the lead began. Whatever Wirdheim tried Kataoka blocked all his attacks and went on to win the team’s second consecutive victory.
Race: 1. Goodsmile Hatsune Miku (Taniguchi/Kataoka) BMW Z4 GT3, 2. Gainer Dixcel (Wirdheim/Hiranaka) Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, 3. Team Mugen CR-Z GT (Nakayama/Nojiri) Honda CR-Z Hybrid.
International GT Open
The Corvettes dominated the opening round of the 2014 season at the Nürburgring. V8 Racing’s Nicky Pastorelli and Miguel Ramos won the first race on Saturday, while Nick Catsburg and Maxime Soulet won the second race on Sunday with their Selleslagh Racing Team Corvette.
Pole-sitter Catsburg was tapped into a spin by Ramos in race 1, allowing Andrea Montermini to take the lead early on. A safety car between laps 6 and 11 bunched up the field and after the stops Pastorelli had taken the lead. Soulet brought the Selleslagh Corvette back to third, but was unable to fight for the win.
On Sunday the Selleslagh Corvette eased to victory. Pastorelli passed Soulet at the start, but into turn 3 the Belgian driver was back in front. The two Corvettes raced bumper-to-bumper until the pit stops. After the stops Catsburg led by 10 seconds from Joel Camathias. The Swiss driver was unable to hold that position and it was Zampieri who finished second, before Schiro.
Race 1: 1. V8 Racing (Pastorelli/Ramos) Corvette C6.R, 2. SMP Racing (Mavlanov/Zampieri) Ferrari 458 Italia, 3. Selleslagh Racing Team (Soulet/Catsburg) Corvette C6.R.
Race 2: 1. Selleslagh Racing Team (Soulet/Catsburg) Corvette C6.R, 2. SMP Racing (Mavlanov/Zampieri) Ferrari 458 Italia,, 3. Scuderia Villorba Corse (Montermini/Schiro) Ferrari 458 Italia.
British GT Championship
Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood took their first win in the British GT Championship in the Bank Holiday weekend’s race at Rockingham this afternoon. In a race that had drama, penalties and a double safety car period a different strategy and some luck helped the FF Corse Ferrari to win the race.
The FF Corse Ferrari stayed out when the pit window opened and when the safety car came out for the second time they gained valuable time. After the safety car had come in again Barff led by almost 40 seconds and he held onto that lead, despite getting a drive-through for exiting the pit while the light was red. He finished the race 18 seconds ahead of the Ecurie Ecosse BMW.
Race: 1. FF Corse (Barff/Eastwood) Ferrari 458 Italia, 2. Ecurie Ecosse (Attard/Sims) BMW Z4 GT3, 3. Triple 8 (Johnston/Hines) BMW Z4 GT3.
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA
Former Formula 3 open-wheel talent Michael Lewis took home a weekend sweep of the two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.
Lewis completed a flag-to-flag sweep in Race 1, with a win by 1.050 seconds over JDX Racing’s Sloan Urry and another ex-open-wheel driver in Jesse Lazare. In Race 2, Lewis held off Colin Thompson and Kasey Kuhlman.
Race 1 – 1. Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian (Michael Lewis), 2. JDX Racing (Sloan Urry), 3. Door Doctor/Moorespeed (Jesse Lazare)
Race 2 – 1. Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian (Michael Lewis), 2. Kelly-Moss Motorsports (Colin Thompson), 3. Wright Motorsports (Kasey Kuhlman)
Mazda MX-5 Cup
In Sebring, Kenton Koch (Race 1) and John Dean II (Race 2) scored the two race wins. At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the races were reversed as Dean took the win in Round 3, with Koch, of Glendora, Calif., winning in his home state in Round 4.
Dean led the opening seven and the final nine laps in Friday’s 22-lap Round 3, taking the win from Koch and Sebastian Landy. In Round 4, Koch took the lead from polesitter Dean on Lap 2 to lead the remainder of the 18-lap race on Saturday morning and take his second win of the season. Dean was second and Landy third.
Race 1 – 1. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean), 2. Alara Racing (Kenton Koch), 3. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Sebastian Landy)
Race 2 – 1. Alara Racing (Kenton Koch), 2. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean), 3. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Sebastian Landy)
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series
Andrew Palmer followed up his win in the Pirelli World Challenge GT ranks last Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park with a pair of victories in the two Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.
The 19-year-old rising star, who originally hails from Chicago but now lives in California, led all but three of the 30 laps in Race 1. In Race 2, he led all but five of 33 for a total of 55 of 63 laps out front this weekend.
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge regulars Al Carter, Tim Bell and John Farano scored Lamborghini podiums this weekend.
Race 1 – 1. GMG Racing (Andrew Palmer), 2. Change Racing (Kevin Conway), 3. Mitchum Motorsports (Al Carter/Aleks Altberg)
Race 2 – 1. GMG Racing (Andrew Palmer), 2. Mitchum Motorsports (Tim Bell), 3. Jota Corse (John Farano)