Four series in this week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup. The Avon Tyres British GT Championship was decided at Donington Park this weekend, while the Supercar Challenge made its annual trip to Brands Hatch. In Australia Sandown Raceway hosted the penultimate round of the Australian GT Championship, while the Italian GT teams were racing at Vallelunga. Here’s a recap of this weekend’s action.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship
Four teams were still in with a chance of winning the Avon Tyres British GT Championship ahead of the final round of the season at Donington Park this weekend. Ecurie Ecosse drivers Marco Attard and Alexander Sims led Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam by two points, with Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin in third and Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle in fourth.
In a dramatic first 25 minutes of the race two of the four title contenders dropped out of the race. Griffin and Mowle hit each other, resulting in the retirement of the Aston Martin and a slightly damaged BMW. Soon after Attard hit the GT4 Beechdean AMR Aston, causing a steering arm failure on the Ecurie Ecosse BMW and the early retirement of the points leaders.
The TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3s battled for the lead, with Matt Bell and Derek Johnston eventually beating teammates Jody Fannin and Andrew Jarman after the pit stops. Bell went on to win the race, while Fannin was caught by Joe Osborne. The two cars made contact on the final lap, sending the BMW into a spin. As a result the Triple Eight Racing BMW finished in fourth place, ahead of Beechdean AMR’s Jonny Adam. Fifth place, however, was enough to clinch the title for Adam and Howard.
Race – 1. TF Sport (Johnston/Bell) Aston Martin, 2. TF Sport (Fannin/Jarman) Aston Martin, 3. Team Russia by Barwell (Keen/Minshaw) BMW.Australian GT Championship
The penultimate round of the 2015 Australian GT Championship took place at Sandown Raceway, near Melbourne, Australia. Two races were held this weekend, with Nathan Antunes trying to defend an 11-point lead over Christopher Mies.
In race one Antunes took the lead of the race when the two Ferrari 458 Italia GT3s in front of him pitted for their compulsory stops. The Skwirk/Beechwood Audi driver pushed hard, but then went off into the gravel trap while trying to pass a slower car. Antunes dropped behind Mies, who eventually finished in third place. Antunes was classified seventh, with Grant Denyer and Tony D’Alberto taking victory in race one.
Mies attacked right from the start in race two and soon he was in second place, with Antunes behind him in fourth place. The German, however, was unable to keep his position and dropped back to fourth, just ahead of Antunes.
Mies pitted early, while Antunes opted to stay out longer. As the pit window closed Mies’ teammate Ryan Millier was in second place, behind Tony Quinn’s McLaren, but quickly closed the gap to Quinn before taking the lead and subsequent victory. As a result Mies now leads the championship.
Race 1 – Maranello Motorsport (Denyer/D’Alberto) Ferrari, 2. Erebus Motorsport GT (Haber) Mercedes, 3. Jamec-Pem Racing (Mies/Millier) Audi.
Race 2 – Jamec-Pem Racing (Mies/Millier) Audi, 2. Erebus Motorsport GT (Haber) Mercedes, 3. M-Motorsport (Barbour/Wood) Lamborghini.Campionato Italiano Gran Turismo
The Campionato Italiano Gran Turismo’s fifth round of the 2015 season was held at Vallelunga this weekend. On Saturday Lamborghini drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Alberto Viberti won by a second, while Ombra Racing’s Alex Frassineti and Matteo Beretta won the second race on Sunday.
Ebimotors Porsche driver Vito Postiglione took the lead in the first race, with Imperiale Racing’s Viberti following him in second place. Two safety cars before the pit window opened bunched up the field and all the teams opted to pit behind the safety car. Bortolotti rejoined in the lead, ahead Postiglione’s teammate Vincenzo Donativi. On lap 15 Stefano Gattuso passed Donativi, who dropped down the order. Gattuso was unable to close the gap to Bortolotti in the remaining 13 laps.
Bortolotti started the second race from pole position and pulled away from Alex Frassineti. As the pit window opened the gap between first and second was three seconds, but with the Lamborghini team getting a time penalty for winning the first race, Viberti rejoined in fourth place.
Andrea Amici moved into the lead ahead of Beretta, until he went wide at Curvone. This allowed Beretta to take the lead with Lorenzo Casè in second place. Casè then went off at Cimini, which handed that position to Nicolo Schirò and Viberti in third place. There was no further drama and after 31 laps the Ombra Ferrari crossed the line in first place.
Race 1 – 1. Imperiale Racing (Bortolotti/Viberti) Lamborghini, 2. Scuderia Baldini 27 (Casè/Gattuso) Ferrari, 3. Villorba Corse (Schirò/Berton) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. Ombra Racing (Beretta/Frassineti) Ferrari, 2. Villorba Corse (Schirò/Berton) Ferrari, 3. Imperiale Racing (Bortolotti/Viberti) Lamborghini.
The Supercar Challenge teams crossed the English Channel to race at Brands Hatch this weekend for the sixth round of the championship. The Dutch and Belgian teams were joined by a number of British guest entries.
There was plenty of action in the first race, with Henry Zumbrink and his Volvo taking the lead into Druids on the opening lap. Several other drivers went off into the gravel traps causing a first safety car, but Zumbrink held onto the lead until the pit stops. During the pit stops Wesley Caransa took the lead, but on lap 29 Shipex SRT Racing Corvette driver Archie Hamilton overtook him. Hamilton finished 5.612 seconds ahead of Zumbrink.
Zumbrink was the first driver into Druids in race two and quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Contact between Max Koebolt (Volvo) and Roger Grouwels (Viper) resulted in a safety car. What followed was chaos, with several teams bringing their drivers into the pits too early and other teams stopping too short. Zumbrink was one of the drivers that was penalized. After the pit stops the BMW Z4 GT3 of Kevin Clarke was leading the race, but he was unable to keep Archie Hamilton behind. The Corvette driver overtook him in Paddock Hill Bend and went on to win his second race.
Race 1 – 1. Shipex SRT Racing (Vandierendonck/Hamilton) Corvette, 2. Volvo Reede Racing by DayVTec (Zumbrink) Volvo, 3. Team RaceArt (Grouwels/Snoeks) Viper.
Race 2 – 1. Shipex SRT Racing (Vandierendonck/Hamilton) Corvette, 2. ING Sport (Clarke) BMW, 3. EMG Motorsport (Lamster/Molenaar) Porsche.