BMW Juniors Come of Age with NLS Win
The BMW Junior Team trio of Neil Verhagen, Max Hesse and Daniel Harper took victory in Saturday’s four-hour NLS race to become the youngest winning crew in series history.
The drivers of the No. 44 BMW M6 GT3, with an average age of 19.6 years, beat the Phoenix Racing Audi pairing of Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb, while Axcil Jefferies and Michele di Martino gave Lamborghini its first NLS podium in three years.
The SP9 Pro-Am Car Collection Audi started from pole thanks to Patric Niederhauser’s qualifying efforts, with the Junior Team BMW alongside it for the getaway.
Audi factory driver Niederhauser led the opening lap, while the Car Collection machine faded to seventh at the end as its Pro-Am lineup played out.
The Junior Team received an early drive-through for an infringement at the start but was back at the sharp end and challenging Phoenix for the lead during the second half.
Harper first got ahead with a high-speed overtake on Stippler into Tiergarten, only for the positions to swap at the final round of pit stops. The Northern Irish driver then returned the favor on Stippler at the kink before the chicane on the Grand Prix part of the circuit.
Jefferies and di Martino completed the podium after recovering from a puncture on their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
The Konrad duo finished behind Jakub Giermaziak and Frank Kechele on the road, but the GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG pair was relegated to sixth behind the Dinamic and Huber Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Rs due to a penalty for a Code 60 infraction.
RESULTS: Adenauer Trophy
2 Seas Marks Return with Silverstone 500 Victory
2 Seas Motorsport signaled its racing return after almost six months out by winning the headline round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship season at Silverstone.
Hunter Abbott and Martin Kodric triumphed in the three-hour race sharing the 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, beating the two Barwell Motorsport Lamborghinis.
Abbott established a 30-second lead at the end of the opening stint, putting 2 Seas in control of its first race since January’s Gulf 12 Hours, which it won with McLaren.
The team only relinquished the lead on one occasion, when Barwell pitted Leo Machitski early.
This gave Machitski’s co-driver Dennis Lind the momentum to find a way past Kodric, but Barwell still needed to serve an extra 10 seconds at its next stop due to a success penalty from its result at the previous race.
With 2 Seas cleared to wrap up the victory, Lind’s attention turned to the chasing sister Barwell Lamborghini, which had been running to an alternative fuel strategy.
Sandy Mitchell, who teamed up with Adam Balon, was right on Lind’s tail at the start of his final stint and overtook the Dane around the outside at Stowe on the final lap, although Lind and Machitski still came away with the drivers’ championship lead.
Charlie Eastwood and Giacomo Petrobelli were fourth for TF Sport, ahead of RAM Racing’s Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie.
GT4 honors went to Darren Turner and Matt Topham in a Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
RESULTS: Silverstone 500
***Lars Kern and Porsche set a new road-approved production car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on June 14. The Porsche 911 GT2 RS driven by Kern lapped the 12.9-mile (20.8 km) circuit in 6:43.300, beating Maro Engel’s previous record time in a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series by 4.747 seconds.
***Robin Shute won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, beating double 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas to victory by 36 seconds. Shute scaled the 12.4-mile (20 km) Colorado mountain course in a time of 5:55.246 driving a Wolf GB08. Dumas logged a 6:31.914 effort to rank second in his Champion Racing Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.
***BMW expects to take its new M4 GT3 to more NLS races this year after its competition debut on Saturday was called off due to a crash in practice. “We will do more than that NLS,” said BMW M Motorsport boss Mike Krack. “This was always the plan. We need to check what happened and how we can fix it. But the plan is unchanged: the NLS is not only a reliability thing but also tire testing for the future. We never really communicated a firm plan because things can change.”
***FIA World Endurance Championship driver Andrew Watson has joined the MB Motorsport team as its Hybrid Development Driver, ahead of the powertrain technology’s introduction to the British Touring Car Championship from 2022.
***After taking part in last week’s official test days, GT Open front-runner Vincenzo Sopsiri Racing has committed to a TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa entry with a single Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. Baptiste Moulin, Yuki Nemoto, Martin Rump and Glenn van Berlo will race in Silver Cup.
***Madpanda Motorsport has finalized its 24H Spa Silver Cup roster with the signings of Patrick Kujala and Ricardo Sanchez, who will join team regulars Ezequiel Companc and Rik Breukers in the No. 90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
***DTM Trophy driver Yann Zimmer will join Boutsen Ginion at Spa, sharing the team’s BMW M6 GT3 with Jens Klingmann, Jens Liebhauser and Karim Ojjeh.
***RAM Racing will make its GT4 debut in the 24 Hours of Portimao, which is the next stop on the 24H Series calendar in July. The British team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be driven by Phil Keen, Jon Minshaw and Katarina Kyvalova.
***Iron Lynx has added a ninth series to its 2021 program with an Italian GT Championship Endurance entry for the next round at Mugello. One of its Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s will be driven by Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and 2018 British GT champion Flick Haigh. The other features Andrea Piccini, Rino Mastronardi and Claudio Schiavoni.
***Graff will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its European Le Mans Series trio of Vincent Capillaire, Arnold Robin and Maxime Robin, the French team announced last week. All three drivers are from the Sarthe region of France.
On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge (all Watkins Glen), Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup (Misano)
John Dagys contributed to this report.