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Weekly Racing Roundup (1.9.23)

News including Orange Racing’s British GT plans, Le Mans Virtual entry list and more…

Photo: JEP/British GT

***Reigning GT Cup champions Simon Orange and Michael O’Brien will join the Intelligent Money British GT Championship full-time this year in an Orange Racing powered by JMH McLaren 720S GT3. The duo, who contested last year’s Donington season finale, are also set to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series with fellow British GT racer Marcus Clutton.

***Orange said: “After what turned out to be quite a year in 2022, I can’t wait to get started again, only this time at the top level of GT racing in the UK by joining the Intelligent Money British GT Championship. It’s going to be really tough as the other drivers, and teams, are the best in the business. But I believe in what we have built over the last few years and we go into this season with a great car and a great team.”

***The third edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual takes place this weekend with a 45-car entry. Two-time Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, Lamborghini factory driver Romain Grosjean and FIA Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich are among the real-world Pro drivers taking part. The race completes the Le Mans Virtual Series.

***JP Motorsport will run under the Luxembourgish flag this year after previously running as a Polish squad. The McLaren GT3 team is based in Erkelenz, Germany, while manager Claude Roth is from Luxembourg and team owner Patryk Krupinski grew up there.

***As previously announced, JP Motorsport is running two McLaren 720S GT3s in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup. “We are very much looking forward to working with the Luxembourg ASN,” said Roth. “So far, our cooperation with ACL Sport has been very constructive and we think this is a perfect basis for a successful 2023 season.”

***Walkenhorst Motorsport is set to field two examples of the new BMW M4 GT4 in ADAC GT4 Germany. Dutchman Mex Jansen is the first confirmed driver of the program.

***Jansen and former BMW factory driver Nicky Catsburg contested the New Year’s Race at Zandvoort on Saturday, for the second round of the Dutch Winter Endurance Series. Catsburg shared a Koopman Racing-run BMW Z4 GT3 with team owner Hein Koopman, starting the four-hour race from pole position and finishing second overall.

***Akkodis ASP is set to defend its Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup title with a Pro-class Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo this year, team principal Jerome Policand told Sportscar365. Policand added that the French squad plans to continue in both Endurance and Sprint. ASP is also running Mercedes-AMG GT4s in FFSA French GT but won’t return to the GT4 European Series.

***Triarsi Competizione has unveiled the livery of its new Ferrari 296 GT3 for the Florida-based team’s Rolex 24 at Daytona debut later this month. Additionally, Scott Taylor Motorsport has shown images of the Mercedres-AMG GT3 Evo that will contest the Pro-Am class at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. The car will be run by Ash Seward Motorsport, while the entry will raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia.

***Hendrick Motorsports continued testing of its Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR before Christmas. In a January update on the end-of-year run at Sebring, program manager Chad Knaus said: “It’s got so much track content that you are going to put the car through the paces. You are definitely taking the bumps into consideration. At a track like Le Mans, you are worried about curb strikes and things of that nature.”

***The two-day test with Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller included tryouts for new carbon brakes and a locking differential. The team encountered an engine wiring issue near the end of the first day, while a lack of full-wet tires limited the mileage in the rain with only inters available. Hendrick is eyeing a 12-hour run at its next test this month.

***Audi GT3 squad Attempto Racing has confirmed its Hankook 24H Dubai lineup. GTWC Europe regulars Finlay Hutchison and Alex Aka will team up with Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup champion Dylan Pereira and Andrey Mukovoz, who tested for the German team at Yas Marina shortly after last month’s Gulf 12 Hours.

On this weekend: 24H Series (Dubai Autodrome)

Davey Euwema contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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