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Weekly Racing Roundup (5.8.23)

Reports from British GT at Silverstone and Super GT at Fuji, plus other racing action…

Photo: JEP/British GT

Harper, Leung Win Silverstone 500 for Century

Dan Harper and Darren Leung won Sunday’s three-hour Intelligent Money British GT Championship race at Silverstone from 18th on the grid in their BMW M4 GT3.

The Century Motorsport pairing prevailed after BMW factory driver Harper dramatically overtook his Lamborghini counterpart Sandy Mitchell with 12 minutes remaining.

Multiple safety car periods impacted the strategy of the race as several GT3 cars took turns at the sharp end of the field during the opening two hours.

At the final restart with just under half an hour to go, Mitchell led for Barwell Motorsport while Harper sat fourth behind Jonny Adam’s 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and the Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Rob Bell.

Harper quickly dispatched Bell and went on to charge past Adam through Luffield, giving himself around 20 minutes to size up Mitchelli’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2.

After a few laps, the lead changed when Harper jinked left to take the inside line at Brooklands and went side-by-side with Mitchell around Luffield until the BMW driver eventually got ahead into Copse.

Mitchell and Shaun Balfe settled for second, ahead of Bell and Mark Radcliffe. Adam dropped out of the top 10 after serving a drive-through penalty that had been picked up by his co-driver James Cottingham earlier in the race for contact with a GT4 car.

Top honors in the GT4 class went to Jack Brown and Charles Clark who shared an Optimum-run McLaren Artura GT4.

RESULTS: Silverstone 500

Photo: Super GT

TOM’S Toyota Takes Victory at Fuji

Sho Tsuboi and Ritomo Miyata finished ahead of two Honda crews to deliver Toyota’s first win of the Super GT season in the midweek holiday race at Fuji Speedway.

Tsuboi made a strong start from sixth on the grid and gradually worked his way up to second, splitting the Honda battle between leader Tadasuke Makino and Nirei Fukuzumi.

The TOM’S Toyota squad then beat Makino’s Team Kunimitsu Honda at the opening round of pit stops, generating a lead that would stand until the checkered flag.

Tsuboi remained in control throughout his second stint, before handing the No. 36 Toyota over to Miyata who completed the job with almost half a minute in hand to Makino’s co-driver Naoki Yamamoto.

Fukuzumi’s ARTA Honda lost ground due to a drive-through penalty for improper pit stop procedure at its first service. The teammate ARTA car then emerged as a contender in the middle stint, however it dropped out of a likely podium place when it pitted for a fuel splash at the end of the penultimate lap.

That facilitated a podium result for the Astemo Real Racing Honda pairing of Koudai Tsukakoshi and Nobuharu Matsushita.

Fourth place went to Toyota’s Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita, ahead of the best Nissan duo of Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi.

Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Teppei Natori won the GT300 class in their Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.

RESULTS: Fuji

Photo: Italian GT

Other Racing Action & News

***Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli claimed his first sports car racing win last weekend in the opening round of the Italian GT Sprint Championship season at Misano. The 16-year-old Italian steered his AKM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to a 24-second margin of victory over the VSR Lamborghini of Mattia Michelotto and Edoardo Liberati. AF Corse duo Stuart White and Jean-Luc D’Auria then won the second race with Antonelli in third. Race 1 / Race 2

***The new BMW M4 GT4 won the first of two FFSA French GT contests at Magny-Cours, courtesy of the L’Espace Bienvenue squad and its lineup of Ricardo van der Ende and Benjamin Lessennes. The same pairing then finished second in Silver Cup in the next race but received a 10-second penalty for an unsafe pit release. Overall honors went to Victor Weyrich and Mateo Villagomez in a Racing Spirit of Leman Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Race 1 / Race 2

***The China Endurance Championship opened its new season at Tianjin last week. Lamborghini team Phantom Pro Racing won overall after battling past two Climax Racing Audis in the closing stages of a 76-lap race that was held in scorching hot conditions.

***Leipert Motorsport has announced its CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa program including a new livery from the event’s title sponsor on its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2. The German squad is competing in the Bronze Cup class with Gerhard Watzinger, Brendon Leitch, Kerong Li and JF Brunot.

On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca), Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup (Brands Hatch), Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS (Buriram), Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS (Phillip Island)

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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