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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (4.24.23)

Reports from SRO support series action at Monza, plus Michelin Le Mans Cup…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Schrey, Piana Take Early GT4 Points Lead

Michael Schrey and Gabriele Piana moved into an early Silver Cup points lead in the GT4 European Series with victory in the second of two races at Monza.

The Hofor Racing pair gave the new BMW M4 GT4 its first win in the championship with a commanding Sunday performance, which came after a podium in Saturday’s race.

Benjamin Lariche and Robert Consani won the season-opener in their Team Speedcar Audi R8 LMS GT4.

Lariche maintained his pole position at the start before the safety car was called for a multi-car accident on the run down to Ascari under a Full Course Yellow, which eliminated a pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT4s and NM Racing’s No. 18 Mercedes-AMG GT4.

After a 25-minute interruption, Lariche came under pressure from Gael Castelli who moved his CSA Racing Audi into the lead shortly before the pit stops started.

However, Castelli became caught in traffic that an early-pitting Lariche managed to avoid, putting Speedcar back into the lead which Consani held until the end.

The second race was less eventful and more straightforward in terms of the overall win, as Piana asserted an early command before handing over to Schrey who won by almost eight seconds from V8 Racing’s Chevrolet duo of Dante Rappange and Kenny Herremans.

Berkay Besler and Tom Edgar completed the podium after finishing second in the opening race for the Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW squad.

Lariche and Consani, meanwhile, encountered a puncture and wheel damage after contact at the start, causing their Audi to retire.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: MPS Agency

Virage Wins Chaotic Le Mans Cup Opener

Team Virage drew first blood in the Michelin Le Mans Cup season by winning an incident-filled Barcelona season-opener that was interrupted by five safety car periods.

Julien Gerbi and Gillian Henrion prevailed in their Ligier JS P320 Nissan, beating the M Racing Ligier pairing of Hugo Delacour and Guilherme de Oliveira by three seconds.

The first safety car of the 1 hour 50-minute race occurred when four cars became stranded after a tangle at the opening corner.

After a 16-minute cleanup, the race resumed but only briefly as Tony Wells, who had challenged pole-sitter James Sweetnam at the start, had a mechanical failure on his Nielsen Ligier and spun into the gravel.

The second restart saw Graff driver Sweetnam come under pressure from Gerbi who found a way past at Turn 11.

Two more safety cars occurred after spins for Inter Europol Competition and Cool Racing, with the second intervention enabling the field to carry out their driver changes.

Henrion took the reins of the Virage Ligier and with 50 minutes to go and remained in front until the end, despite another safety car bunching up the field and a charge from Oliveira who overtook Cool Racing’s Cedric Oltramare for second.

GT3 honors went to Valentin Hasse-Clot and Arnold Robin who shared a Racing Spirit of Leman Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Porsche squad Team Parker Racing and Ferrari outfit AF Corse completed an eclectic class podium.

RESULTS: Barcelona

Photo: Audi Sport

Audis Prevail at Start of New GT2 Season

LP Racing and PK Carsport shared the spoils at the start of the third Fanatec GT2 European Series season with their Audi R8 LMS GT2s.

Henry Hassid and Anthony Beltoise won the opener for LP, before reigning Pro-Am champion Stienes Longin opened his title defense alongside new co-driver Peter Guelinckx.

Iron Lynx Lamborghini driver Donovan Privitelio got the best start but the Italian was soon approached by Hassid, who took the lead into the first Lesmo.

Privitelio then ran wide, resulting in a puncture and detached wheel on his GT2-regulated Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO2.

KTM driver Jan Krabec inherited second and performed an overcut at the pit stops to leapfrog Hassid’s co-driver Beltoise.

However, Beltoise responded by bringing the gap down and moved ahead of solo driver Krabec before the Rettifilio chicane with 16 and a half minutes to go.

Stephane Ratel, whose SRO Motorsports Group created the revived GT2 platform, claimed an overall podium alongside Mattia di Giusto in another LP Racing Audi.

The second race saw Longin and Pierre Kaffer drag race each other into the Rettifilio chicane twice: at the start and after a restart for an incident involving Di Giusto’s Audi.

Michael Doppelmayr stepped in for Kaffer at the pit stops, but lost the lead when Longin attacked, closely followed by Nicolas Saelens in the No. 15 KTM X-Bow GT2.

Saelens went further by overtaking his co-champion from last year with seven minutes to go, however the KTM was stripped of its on-the-road win due to a 51-second post-race time penalty for undercutting the minimum pit stop time.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: B-Quik Absolute Racing

Other Racing Action & News

***The Thailand Super Series opened its 2023 season at Buriram. Akash Nandy and Adisak Tangphuncharoen won the opening race in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, leading a one-two for the B-Quik Absolute Racing squad. The second race saw AAI Motorsport take victory with a BMW M4 GT3 driven by Jun San Chen and Junhua Chen. Race 1 / Race 2

***Christopher Mies will drive in this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS round at Wanneroo Raceway near Perth. The Audi Sport factory driver will share the JAMEC Racing Audi with Geoff Emery, who was joined by Christer Joens for the Bathurst season-opener.

***Other notable entry updates for Perth include the racing return of adult content creator Renee Gracie in an OnlyFans-liveried Audi, and Bathurst 6 Hours winner and occasional Supercars driver Jaden Odeja joining Mercedes-AMG squad Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport for the rest of the season.

***Alessio Picariello and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak have been named as Absolute Racing’s second Porsche pairing for GTWC Asia. Picarellio will only join for two-thirds of the events due to date clashes with his other programs. Nissan team 5ZIGEN has also committed to the series, with a Japan Cup entry for ‘Hirobon’ and Shintaro Kawabata.

***SPS Automotive Performance has announced plans to continue in International GT Open with two Mercedes-AMGs. The German squad will run South African racer Mikaeel Pitamber and former Honda junior Reece Barr in its No. 20 entry, along with the returning duo of Yannick Mettler and Dexter Mueller in the No. 54.

***GetSpeed Performance has added a third Mercedes-AMG to its GT Open stable, with factory driver Fabian Schiller and Al Faisal Al Zubair teaming up in the Al Manar Racing-badged entry. Additionally, Team GT will run a Mercedes-AMG at this weekend’s Portimao season-opener, to be driven by Alain Valente and Florian Scholze. 33 cars are on the Portimao entry list.

***Kevin Gilardoni, Stuart Middleton and Raul Guzman will line up for Lamborghini squad Imperiale Racing in the Italian GT Endurance Championship. The team recently tested its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 at Monza in preparation for the season-opener at Enna-Pergusa next month.

On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (Spa), Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS (NOLA), Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS (Perth), International GT Open (Portimao)

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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