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BMW M4 GT3, Audi Evo II Join Endurance Grid at Barcelona

Two of next year’s new GT3 products join GTWC Europe grid as Invitational entries…

Photo: BMW

Two of next year’s new sports car racing products, the BMW M4 GT3 and the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2, are set to make their Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup debuts in next weekend’s three-hour race at Barcelona.

A BMW Motorsport-entered M4 and an updated R8 from Sainteloc Racing are among the 47 cars on the provisional entry list for the final round of the five-race season.

BMW factory drivers Jesse Krohn, Augusto Farfus and Philipp Eng will drive the M4, while the Audi will be shared by Markus Winkelhock, Frederic Vervisch and Finlay Hutchison who form one of two full-time Endurance Cup trios for the Sainteloc customer squad.

Both cars will be available for customer teams to race around the world from next year, but their respective manufacturers have incorporated select 2021 race events as part of their development programs.

The M4 raced on Michelin tires in two rounds of the Nürburgring-based NLS with Farfus and Eng sharing the wheel, while BMW also took the car to the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa test days in July where it set the fastest overall lap time on SRO’s mandated Pirellis.

Audi’s ‘double Evo’ R8 LMS GT3 model was revealed in July and had its maiden race at last month’s 24 Hours of Barcelona, where Car Collection ran the car on Hankooks.

The Endurance Cup entry list for Barcelona also includes some driver lineup changes, several of which reflect a date clash with the DTM season finale at the Norisring.

Walkenhorst Motorsport has again brought in Jake Dennis and Nick Yelloly to partner David Pittard in the No. 34 BMW M6 GT3, due to Sheldon van der Linde and Marco Wittmann being absent on DTM duty for ROWE Racing and Walkenhorst respectively.

The German squad’s No. 35 car features Nicky Catsburg in place of Timo Glock, whose DTM commitments with ROWE take priority next weekend.

As announced last week, Team WRT has brought in Robin Frijns to replace Kelvin van der Linde in the No. 32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. Over at Haupt Racing Team, Nico Bastian will sub for Vincent Abril in the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Those crew changes were also carried out for the 3 Hours of the Nürburgring Endurance Cup round, which overlapped with the DTM fixture at the Red Bull Ring.

Notably, Philip Ellis and Daniel Juncadella are shown on the GTWC entry list after forgoing the Nürburgring race due to their DTM programs with Mercedes-AMG teams.

Davide Rigon is yet to return to action as the Italian continues to recover from injuries sustained in a crash at Spa. Jack Aitken remains absent from Emil Frey Racing’s Lamborghini roster for the same reason.

Rigon’s place in the No. 71 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 has been taken up by Alessio Rovera, who joined Callum Ilott and Antonio Fuoco for the previous round.

Rinaldi Racing has added a Pro-Am Ferrari to its stable for Barcelona, in addition to the Silver Cup car that is signed up for the full season.

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Christian Hook and Manuel Lauck will share the team’s No. 488 machine.

The TF Sport-run Oman Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is back for its second Endurance Cup race of the year after making its series return at the Nürburgring.

Ahmad Al Harthy and Giacomo Petrobelli are set to be joined by Charlie Eastwood, who pulled out of the last Endurance Cup race at short notice due to a close contact testing positive for COVID-19. Maxime Martin stepped in to fill the Pro driver role.

Attempto Racing has made a driver switch in its Pro-class No. 66 Audi crew, which sees Steijn Schothorst replace Kim-Luis Schramm alongside factory drivers Christopher Mies and Mattia Drudi.

Iron Lynx drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi, Come Ledogar and Nicklas Nielsen lead the Endurance Cup standings by 13 points over WRT’s Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts.

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

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