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GT World Challenge Europe

Nürburgring Saturday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Saturday news and notes from the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup paddock…

Photo: SRO

***Arthur Rougier secured the inaugural Fanatec Esports GT Series title for Emil Frey Racing with a second-place finish – and a Pro class victory – in Saturday evening’s one-hour race held in the Nürburgring paddock. Team WRT’s Ryuichiro Tomita took the race win, becoming the first Silver Cup driver to prevail overall. The Japanese driver edged WRT to within a point of Silver Cup esports leader Rinaldi Racing. Results / Standings

***The Fanatec Points Boost for the Nürburgring esports race extends WRT’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Silver Cup points lead over Emil Frey Racing to 2.5 points, after the two teams arrived in Germany just half a point apart.

***The esports results have changed little in the overall GTWC Europe teams’ standings, with WRT still holding a huge 62-point span over AKKA-ASP. However, Rougier’s win means third-placed Emil Frey has closed up to ASP by three points. The Frenchman’s sim racing exploits have contributed nine points to the Swiss team’s real-world total so far.

***Oman Racing is set to complete the Endurance Cup season, according to Ahmad Al Harthy who told Sportscar365 that he is currently evaluating different series for a return to full-season racing next year: “We are looking into different options,” said the 2019 Pro-Am champion. “Hopefully by January or February we will know where we can go. It works a lot with the partners and sponsors. At the moment, the plan is to focus this weekend.”

***Teams from five different manufacturers have won the last five GTWC Europe races at the Nürburgring covering both Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup. Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and most recently Porsche have won the five SRO GT3 races held at the German circuit since the 2018 Sprint round.

***Similarly, the last five GTWC Europe pole-sitters at the Nürburgring have also come from different marques: Mercedes-AMG, Lexus, Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche.

***Attempto Racing boss Arkin Aka says he has not yet decided where his team will race next year, but that he is open to looking at different series as well as GTWC Europe. Aka appears dissatisfied with how Attempto’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos have struggled compared to those from WRT this season. “I’m really open for all,” he told Sportscar365. “I have to speak with some manufacturers. I like the competition here, but also you could use the DTM as preparation for Le Mans when that goes to GT3. I don’t know.”

***Aka confirmed that Mattia Drudi will continue in the No. 66 Attempto Audi for the Sprint Cup finale after joining that entry for Brands Hatch last weekend. The Italian’s co-driver is yet to be confirmed, while Alex Aka and Dennis Marschall will drive the No. 99.

***Emil Frey was “struggling massively” with its No. 163 Lamborghini’s setup in the early stages of the weekend but is now in the right window, according to Giacomo Altoe. “We started to check the car and found something, so we went the opposite way with the setup philosophy and in Pre-Quali we have found something,” said the Italian driver. “We were top six in Pre-Quali, which means nothing but at least we have improved.”

***Dinamic Motorsport Porsche driver Romain Dumas was given a reprimand and one behavior warning point for incident responsibility after tangling with the Oman Racing Aston during Free Practice. Both cars left the track after the contact at Turn 2.

***David Pittard joked that he and his co-drivers requested their Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 to be made right-hand-drive, considering the additions of Jake Dennis and Nick Yelloly who have created an all-British lineup in the car this weekend.

***There are no date clashes between the 18 events on the 2022 GTWC Europe and America calendars, demonstrating one of SRO’s main goals for its regional series. The Asian and Australian schedules are expected to be announced separately at a later date.

***Next year’s Paul Ricard 1000km falls on the same weekend as round three of the DTM, while the Sprint Cup and DTM overlap twice. Seven drivers have skipped this weekend’s race due to a clash with the German-based series.

***In addition to announcing the GTWC Europe and America schedules, SRO Motorsports Group also revealed the GT4 European Series dates for 2022. The championship will continue to support all GTWC Europe Endurance Cup rounds, plus one Sprint Cup fixture which has been shifted from Zandvoort to Misano.

***A sixth constructor is in line to join the GT2 formula, according to SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. The category recently received the boost of Brabham Automotive’s arrival with the BT63. “We have the insurance of another brand coming soon,” Ratel said.  “So it is a no-brainer: GT2 will work. It is simply the right cost to performance ratio.”

***The GT1 Sports Club will stage its first event of the year at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on the Monday after the Endurance Cup season finale. The non-competitive series for exotic hypercars is run by Curbstone Events and sits alongside the GT2 European Series under the GT Sports Club umbrella.

***Ratel is interested in staging a GT4 endurance race in Europe next year, with a “proper” duration such as 12 hours in mind. He revealed that plans were drafted up to arrange such an event at Imola in 2020 before they ultimately fell through. “It’s been a while since we have done a GT4 endurance event,” said Ratel. “I really hope we will pull out something: it is among our projects.”

***Following the confirmation of GT3 and GT4 calendars, it’s understood that the 2022 schedule for Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe is set to be revealed next week.

***Qualifying for the 3 Hours of the Nürburgring kicks off at 8:30 a.m. CEST (2:30 a.m. EST) on Sunday morning with three 15-minute qualifying sessions. As usual, the average scores across those sessions will determine the final qualifying times.

***Round four of the Endurance Cup season is due to start at 2:45 p.m. CEST (8:45 a.m. EST) tomorrow afternoon. Live streaming is available on the series website and GT World. David Addison, John Watson and Gemma Scott form the broadcast team.

2022 GT4 European Series Schedule
Apr. 8-10 – Monza
June 3-5 – Paul Ricard
July 28-31 – Spa-Francorchamps
Sep. 2-4 – Hockenheim
Sep. 30-Oct. 2 – Barcelona

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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