Audi Sport Team Land / Haase Snatch Pole For Laguna Seca 8 Hours (27.10.18)

Photo: Land-motorsport.de

Christoper Haase, at the wheel of the #29 Audi Sport Team Land Audi R8 LMS, took pole position for the Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours, the final round of the 23018 Intercontinental GT Challenge with a 1:23.660 in the final seconds of the 15-minute ‘Super Pole’ session.

Lining up alongside Haase on the front row of the grid will be the #43 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Mercedes-AMG GT3 in which Raffaele Marciello put in a 1:23.728 on his final lap.

Completing the top three was the #19 Audi Sport team WRT Audi with Dries Vanthoor lapping the 3.602 kms circuit in 1:23.763.

Taking pole position in the GT3 Pro-Am class was Luca Stolz in the #75 Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes with a 1:23.841 set on his sixth and final lap.

There was drama for Marciello on his second lap when, pushing hard into Turn 6, the Italian driver went wide into the gravel. Marciello returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was soon on the pace, setting the fastest lap of the session to that point on his fourth lap with a 1:23.832.

Team owner Wolfgang Land was delighted to have taken the pole position for the final round of the season.

“We knew when the tyres would come in and when we would get the best performance from the tyres and it worked perfectly,” said Wolfgang Land. “Christopher Haase did an amazing lap and it was a great job from everybody.”

“We are now already in race mode,” continued Land. “But a good qualifying is a base for the race. When you can start the race from the lead and you have no car in front of you then you can push from the beginning.”

The lights go out for the start of the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours at 09:15 local time on Sunday October 28.

Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing On Provisional Pole At Laguna Seca (27.10.18)

Photo: intercontinentalgtchallenge.com

Maxi Goetz, Lewis Williamson and Raffaele Marciello combined to put the #43 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 on provisional pole for Sunday October 28’s Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours, the finla round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge, finishing the three 15-minute qualifying sessions an average .125 seconds ahead of the #175 Mercedes-AMG Team Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes, piloted by Maxi Buhk, Tristan Vautier and Maro Engel.

Third quickest over the three sessions was the sister Strakka Racing entry, the #44 car driven by Jack Hawksworth, Christian Vietoris and Adrien Tambay.

It was a solid afternoon’s work for the Silverstone, UK-based team after Strakka Racing also headed the time-sheets in the GT3 Pro-Am category, the #42 Mercedes of Felipe Fraga, Davide Fumanelli and team owner Nick Leventis lapping the 3.603 kms Californian circuit .026 seconds quicker than the #75 Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes piloted by Kenny Habul, Mikael Grenier and Luca Stolz.

The #51 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano was quickest of the GT4 entries, the car carrying a tribute to the late Dr Don Panoz reading; “For The Fans” – Dr Panoz’s guiding thoughts when revitalising sportscar racing in the US in the late 1990s.

The top 15 cars will now enter the Super Pole session at 14:40 local time to determine the front of the grid for Sunday’s eight-hour race, the final round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge.

ProTechnika Motorsport To Open 2019 Season At The Hankook 24H Dubai (22.10.19)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

University of Bolton-backed ProTechnika Motorsport has announced that it plans to enter its recently acquired Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the Hankook 24H DUBAI on January 10 -12.

Team Principal Anna Walewska made the announcement on social media on October 22, stating that the team is looking for four drivers for the event that has now become the traditional curtain raiser for the new endurance-racing season.

ProTechnika Motorsport was launched at the Spa-Francorchamps round of the 2018 British GT Championship where Anna Walewska and teammate Tom Canning drove the #89 Mercedes-AMG GT4 to second place in the GT4 Pro-Am category. As the British GT Championship season drew to a close, the team purchased a brand-new Mercedes for the final round at Donington Park in preparation for the 2019 season, finishing fifth in class.

Taking place at the Dubai Autodrome, the 2018 running of the Hankook 24H Dubai attracted over 90 entries. The 2019 event, which is the culmination of a week of racing in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, opens the season for the 24H Champion Of The Continents series.

For its assault on the Hankook 24H DUBAI, ProTechnika Motorsport has joined forces with Brookspeed Automotive, the Eastleigh, Hampshire-based Porsche and Audi specialist, which has a long history in international GT and prototype racing.

Anna Walewska is excited at the prospect of taking on some of the best GT4 teams in the world in partnership with Brookspeed Automotive.

“This partnership shows the potential Protechnika has in GT and endurance racing,” said Walewska. “I’m very much looking forward to working with Brookspeed for the Dubai 24hrs and taking on the next stage of expanding our portfolio.”

Track action for the Hankook 24H DUBAI begins on Thursday January 10 2019 with Free Practice at 11:00 local time with the lights going out for the race at 15:00 local time on Saturday Friday 11.

TF Sport Confirms Return Of Mark Farmer For 2019 British GT Campaign (17.10.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

TF Sport has confirmed that Mark Farmer will contest the 2019 British GT Championship with the Salfords, Surrey-base team.
Participation in the 2019 championship will Farmer’s fifth consecutive year in the UK’s premier GT series. Farmer, alongside teammate Nicki Thiim, finished third in the 2018 GT3 Drivers Championship, a season which saw the Anglo-Danish partnership step onto the podium on six occasions, including two wins at Snetterton and Silverstone.

Farmer will be campaigning the new-for-2019 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and is looking forward to the new season.

“I am excited to re-commit to the British GT Championship for 2019,” said Mark Farmer. “The racing is super-close, the Pro line-up is stellar and the occasions magnificent. We had a great run with the Aston Martin Vantage and, in particular in the last season, with three race wins and three further podiums from nine starts.”

Sadly, it wasn’t enough to win the Championship, but it was good to take the fight to the wire,” continued Farmer. “We consistently demonstrated our pace but were thwarted by bad luck in a couple of rounds, including a big fire at Spa which almost killed the car! As ever, TF Sport went above and beyond to deliver a race-winning package, so I will be back in the TF fold in the new Aston Martin Vantage and very excited for another crack at the championship.”

Director Tom Ferrier is also pleased that Mark Farmer has committed to the team for what will be his fourth season with TF Sport.

“We are delighted to be back in GT3 with Mark,” said Tom Ferrier. “The British GT Championship is the premier national series and, for ourselves and Aston Martin Racing, it is important to have a very strong presence. Mark was a front-runner all year this year and helped us win the team’s title. We want to get Mark the drivers’ championship that he deserves next year.”

The 2019 British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park over the weekend of April 20 – 22.

Win For HubAuto Corsa’s Lester And Foster In Race One At Ningbo. GruppeM Racing Team Takes GT4 Victory. (13.10.18)

Photo: Blancpain GT Series Asia

Nick Foster and Jono Lester, piloting the 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 took the victory in Race One of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia season finale double-header at Ningbo International Speedpark, China, finishing 2.502 seconds ahead of the #3 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Franky Cheng Congfu and, bringing the car home, Martin Rump.

Completing the overall podium positions was the #97 Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Roelof Bruins and Manual Metzger, finishing 2.300 seconds behind the #97 entry.

In the GT4 category the win went to the #666 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 with the #81 BMW Team Studie BMW M4 GT4, driven by Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita in second.

Nico Bastian, behind the wheel of the #999 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4, led the field away from pole position. There was drama, however, as the grid turned into the first corner with Bastian being hit form behind, forcing the #999 entry intro the gravel and retirement. Further incidents during the opening two corners saw the retirements of the #23 KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 driven by Edoardo Liberati, the #37 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS of Anthony Liu and the #911 Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R of Sandy Stuvik.

The Safety Car was deployed to allow safe recovery of the stricken vehicles, resulting in the race being neutralised for over 15 minutes.

Nico Bastian, out at Turn One, was not impressed with driving standards at the race start.

“I was braking as normal at the first corner because you have to pay attention because you don’t win races in the first corner and then I got a big hit so there has to one guy who totally misjudged his braking point and shot me off,” said Bastian. “It’s a real disaster for the team and for Patric who is fighting for the championship. I don’t really understand why people drive like this and they go all-in at the first corner.”

Dennis Lind, in the #19 FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracán GT3 had the lead at the restart, followed by Jono Lester in the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari and Frank Cheng Congfu in the #3 Absolute Racing Audi.

Lind starting to a pull a gap to Lester, fully aware of the 15-second success penalty that the #27 car would have to serve at the pit stop. As the pit window opened Lind elected to stay out to see if the gap could be widened further.

After the driver changes had cycled through, it was the #27 HubAuto Corsa entry, now with Nick Foster at the wheel, who held the lead over Martin Rump in the #3 Absolute Racing entry.

However, the one-hour race saw further disruption when the #11 TTR Team SARD Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, piloted by Brian Lee, stopped at T17 and had to recovered, requiring a second Safety Car deployment.

As the race drew to a close, Raffaele Marciello, 2018 Blancpain GT Series Overall, Endurance and Sprint Cup Drivers Champion went on a charge, putting in the fastest race alp with 1:242.193 and moving the #888 GruppeM Racing Team Mercedes up to fifth. As the race finished, however, it was announced that the #888 car was under investigation for an unsafe release so the result is provisional.

HubAuto Corsa’s Nick Foster and Jono Lester were delighted with the victory.

“This guy (Jono Lester) is a wizard!” said Nick Foster. “He starts P7 and he comes out P2. The team has worked super-hard between Shanghai and now. No one’s been here before so come out here and have this kind of place is unreal. They just handed me a rocket ship and I could just do what I do so I’m just super–stoked.

“We’ve got to stop making it so hard for ourselves,” said Jono Lester. “But it seems to be working and we’ve found the right formula. We had a good start and stuffed it right in there and were amongst it. We were quite lucky to avoid all that (the incidents). After we came out in second place, it was management – we weren’t going to change tyres so it was just about making sure that Nick could get to the end. The car was a rocket. It was quicker than in qualifying – at least on my part. We’ll carry a penalty in to tomorrow but anything could happen. With a third place starting position it means we’re in a much better starting position than in Shanghai.”

The lights go out for Race Two, Round 12 and the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia, at 10:55 local time on Sunday October 14.

“It Was Tough And I Learned A Lot!” – Team HARD’s Ben Wallace Reflects On His First Full British GT Championship Season. (11.10.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Southport-based Ben Wallace has completed his first full season in the British GT Championship. The driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4 did not have the most straight-forward of championships but finished the year lying twelfth in the GT4 Silver Drivers standings with 40.5 points after three seventh-placed finishes in class.

Ben Wallace spoke exclusively to EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd about his season and his thoughts on how he would like to develop his career in 2019.

When you look back at the 2018 season, Ben, what are the best memories that you take away from it?

“The 2018 British GT Championship is the best national GT championship in Europe so I was delighted when I got the opportunity to contest it in the Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4. The two races that stand out for me when I look back are Silverstone and Donington. At Silverstone my teammate was Alex Reed and we qualified eleventh on the grid in the GT4S category and finished seventh in class. I really enjoyed driving on the Silverstone GP circuit. For the final round of the season at Donington Park my teammate was Graham Roberts, with whom I’d driven at Brands Hatch. We qualified ninth in class and finished seventh in GT4S. Those were two races that were especially memorable”

“Even though I didn’t finish at Rockingham, it was a really enjoyable race as I gained, I think, 16 places from the start and showed the pace in the car. Brands Hatch wasn’t the greatest weekend for us as we had a power steering failure but racing on the full GP circuit was a lot of fun!”

“I didn’t necessarily get the overall results throughout the year that I was looking for when the season started but some good things happened in 2018 and I will look back on my first season in top-level GT racing with great fondness.”

BW a.a. 18.09.20

Photo: Paren Raval

The season presented you with a number of situations you had to work though – Balance of Performance adjustments, changes of driving partners and the withdrawal of the sister car after Snetterton to name three. Where did you have to dig the deepest to keep pushing forward?

“I think Snetterton was one of those moments when you just have to get your head down and push through. Balance of Performance challenges and lack of overall pace meant that we weren’t anywhere near the pack in Norfolk which was a shame as the weather was perfect and it is a circuit I like. Also, the power steering failure at Brands Hatch caused Graham and I huge problems. They were probably the two occasions when I had to keep calm and make sure I was focused on those things that I could control.”

“One of the learning points that I have taken from the 2018 season is that you can’t influence everything and that a lot of situations are out of your control. When we had the pace, we came through the pack, as we showed at Rockingham.”

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Looking ahead, what are your plans and where do you want to be in 2019?

“A lot depends on budgets, of course, and I am currently working as hard as I ever did on the track in my search for sponsors for next year. Ideally I would like to be back on the British GT grid as it represents the best in national GT racing and offers a great platform to demonstrate my pace, I hope, with a view to looking ahead to, maybe, the Blancpain GT Series in the seasons ahead. The first objective is, however, to secure the budget for a competitive seat in the British GT Championship next year.”

Talking of sponsors, partners and supporters, what have you learned from this season that you will be taking in to 2019?

“I’ve been a supporter of Diabetes UK this year and have proudly carried their logo on my car. Working as a supporter of Diabetes UK allowed me the opportunity to display my Ginetta G55 GT4 at the Ormskirk Motorfest in August. It was fantastic to talk to visitors about my race-car and career to date and it was especially relevant as I have a diabetic condition myself. So I really enjoyed building a relationship with the team at Diabetes UK North West and this has given me the confidence to know that I can add real value to a commercial relationship. It’s a skill I hope I can use to great effect next year.”

….and sponsors and supporters are vitally important if you want to succeed in motorsport.

“Absolutely they are! I am extremely grateful to Lips Reifenhandel for their continued support throughout the season. I hope I can carry their name on my car when I contend for championships in future years. I must also say a huge thank you to my father, Norbert, for his support, both in enabling me to race as well as being trackside at every round of the 2018 British GT season. I also want to thank my partner Lydia for being with me throughout the championship. To travel to race weekends with “Team Wallace” to back me up meant a huge amount, especially during the more challenging moments of 2018. My main ambition is to now repay everyone’s loyalty with titles and championships in the seasons to come.”

Ben Wallace can be contacted at Benjamin.wallace99@mail.com

Media enquiries should be directed to Andy Lloyd at EnduranceandGT@gmail.com