Adam Christodoulou To Join team ABBA With Rollcentre Racing For British GT Championship (06.06.17)

Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing has announced that team owner Martin Short is to be step back from driving duties and factory AMG driver Adam Christodoulou will partner Richard Neary for the remaining rounds of the 2017 British GT Championship.

For the three-hour Silverstone round, however, Christodoulou, Neary and Short will drive as a three-man Pro/Am crew.

Silverstone will be Christodoulou’s first experience of British GT GT3 competition.

“I’m really excited to be racing a GT3 car in British GT for the first time,” said Christodoulou. “Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to do Snetterton because I was racing at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, but Silverstone is a track we all know well, so we just have to make sure that we make no mistakes and use everything to our advantage.

Christodoulou has extensive experience in GT racing, having started his GT career in the 2010 International GT Open series and Grand-Am Rolex Series. He won the 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours in the #4 AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shared with Bernd Schneider, Manuel Metzger and Maro Engel.

Martin Short has no regrets about stepping into a management role with the team.

“Richard and I started out on this adventure together and he’s very keen for me to continue racing but I increasingly felt the time was right to stop in GT3,” said Short. “So I contacted AMG who sent me a list of available drivers and Adam’s name stood out. He tested our car at Snetterton before the British GT round there and was immediately two seconds a lap faster, which confirmed everything I needed to know.”

“We’d have actually put him in for Snett were it not for his Nürburgring 24 Hour commitments but his schedule allows him to do the remaining British GT rounds, so it makes complete sense for Silverstone to be my championship swansong as a driver. I’ve got absolutely no regrets, and would rather watch them get results from the pitwall than drive around at the back! I’ll still be racing in other categories but it’s highly unlikely I’ll race in British GT again.”

The lights go out for the three-hour Silverstone round of the 2017 British GT Championship at 13:35 on June 11.

2016 GT4 Champions Johnson And Robinson Switch To McLaren 570S GT4 For British GT Championship (05.06.17)

2016 British GT Championship GT4 champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have announced that they will campaign a McLaren 570S GT4 for the remainder of the 2017 British GT Championship, saying goodbye to their Ginetta G55 GT4 which has served them well for many seasons.

The duo recently tested the McLaren 570S GT4 at Silverstone and have decided to make the switch with immediate effect.

“We couldn’t believe what a difference the McLaren gives to the Ginetta,” said Johnson. “It’s a very ‘easy’ car to drive quickly, whereas the Ginetta is more an out-and-out racer: hot, noisy and on a knife-edge. Both the Ginetta and the McLaren have their merits and we’ll unquestionably miss our Ginetta at some circuits, but it’s time for us to see what we can do in another car.”

Team Principal of Optimum Motorsport, Shaun Goff, is excited at the opportunity that running the McLaren represents to the Wakefield-based team.

“Having run Ginetta GT4 cars successfully and winning the 2013 and 2014 British GT4 championships, I’m really excited to be able to expand our knowledge of another manufacturer under our umbrella,” said Goff. “We’ll continue with Ginetta in GT4 programmes as it’s the best value car out there.”

Graham Johnson is cautious about results at this weekend’s Silverstone round of the British GT Championship.

“We’re realistic about our chances at Silverstone,” said Johnson. “The team only collected the car from factory today (June 5) and Mike and I have completed just eight laps each in McLaren’s development car.”

“A podium finish would be nice, but I think the first goal has to be to compete every lap of the three-hour race. That’s a feat we’ve never managed in previous years!”

Round six of the 2017 British GT Championship takes place at Silverstone on June 11.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Tops Time Sheets At Le Mans Test Day (04.06.17)

Photo: Michael Jamin / ACO

Toyota Gazoo Racing set the three fastest times at the Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in two weeks time.

Kamui Kobayashi, in the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050-Hybrid he shares with Mike Conway and Stéphane Sarazin, set a 3:18.132 in the afternoon session. Sébasten Buemi was second quickest in the #9 Toyota after he set 3:19.290, again in the afternoon. The #9 Toyota was third quickest after Jose Maria Lopez, back in the car after having recovered from the impact he sustained at Silverstone in the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, set a 3:21.455.

With only two manufacturers competing in the premier class in 2017, Porsche LMP team set its fastest time with the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid after Earl Bamber lapped the Circuit de la Sarthe in 3:21.512.

In the LMP2 class, competing this year for the first time under the new regulations with the Gibson engine, the quickest time of the day was set by the #35 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470, driven by Nelson Pantiatici, Pierre Ragues and André Negrao, in which Pantiatici set a 3:28.844.

Second quickest in the LMP2 class was the #24 CEFC MANOR TRS TEAM CHINA ORECA 07 in which Jean-eric verge set a 3:28.844 in the car he shares with Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi.

Third quickest was the 2014 class-winners Jackie Chan DC Racing, run by Jota Sport, when its #37 ORECA 07 driven by Alex Brundle lapped in 3:29.104.

The additional power that the LMP2 class is enjoying in the 2017 was reflected in lap times which were nearly eight seconds quicker than at the Test Day 2016.

In LM GTE Pro Corvette Racing topped the time-sheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions. The quickest time of the day was set by Olivier Gavin in the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R when he lapped in 3:54.701 in the afternoon session.

Porsche GT Team were second and third quickest with the #91 Porsche 911 RSR lapping in 3:54.996 in the hands of Frédéric Makowiecki and the #92, driven by Kevin Estre just three-thousandths of a second slower at 3:54.999.

LMGTE Am honours went to the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage in the hands of Pedro Lamy who lapped in 3:38.250. Second quickest on his return to the Circuit de la Sarthe was Fernando Rees in the #50 Labre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in which he set set a 3:58.302.

Race Week for the 2017 running of the 24 Hours of Le mans begins with scrutineering in the Town Centre on Sunday June 11, followed by the first track outing for the cars on Wednesday June 14 at 16:00 for Free Practice 1.

 

Virage De Mulsanne – Friday June 16 2017

Photo: Roger Jenkins

If you are attending the 24 Heures du Mans in 2017, then don’t miss, whatever else you may be planning to do that day, the sixth “Virage de Mulsanne” event held on the iconic corner which bears the name of the local commune.

The 2016 event drew crowds of over 4,000 to view the display of 500 vehicles and enjoy the events in and around the town.

In 2016 the theme was ‘Ford at Le Mans’. This year the theme is a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Jaguar D-Type in the French classic in 1957. To mark the occasion, 50 examples of the marque will be gathered at Mulsanne Corner, ranging from XK120s, 140s and 150s and D-Types through to more contemporary examples.

In addition to the extensive static display, Miss 24 H will be in attendance as well as the creators of the famous animated racing driver Michel Vaillant, Marc Bourgne and Christian Lerolle. There will also be a display of the work of Ray Toombs, official painter of the 24 Heures du Mans and l’association Virage de Mulsanne.

virage-mulsanne-logo a.a 16.05.27

The event continues into the evening with a display of vehicles in the courtyard of the town-hall and a parade through the streets of Mulsanne. The day concludes wit concerts in the courtyard by Vibra’ scène and Sista’Flow.

The EnduranceandGT.co.uk team visited “Virage de Mulsanne” last year and would thoroughly recommend the event. The vehicle display was extensive and fascinating and the opportunity to walk down the track from Mulsanne towards Indianapolis is one not to be missed.

The event starts at 9.00am on Friday June 16 at Ville de Mulsanne.