Toyota 1 – 2 At Rain-Soaked Shanghai (18.11.18)

Photo: Joao Filipe / Adrenalmedia.com

Toyota Gazoo Racing made it a 1-2 at the 6 Hours of Shanghai, Round Five of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship “Super Season”, with the #7 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid, piloted by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López crossing the line 1.419 seconds ahead of the sister #8 car driven by Sébastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso.

Completing the podium positions in the LMP1 category was the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER with the driver line-up of Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Jenson Button.

Taking the victory in the LMP2 category was the “Mighty” #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Gibson-powered ORECA 07 with the driver line-up of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stéphane Richelmi. Second in the LMP2 class was the #31 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 piloted by Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado and Anthony Davidson. The #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 completed the top three in the LMP2 category with the driver line-up of Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet bring the #36 car home 53.375 seconds behind the #31 DragonSpeed entry.

The LMGTE Pro category was won by the #96 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR driven by the Danish duo of Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim followed by the #91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni just 9.529 seconds behind.

Porsche took a clean sweep of the podium positions in the LMGTE Am category with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR with the driver line-up of Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Matt Campbell taking the class victory ahead of the #56 Team Project 1 entry piloted by Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti. Completing the top three positions in class was the sister #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing entry driven by Khaled Al Qubaisi, Riccardo Pera and Matteo Cairoli.

Kamui Kobayashi, driver of the winning #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 – Hybrid, was prepared for the bad weather that affected much of the race and was careful to manage the risk that the torrential rain provided.

“We expected this was going to be a hard one and the rain was really a lot and I had no visibility at all,” said Kobayashi. “We just try to nit take any risk and overtake properly but we knew that at points the safety car would come out to make it a help for us.”

“We tried not to push too hard and we had a safety car on not good timing and we made a gap to the #8 car which for them was a big shame. When we restarted we tried to pull a gap. It was quite good and the car felt good too and I handed it over to Mike (Conway).”

“The team did a great job and I have to congratulate everyone.”

Stephane Richelmi felt unwell as race day approached but, as starting driver for the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07, knew he had a big responsibility.

“I have been a a bit sick today so when I opened up the curtains this morning and saw the rain I said, ‘Okay, I want to stay in bed and have a chilled day’ but I had a job to do and start the race.”

“It was not easy obviously because of the conditions and we lost some positions at the start. We made a tricky choice with the tyre pressures and it was hard to stay on track but I knew the race was long and even if we dropped to P5, the win was still possible and then we made a good choice to out before the others.”

“When the safety car went in, the pace of the car was good and we could open a gap and then my teammates continued the good job, especially Gabby on the inters.”

Marco Sorensen was delighted to take the first win for the new Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR with teammate Nicki Thiim in the #96 entry.

“It was definitely a long race in difficult conditions as you saw,” said the Danish driver. “I think e are both super happy that we got the first win with the new car. It seemed so quick that we were almost fighting for the overall victory today.”

“The team has been doing so much work. It was a hard start to the season, so to finish off before the winter break with a win we can go home and try to improve even more. I’m just super happy and we are looking forward to Sebring.”

The win for Toyota Gazoo Racing means that it leads the FIA World Endurance Championship by on 118 points, 28 ahead of Rebellion Racing. The crew of the #8 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid lead the Drivers Championship, however, on 102 points with Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi five points ahead of teammates José Mariá López, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.

In the LMP2 class, victory in China means that the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry now holds a ten-point lead over the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut car. The sister #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry is a further four points back on 98 points.

Porsche now had a commanding lead the GTE Manufacturers standings on 181 points, 76 ahead of Ford on 105 points.

The LMGTE Am Teams Endurance Trophy standings are led by Team Project 1 on 84 points, twenty points ahead of the #98 Aston Martin Racing entry, after the Dempsey-Proton Racing was stripped of all championship points earned thus far in the season due to a fueling irregularity, the penalty for which was announced prior to the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

The FIA World Endurance Championship grid assembles next for the 1000 Miles of Sebring on March 13 – 15 2019.

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (09.11.18)

Photo: Go Motorsport via Facebook

With the 2018 British GT Championship having concluded less than seven weeks ago, teams are already laying the foundations for 2019 with driver announcements and testing.

University of Bolton-backed ProTechnika Motorsport was out testing at Snetterton this week, as preparations continue for the team’s debut at the HANKOOK 24H DUBAI on January 10 – 12. The team was launched at the Spa-Francorchamps round of the 2018 British GT Championship with team owner Anna Walewska sharing the driving duties with Tom Canning. The pair enjoyed great success at its debut race weekend, finishing second in the GT4 Pro-Am class and travelled to the final round of the season at Donington Park with a recently acquired, brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT4

Looking ahead to 2019, Anna Walewska has ambitious plans for ProTechnika Motorsport, now based at the National Centre For Motorsport Engineering at the University of Bolton.

Speaking to EnduranceandGT editor Andy Lloyd, Anna Walewska explained that she was pleased at how the Snetterton test had gone.

“We were testing at Snetterton, doing back-to-back semi-exclusive days testing new talent,” said Walewska, who finished third in the 2016 British GT GT4 Pro-Am Standings and who won the SP3 class at the 2016 24H DUBAI. “I am very pleased at how both drivers performed, especially in the mixed weather conditions on the second day. It’s good preparation for next season and our winter programme.”

Continue reading The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (09.11.18)

Davidson Joins Adam At TF Sport For Assault On National GT3 Title (06.11.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Aberdeen-based Graham Davidson will be joining forces with Le Mans winner and three-time British GT champion Jonny Adam and TF Sport for an assault on the 2019 British GT Championship.

TF Sport announced that Davidson will be joining the Salfords-based team to work with compatriot Adam in one of two new-for-2019 Aston Martin Vantage GT3s that the team has acquired, the sister car already having one seat taken by multiple race-winner Mark Farmer.

Graham Davidson contested his first British GT Championship season with Jetstream Motorsport in the previous iteration of the Aston Martin GT3, the V12 Vantage with Aston Martin factory driver Maxime Martin as teammate. The duo scored a maiden championship win for the partnership at Spa-Francorchamps and a second place at Snetterton.

Continue reading Davidson Joins Adam At TF Sport For Assault On National GT3 Title (06.11.18)

Optimum Motorsport Returns To British GT GT4 (06.11.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com

Wakefield-based Optimum Motorsport, winners of the 2018 British GT GT3 Drivers Championship with Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam, has announced that it is to enter two Aston Martin Vantage GT4s for the 2019 season.

Team Principal Shaun Goff announced that Connor O’Brien, who finished sixth in the 2018 Ginetta GT5 Challenge, will step up to GT4 for the 2019 British GT Championship, to drive alongside a teammate yet to be announced.

Connor O’Brien, who been coached by Adam Christodoulou, is excited about competing in the premier national GT championship.

“I’m looking forward to starting our test programme next year and getting to work with Aston Martin,” said the young Irish driver. “It’s great to continue with Optimum Motorsport and I’m looking forward to working with my new teammate, even though I don’t know who that is yet!”

“The AMR Young Driver Academy is obviously very interesting to me, but I also know that the early part of the season at least will be something of a learning curve. I hope to be at the sharp end as soon as possible, getting solid finishes and making progress race by race.”

Team Principal Shaun Goff is pleased that Connor’s experience in an Optimum Motorsport-run Ginetta GT5 is allowing the 18-year old  to progress into the GT4 class.

“It’s good that we can announce Connor at the first available opportunity,” said Shaun Goff. “It’s an exciting new programme for us and it’s a pleasure to have Connor moving up from Ginetta racing to the British GT Championship. and remaining part of the team”

“Connor has developed well over the last two years. He’s still just 18 years of age and is a driver with lots of potential that we are keen to tap. 2019 may be a learning season at this level but we look forward to building together and maximising opportunities that come our way.”

The 2019 British GT Championship opens at Oulton Park on April 20 – 22.