Category Archives: EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (15.12.17)

Photo: REBELLION Racing

As the 2017 season winds down, TF Sport is preparing to contest its final race of the year with the Gulf 12 Hours. TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier spoke to EnduranceandGT’s Andy Lloyd about this year’s season which has seen the Redhill-based team contest its first 24 Hours of Le Mans and win the Blancpain GT Endurance Series.

Ferrier described the experience of competing in the World’s Greatest Motor Race.

“Incredible – that was the word to sum it up! It was absolutely mind-blowing from start to finish. It was lovely to be involved through the Aston Martin camp through our first Le Mans. That helped us a lot and it helped me more than anyone, probably. What an event – it was mind-blowing! I couldn’t sum up the size of it to be honest. We were very proud to have been there. I hope we can do many more.”

Tom Ferrier also described some of the frustrations that the team encountered with its 2017 British GT Championship season, especially after the dominance the team had shown in 2016.

“(Mid season) we discovered that Derek and Jonny had had a bit of a handling issue with the car which carried through to Silverstone as well. We eventually found it was due to some of the chassis glue had come away but it took us a long time to get to the bottom of it. That lost us the mid-part of the season with Derek and Jonny which was frustrating. But then we were all up and singing at Brands Hatch and Donington.”

You can read the full interview here.

Young Australian driver James Allen has announced that he will return to the European Le Mans Series in 2018 with Morangis-based GRAFF, a team he enjoyed great success with in 2017, including competing in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Speaking to EnduranceandGT.co.uk, Allen, currently enjoying a warm winter off-season in his native Australia, said:

“I’m very excited for 2018. My first year in LMP2 went much better than I expected and I’m pleasantly surprised. 2018 will still be a big challenge but I feel ready to push for an even better season next year.”

Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD champion Christina Nielsen will be joining forces with Porsche factory driver, 2017 Pirelli World Championship champion Patrick Long and Wright Motorsports to contest the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTD class.

Wright Motorsports Principal John Wright is excited at the prospect of the 2018 season with Nielsen and Long.

“I am very pleased to have this great opportunity come together in such a short time,” said Wright. “It is a tremendous opportunity to be heading back into the endurance racing arena with such a strong program. In my experience, I haven’t seen too many driver combinations better to compete for a championship than what I think we will see in Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen.”

“I am really looking forward to being back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and I am absolutely thrilled that we’ve come up with such a strong combination with Wright Motorsports and Porsche,” said Christina Nielsen. “I’ve had a great run for the last three years, but it won’t be easy to do what I’ve already done. For me the biggest thing is to go into 2018 without relying on any previous results. We’ll start from scratch beginning with Daytona and go from there.”

Swiss team REBELLION Racing, 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 champions, has announced a two-car assault on the LMP1 class of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche will be joined by ex-Porsche LMP1 Team drivers Neel Jani and André Lotterer. Gustavo Menezes and European Le Mans Series star Thomas Laurent will also be joining the two-car driver line-up.

You can read the full story here.

And finally, the season draws to a close with the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi. The lights go out for the start at Part One at 09:10 local time on Saturday December 16.

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (08.12.17)

As preparations continue across all series for 2018, the Asian Le Mans Series entered its second round for the 4 Hours of Fuji on Sunday December 3.

Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA dominated the event by taking first and third in the LMP2 class with the #8 Nissan-powered ORECA 05, piloted by Thomas Laurent, Stéphane Richelmi and Harrison Newey crossing the line over a minute ahead of the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 driven by Anthony Xu Liu, Pipo Derani and Davide Rizzo.

The sister Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA entry, the #7 ORECA driven by David Cheng and Jazeman Jaafar took the final podium position in the LMP2 class.

The Chinese team, managed by Kent-based JOTA Sport also won the LMP3 class after its #6 Ligier JS P3 piloted by Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo crossed the line some four laps ahead of the #65 Viper Niza Racing entry.

#8 a.a. 17.12.04

You can read about the race here.

The British GT Championship was well-represented at the annual British Racing Drivers Club awards. Team Parker Racing duo Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris, 2017 Champions in the team’s #31 Bentley Continental GT3, won the John Cobb Memorial Trophy, an award given to drivers racing a British car ‘who achieved success of outstanding character’.

RP - SM a.a. 17.12.04

GT4 Teams and Drivers Championship-winning HHC Motorsport drivers Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton were the first joint winners of the Henry Surtees Trophy, acknowledging the most outstanding performances by BRDC Rising Stars.

A report on the BRDC awards can be found here.

HHC Motorsport was in the news again after it announced its driver line-ups for the 2018 British GT Championship. The 2017 Teams and Drivers championship-winning team will be campaigning two Ginetta G55 GT4s in 2018, one with a Silver-graded pairing and the sister car with a Pro/Am line-up.

Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion Callum Pointer will be joined by Ginetta Junior Rookie of the year Patrick Mathiesen in a Silver Cup-entered GInetta G55 GT4.

In the sister Pro/Am entry, 2017 BTCC driver and 2016 Ginetta GT4 Supercup vice-champion Will Burns will partner Mike Newbould.

Talking to Motorsport News, team manager Charlie Kemp described how he felt with the new driver line-ups announced for 2018.

“We’re really excited about British GT for next season and we’ve definitely got two driver line-ups that can impress,” said Kemp. “In Callum we have a very proven young driver, who’s coming into British GT knowing the G55 inside-out but from a sprint race format. Patrick we ran to the Ginetta Junior Rookie title in 2015 and we know his pace. He’s bringing endurance racing experience so together they should be right at the front.”

You can read the full story here.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council approved evolutions to its World Endurance Championship. In summary, the LMP1 title will move to a team recognition rather than a manufacturers title. Only the points of a team’s highest placed finishing car will count towards the teams title.

Points awarded will depend on the duration of the race with the 24 Hours of Le Mans awarding 50% more points than a six-hour race and the Sebring twelve-hour race awarding an additional 25% points haul.

Tyre changes will be allowed while cars are being re-fuelled.

You can read a further summary of the changes here.

Finally, all eyes are now focused on the 2018 running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. United Autosports has announced that Bruno Senna will be joining Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer in one of its entries while Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and and Phil Hanson will pilot the sister car.

The Roar Before The 24 takes place on January 5 – 7

Enjoy your weekend!

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (01.12.17)

It has been another busy week in the world of sportscar and endurance racing with driver announcements being made, focusing on the first big race of 2018, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Firstly though, SRO Motorsports Group held its annual prize giving ceremony, this time in Paris at the Palais Brongniart.  Founder and CEO Stéphane Ratel used the opportunity to outline his vision for the future and specific changes being made for 2018.

There will a continued focus on the growing GT4 class with SRO Motorsports Group launching several series to bring the total to seven GT4 championships over the next two seasons.

SR a.a. 17.11.26

Asia will also have its own stand-alone GT4 series included on the Blancpain GT Asia package,

In the Pirelli World Challenge the FIA driver grading system will be adopted. You can  read more about SRO Motorsports Group’s plans here.

Continue reading The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (01.12.17)

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (24.11.17)

Photo: fiawec.com

It’s been a busy week in the world of endurance, GT and sportscar racing with one season drawing to a close and, no sooner had the champagne been washed out of the race-suits of the winners of the final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, announcements arrived thick and fast in preparation for 2018.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain, the season finale to this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship was an enthralling and emotional affair with the Porsche LMP Team campaigning its Porsche 919 Hybrid for the last time before leaving the championship in the prototype classes.

It was the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050, driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima that took the chequered flag in Bahrain, one lap ahead of the #2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid piloted by 2017 Drivers Champions Timo Berhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.

The LMP2 class saw a titanic battle between Jackie Chan DC Racing and Vaillainte Rebellion. After taking the lead in the LMP2 Teams Trophy at the previous round, the #31 Vaillante Rebellion crossed the line 10.696 seconds ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 and, with the victory, took the title. Ollie Jarvis, who drove the final stint in the #38 car, reported after the race that the team had encountered ‘fuel tank issues’.

There was drama, too, for the #31 car with Bruno Senna reporting power-steering problems in the final 45-minutes of the race with comments that the car being ‘undriveable’. Senna hung on and the pace of the #31 ORECA 07 hardly faltered, allowing the Brazilian driver to secure the class victory and title. You can read the race report here.

FAL a.a. 17.11.20

Photo: fiawec.com

The Rookie Tests, the traditional end to the season, attracted more interest than usual when 2005-06 FIA Formula One world champion and current McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso put in 113 laps in the race-winning #8 Toyota TS050.

“It was a great day,” said Alonso. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”

Read about the Rookie Test here.

Two manufacturers announced new models for next season and beyond over the past week.

Firstly, McLaren Automotive announced that it was intending to develop a GT3 variant of its 720S model, launched at the Geneva Motorshow in March of this year. Few details were given of the new car other than development will continue throughout 2018 with the intention that the McLaren 720S GT3 will be available for customer teams in time for the 2019 season.

The rendering of the new car shows it to have purposeful styling and it will be fascinating to see how the story of the 720S GT3 develops throughout next year.

You can read about the new McLaren 720S GT3 here.

The big FIA World Endurance Championship news of the week came from Aston Martin Racing with the launch, for Aston Martin, of the new Vantage and, later in the day, the first public viewing of the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Alongside the launch of the new Vantage GTE was the news that Darren Turner, Jonny Adam, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen have been retained by Aston Martin Racing for the FIA WEC 2018/19 ‘Super Season. Added to the driver roster is Alex Lynn, current Formula E driver and ex-GP2 race winner. Further driver announcements are expected shortly.

“It’s terrific to be involved in this exciting new chapter for Aston Martin Racing,” said Managing Director John Gaw. “The increasingly tough competition in the GTE class and the prospect of two visits to Le Mans and a return to Sebring within the 2018/19 super-season is thoroughly tantalising.”

In preparation for 2018 ByKOLLES Racing completed an intensive three-day testing programme at Motorland, Aragon, of the EnsoCLM P1.01.

Drivers at the test were Oliver Webb, James Rossiter, Tom Dillman, Edoardo Liberati and Mikael Grenier.

“We are pleased with the progress made on both reliability and performance,” said ByKOLLES Director of Racing Operations Boris Bermes. “All drivers did a solid job and our team is happy to attract such young and competitive drivers.”

LM

And finally…. the poster for the 2018 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Using an evocative image, reminiscent of 1930s-style racing posters, the graphic certainly excited some interest on social media. Roll on 2018!

 

 

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (17.11.17)

This weekend sees the final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance with the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

The annual visit to Bahrain will be tinged with sadness as the Championship says farewell to Porsche LMP Team after it announced its departure from the prototype stage at the end of the 2017 season. This will also be the last round of what many would regard as a standard (i.e. summer) season for the World Endurance Championship before it moves to the interim ‘Super Season’ ahead of a full Winter championship.

The Super Season will include two visits to the Circuit de la Sarthe and two to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and will conclude with the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although a fascinating prospect, the season will be a huge commitment for teams spanning, as it does, two annual budget periods for many of their sponsors and partners.

There is much to contest in the final round and you can read a preview of the 6 Hours of Bahrain here.

Continue reading The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (17.11.17)

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (07.04.17)

Photo Above: Paren Raval

With the season about to kick into high-gear, the past week has seen some excellent on-track action and, with racing on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend, sportscar enthusiasts will have difficult choices to make as to what to follow.

The HANKOOK 24H SILVERSTONE took place last weekend for the opening round of the 2017 TOURING CAR ENDURANCE SERIES and, although the field was slightly smaller than some might have wished for, the racing as close and intriguing as ever.

Photo: Paren Raval
Photo: Paren Raval

TCR cars dominated the top of timing-screens this year and it was the #100 Team Bleekemolen SEAT Leon TCR V2 SEQ, driven by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Melvin de Groot, Rob Smith and Rene Steenmetz, who took the class and outright win. Second in class was the #122 Pit Lane Competizione Audi RS LMS TCR DSG piloted by Alberto Vescovi, Roberto Ferri, Zach Arnold, Enrico Bettera and John Fillipi.

The #303 Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR V3 DSG was running strongly but suffered a rear steering-arm breakage followed by turbo issues and oil pressure problems. The car was eventually retired.

The EnduranceandGT.co.uk report on the HANKOOK 24H SILVERSTONE can be found here.

The FIA World Endurance Championship visited the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for over the weekend of April 1 – 2 for the season-opening Prologue.

Car Collective Shoot: Prologue Monza - Autodromo Nationale Monza - Monza - Italia

Photo: John Rourke/AdrenalMedia.com

27 of the full-season 28 entries were present on the grid for five test sessions, spread over the two days, with three being held on Saturday, including a night session, and two on Sunday.

Toyota Gazoo Racing topped the weekend’s timesheets in the LMP1 class when the #8 TS050 – Hybrid with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel, driving alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, put in a 1:30.547 on the final session of the weekend.

The all-Gibson-powered LMP2 class was led by Mattieu Vaxivière in the #28 TDS Racing ORECA 07 who lapped in 1:36.078 on the Sunday morning session.

Porsche GT Team must be very satisfied with its performance over the weekend after Michael Christensen in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR was quickest in the LMGTE Pro category in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR.

The time-sheets for LMGTE Am were led by Miguel Molina in the Spirit of Race #54 Ferrari F488 GTE who lapped in 1:49.483 on Sunday morning.

The EnduranceandGT report on the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue can be found here.

This weekend sees a packed programme of track-action from both sides of the Atlantic.

In Europe the third round of the 24H ENDURANCE SERIES takes place in Austria with the 12H RED BULL RING 2017. 35 cars are entry list, seven in A6 Pro, 8 in A6 Am, 5 in 991, 6 in SP2, 5 in SP3-GT4, 3 in TCR and 1 in A3.

12HRBR a.a. 17.04.07

Timetable as follows (all times local):

Friday 07.04.17:

Q1 (A6, 991, SP2): 10:15 – 11:00
Q2 (SP3-GT4, TCR, A3, A2, D1) 11:10 – 11:55

Race (Part 1): 14:15 – 17:45

Saturday 08.04.17:

Race (Part 2): 09:15 – 17:45

Live timing for the 12H RED BULL RING 2017 can be found here.

The second VLN race of 2017, the 42. DMV 4-Stunden Rennen, takes place on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Saturday April 8. More than 190 teams are entered with more than 30 GT3 cars.

The VLN series, always popular in Europe, has been enhanced for 2017 with the addition of English-language commentary which was very well received for the first round.

The 42. DMV 4-Stunden-Rennen starts at 12:00 local time on Saturday April 8 and more information from the VLN web-site can be can be found here.

The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place this weekend with the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

Timetable as follows:

Friday 07.04.17:

Qualifying (GTD): 16:20 16:35 EDT
Qualifying (GTLM): 16:40 – 16:55 EDT
Qualifying (P): 21:00 – 21:15 EDT

Saturday 08.04.17:

Race: 16:05 – 17:45 EDT

More information including links to live timing and IMSA Radio can be found here.

We also have the third round of the Pirelli World Challenge, the Grand Prix at Long Beach brought to you by Optima Batteries.

Timetable:

Saturday 08.04.17:

Qualifying (GTA): 09:10 – 09:25 EDT
Qualifying (GT): 09:30 – 09:45 EDT

Sunday 09.04.17:

Race: 10:00 – 10:50 EDT

There is no live streaming for this race as coverage is being provided by the CBS Sports Network. However a link to the excellent live timing can be found here.

Wherever and whatever you are watching, listening, marshalling or racing, have a great weekend!