News from the paddocks: week 50
*** The GT4 European Series has brought another minor change to the schedule. Normally they would travel to the Nürburgring at the end of July as part of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup support programme, but that has now been changed for the Sprint Cup round at Misano, which takes place two weeks earlier.
*** Barwell Motorsport has already completed its Christmas shopping, as the team purchased two Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2s. The British team will enter both cars in the British GT and have already completed their first line-up. Will Tregurtha – vice-champion of the DTM Trophy – and Mark Sansom will be at the start in the famous Black Bull livery. Both came out last season for Assetto Motorsport, then with a Bentley Continental GT3.
*** Greystone GT is one of the first teams to participate in the new McLaren Trophy, which will also support the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. They will field a McLaren Artura for Jon Lancaster and Ron Trenka.
*** There was already an exodus of drivers at Audi this year. René Rast, Nico Müller, Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor, among others, have left the German manufacturer, but perhaps an additional topper could leave. Kelvin van der Linde has still not signed with the brand with the four rings. Especially since the two main programs that interested him – racing with prototypes at the highest level and Formula E – are no longer at Audi, the South African is wondering about an extension.
*** SRO still has scheduling concerns, as with the Kyalami 9 Hours postponed between the 12 Hours of Bathurst and the start of the European season, there are fears that there will not be enough teams participating in the departure. According to Stéphane Ratel’s organisation, the minimum should be eight cars for the race to take place, failing which the race could be canceled for the second consecutive year. Although the man already has at least one inscription
*** And that’s GruppeM Racing. If things ended badly for the Hong Kong team during the 12 Hours of the Gulf, they later announced good news. Next year, she is again aiming for a program in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. For example, the two cars that took part in the race last weekend will be shipped back and forth. One is heading to South Africa for the 9 Hours of Kyalami, while the other is heading to Australia for the 12 Hours of Bathurst. For the remaining races, David Cheng told Sportscar365, we will see if the team can possibly enter two cars. It has been confirmed that the team will certainly no longer be present in the DTM, where no less than four chassis rushed last season.
*** Meanwhile, Lamborghini has announced that Leonardo Pulcini has been promoted to factory driver. The Italian had a good season alongside Benjamin Hites, with the pair winning the International GT Open title for Oregon Team. In a junior GT3 shootout between fifteen drivers at Portimão in early November, Pulcini came out on top. In addition, Danny Formal, Yuki Nemoto and Maximilian Paul are also part of the Sant’Agata Bolognese family, either as young professional pilots.
*** TF Sport has secured its first line-up for the European Le Mans Series and it’s a French line-up. Maxime Robin, Arnold Robin and Valentin Hasse-Clot will share an Aston Martin Vantage GTE. The Robin brothers also have a Belgian connection, having driven an Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO2 in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and Road to Le Mans competitions under the management of the WRT team.
*** Glickenhaus would like to return to the FIA WEC in 2023. It will certainly be with one car. There are also plans to be able to use a second car, but it’s unclear if it can complete an entire season. Something that also failed this year due to excessive financial pressure. The team will also have to look for new drivers, as Pipo Derani and Richard Westbrook are now connected to Cadillac’s LMDh program, although owner Jim Glickenhaus isn’t worried about that. Moreover, he also said that next season he will attempt the Nürburgring 24 Hours again.
*** Ferrari wants to perform another endurance test with its P499 before the start of the season in March. The Italian brand has already made one, some time after the FIA WEC final in Bahrain at Motorland Aragon. They wanted to see how all the systems performed under prolonged pressure. In the end, it turned out to be anything but a flawless test, which had to be interrupted regularly, but was ultimately not canceled. Antonello Coletta, couldn’t even explain to Sportscar365 how long the car finally ran. Although Ferrari’s race director expected some problems. Moreover, it is not the only brand that has encountered a problem. BMW also had a similar moment a few weeks earlier.
*** Giedo van der Garde is in demand, as after being confirmed with TDS Racing for all seven LMP2 rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, he has also signed with United Autosports. There, the Dutchman will serve as a substitute at the overlaps between the FIA WEC and IMSA, namely Portimão/Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Monza. With that, van der Garde returns to the FIA WEC for the first time since leaving that championship with Racing Team Netherlands in 2021.
*** As you have already read with us, Qatar will be on the WEC calendar in the coming years, incidentally during the opening round. This raises questions about the 1000 miles of Sebring in 2024, normally organized in March. Nevertheless, the boss of LMEM Frédéric Lequien and president of the ACO has confirmed that this competition is not in danger. The cycle in the Middle East would be scheduled for late February or early March. We must therefore wait for the 2024 calendar!
[relatedarticles=29353, 29384]Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand – British GT – Racing International Photography/Diego Onida – Martijn Wouters – Geert Franquet – Ferrari Media
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