News from the paddock: Week 50

*** The Toyota Racing Series will return next year, at least under a different name. The FIA ​​has taken the series under their wing in New Zealand and it is now known as Formula Region Oceania, referring to the oceanic continent. An important fact for young people aiming for points is the popular super license that gives access to Formula 1, as it increases the number of points from ten to eighteen points. After a two-year absence, thanks to Covid, the championship is now back. For example, there are five consecutive weekends between January and February, culminating in the New Zealand Grand Prix at the Hampton Downs circuit.

*** The GT4 European Series has made another minor calendar change. Normally they would go to the Nürburgring at the end of July as a support program for the Fanatech GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, but that has now been moved to the Sprint Cup round at Misano, which takes place two weeks earlier.

Barwell Motorsport – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2

*** 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 British GT and have already completed their first line-up. Will Tregurtha – runner-up in the TDM Trophy – and Mark Sansom will be at the start in the famous Black Bull livery. Both appeared last season for Aceto Motorsport, then with the Bentley Continental GT3.

*** Greystone GT is one of the first teams to enter the new McLaren Trophy, which will also support the Fanatech GT World Challenge Europe. They will field a McLaren Artura for John Lancaster and Ron Trenka.

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Charles Weerts, Dries Vandoor, and Kelvin van der Linde
Charles Weerts, Dries Vandoor, and Kelvin van der Linde

*** There have already been pilot layoffs at Audi this year. The likes of René Rast, Nico Müller, Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor have left the German constructor, but an additional topper could be on the way out. Kelvin van der Linde has yet to sign the brand with four rings. The two main programs he was particularly interested in – racing with prototypes at the highest level and Formula E – are no longer at Audi, and the South African questions the extension.

*** The SRO still has calendar concerns, with Kyalami switching the 9 Hours between the Bathurst 12 Hour and the start of the European season, fearing there won’t be enough participating teams at the start. According to Stéphane Ratel’s organization, there must be at least eight cars for the race to continue, otherwise the race could be canceled for the second year in a row. Even if the person already has at least one record

Mercedes-AMG Group GruppeM Racing - Mercedes-AMG GT3
Mercedes-AMG Group GruppeM Racing – Mercedes-AMG GT3

*** That’s GroupM Racing. Even though things ended badly for the Hong Kong team at 12 o’clock in the Gulf, it later came out with good news. Next year it once again aims for a program in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. For example, two cars that raced last weekend will be sent in two directions. One goes to Khilami 9 hours to South Africa and the other to Bathurst 12 hours to Australia. For the remaining races, David Cheng told Sportscar365, it will be seen if the team can enter two cars. Last season it was confirmed that the team would no longer be in TDM with no fewer than four chassis.

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*** Meanwhile, Lamborghini has announced that Leonardo Pulsini has been promoted to factory pilot. The Italian had a good season alongside Benjamin Hitz, both winning the International GT Open title for Team Oregon. In a GT3 Junior shootout between fifteen drivers at Portimão in early November, Pulcini came out on top. Additionally, Danny Formal, Yuki Nemoto and Maximilian Paul have also been added to the Sant’Agata Bolognese family as a young professional driver.

*** TF Sport has secured its first line-up for the European Le Mans Series, and it’s one with a French twist. Maxime Robin, Arnold Robin and Valentin Hasse-Clot will share the Aston Martin Vantage GTE. The Robin brothers also have a Belgian connection as they raced the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO2 in the Fanatech GT World Challenge Europe and Road to Le Mans competitions under the care of Team WRT.

Glickenhaus Racing - Glickenhaus 007 LMH
Glickenhaus Racing – Glickenhaus 007 LMH

*** Glickenhaus wants to return to FIA WEC in 2023. It will definitely be in a car. A second car is also being considered, but it is not certain whether it will complete a full season. One that failed this year too due to excessive financial pressure. With Pippo Terrani and Richard Westbrook now attached to Cadillac’s program at LMDh, the team may have to look for new pilots, although owner Jim Klickenhaus isn’t worried about that. In addition, he also said that he will attempt the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring again next season.

Ferrari 499P LMH
Ferrari 499P LMH

*** Ferrari intends to complete another endurance test with its P499 before the start of the season in March. The Italian brand has already completed one, after the FIAWEC final at Motorland Aragon in Bahrain. All systems wanted to see how they performed under sustained stress. In the end, it turned out to be a flawless experiment that had to be interrupted regularly, but ultimately never stopped. Antonello Coletta couldn’t even explain to Sportscar365 how long the car actually drove. Although Ferrari’s race director anticipated some trouble. Incidentally, this is not the only brand that has faced a problem. BMW experienced a similar moment a few weeks ago.

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*** Giotto van der Gaard is in demand after being confirmed by TDS Racing for seven LMP2 rounds of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship, having also signed with United Autosports. There, the Dutchman will serve as an alternate between FIA WEC and IMSA between Portimo/Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Monza. This marks Van der Garte’s return to the FIA ​​WEC for the first time since leaving the championship with Racing Team Netherlands in 2021.

*** As you have already read with us, Qatar will appear on the WEC calendar in the coming years, coincidentally in the opening round. This raises questions about the 1000 Miles of Sebring in 2024, which would normally be held in March. Nevertheless, Frédéric Lequien, president of LMEM and president of ACO, confirmed that the competition is not in jeopardy. The Middle East tour is scheduled for late February or early March. So we have to wait for the 2024 calendar!
[relatedarticles=29353, 29384]Photos: Toyota Kazoo Racing New Zealand – British GT – Racing International Photography/Diego Oneida – Martijn Wouters – Geert Francquet – Ferrari Media

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