Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered By AWS Brands Hatch


 

Brands Hatch, 30 April – 01 May 2020.

The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe sprint races at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 30 April – 01 May, were the only international GT or Sports Racing series races to be held in Great Britain in 2020. Thus they were the only opportunity for British fans to see an international series on home soil. There was the added attraction of being able to see the immensely popular multiple motorcycle world champion, Valentino Rossi, racing in a Team WRT Audi R8 LMS, naturally sporting a bright yellow and black livery and carrying his famous 46 race number. His appearance at the meeting drew huge crowds of his fans to the circuit, particularly on the Sunday race day, when it seemed that almost every second person was wearing or carrying bright yellow Rossi gear. Surprisingly, given his lengthy motorcycle racing career, it was the first time that he had raced at Brands Hatch.

The two day gathering enjoyed predominantly warm sunshine until some light rain fell early on the Sunday afternoon, after which there was cloud cover. It had a packed twelve race programme plus practice and qualifying sessions, featuring the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint races, each of 60 minutes duration, on the Sunday, with support races on both the Saturday and Sunday. The support races all had large grids, and comprised of two for the Porsche Club Championship series, with three classes, a quartet of 7 Series races for Caterham 420R and 1600 models, together with a further quartet of GT Cup Championship races. The latter series had six classes encompassing a wide variety of machinery, examples being a Brabham BT62 and a Radical RXC in the GTO class, a pair each of Ferrari 488 Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars in the GTC class, and a trio of highly modified BMW models in the GTB class, along with numerous Porsche variants and McLarens in both GT3 and GT4 configuration, through the various classes.

The pair of Ferraris in these races, comprising of two 25mins sprint races and two 50mins pit-stop races, put up a good showing overall. The #247 Khera/McDonald 488 Challenge posted three class wins, whilst the #56 EVO example of Millington/Simonsen had a pair of 3rd place podium finishes and a 4th place as a result of their efforts

The Fanatec GT World Challenge races had a 26 car entry, with Audi representation being the highest with ten cars, followed by Mercedes-AMG with five, McLaren with four, Ferrari with three, and Lamborghini and Porsche with a pair each, spread across the three classes. Unfortunately one of the Lamborghinis, the #78 Barwell Motorsport entry sat in its pit box and didn’t start, after one of its drivers, Alex Malykhin, was suddenly taken ill. The qualifying sessions saw the Silver Cup class, AF Corse entered, #53 Ferrari of Ulysse de Pauw and Pierre-Alexandre Jean, claim a surprise pole position from the more fancied Pro class contingent. This was headed by the #88 Akkodis ASP Team’s Mercedes-AMG of Jules Gounon and Jim Pla, which sat alongside the Ferrari on the front row of the grid.

The first race on the Sunday morning saw De Pauw in the Ferrari make a perfect start to lead the field into Paddock Hill Bend, but further down the order the #86 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG driven by Igor Walilko made contact with the #33 Team WRT Audi of Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer approaching the bend, this put the Audi into its sister #30 WRT Team car, with both ending up damaged in the gravel trap and out of the race. The Mercedes spun onto the grass on the infield and was able to continue, but was given a 10secs stop-and-go penalty for causing avoidable contact. Almost immediately the #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche spun into the same spot trying to overtake a McLaren. Thus the field was depleted by three cars within a few hundred yards of the start, with the safety car being deployed for around ten minutes while the marshals cleared the damaged machinery from the gravel trap. When the track went green again the Ferrari headed the field away and gradually increased the gap to the pursuing horde, with some frantic battles for the remaining podium places developing in its wake. It remained at the head of the field through the driver change pit-stop, with Pierre Alexandre Jean taking over and maintaining the momentum of his team mate to give the duo a race win on their debut outing with AF Corse. In the Pro-Am class it was another AF Corse Ferrari win, with their #21 example of Hugo Delacour and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli taking the honours, whilst their #52 car of Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini was third in that class.

Race 2 later in the afternoon saw the driving more restrained at the start with no incidents occurring on the run into Paddock Hill Bend. This time it was the #89 AKKODIS ASP Team’s Mercedes-AMG driven by Timor Boguslavskiy and Raffaelle Marciello that was the dominant force, leading from the grid to the chequered flag. The dominant Ferrari duo of Ulysse de Pauw and Pierre Alexandre Jean in the first race couldn’t repeat their performance in the second one, but still won the Silver Cup class, whilst finishing a strong fifth overall. Their #52 Pro-Am class sister car of Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini scored another podium finish with 2nd in class, whilst the team’s #21 example, of Hugo Delacour and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, finished just off the Pro-Am podium in fourth place. As we started with Valentino Rossi, maybe we should mention how he fared during the day, along with his co-driver Frédéric Vervisch. In the first race they were 13th overall and 9th in class, going better in the second race finishing 8th overall and 7th in class, to score his first series championship points.

Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Race 1 Podiums

Overall
1st - #53, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, U. de Pauw/P. A. Jean
2nd - #32, Audi R8 LMS EVO II, Team WRT, C. Weerts/D. Vanthoor
3rd - #89. Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKODIS ASP Team, T. Boguslavskiy/R. Marciello

Pro Cup
1st - #32, Audi R8 LMS EVO II, Team WRT, C. Weerts / D. Vanthoor
2nd - #89, Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKODIS ASP Team, T. Boguslavskiy / R. Marciello
3rd - #88, Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKODIS ASP Team, J. Gounon / J. Pla

Silver Cup
1st - #53, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, U. de Pauw / P. A. Jean
2nd - #87, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Akkodis ASP Team, T. Drouet / C. Stevenson
3rd - #99, Audi R8 LMS EVO II, Attempto Racing, N. Scholl / A. Aka

Pro-Am Cup
1st - #21, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, H. Delacour / C. Sbirrazzuoli
2nd - #111, McLaren 720S GT3, JP Motorsport, P. Krupinski / C. Klein
3rd - #52, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, L. Machiels / A. Bertolini

Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Race 2 Podiums

Overall & Pro Cup
1st - #89. Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKODIS ASP Team, T. Boguslavskiy / R. Marciello
2nd - #32, Audi R8 LMS EVO II, Team WRT, C. Weerts / D. Vanthoor
3rd - #88, Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKODIS ASP Team, J. Gounon / J. Pla

Silver Cup
1st - #53, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, U. de Pauw / P. A. Jean
2nd - #99, Audi R8 LMS EVO II, Attempto Racing, N. Scholl / A. Aka
3rd - #87, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Akkodis ASP Team, T. Drouet / C. Stevenson

Pro-Am Cup
1st - #111, McLaren 720S GT3, JP Motorsport, P. Krupinski / C. Klein
2nd - #52, Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO, AF Corse, L. Machiels / A. Bertolini
3rd - #188, McLaren 720 S GT3, Garage 59, M. Ramos / D. McDonald

Ferrari Entry in Fanatec GT World Challenge

Race #

Model

Chassis #

Team

Drivers

Position

 

Class Pro-Am

R1
OA / Cl.

R2
OA / Cl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

488 GT3 EVO

4628

AF Corse

H. Delacour /
C. Sbirrazzuoli

14 / 1

23 / 4

52

488 GT3 EVO

4486

AF Corse

L. Machiels /
A. Bertolini

18 / 3

19 / 2

Class Silver

 

 

53

488 GT3 EVO

4640

AF Corse

U. de Pauw /
P-A. Jean

1 / 1

5 / 1

 

Ferrari Entry in GT Cup Championship

Race #

Model

Chassis #

Team

Driver

Class GTC

56

488 Challenge EVO

236433

FF Corse

R. Millington /
B. Simonsen

247

488 Challenge

257300

Racelab

L. Khera /
D. McDonald

 

Porsche Club Championship



GT Cup Championship



7 Race Series





Text and images ... Keith Bluemel

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