***This weekend marks the first round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Cup Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup at Hockenheim. The 37-time host of the German Grand Prix is the 10th different circuit to host a round of the Endurance Cup. GTWC Europe organiser, SRO Motorsports Group, made a pilot visit last year with the Fanatec GT2 European Series.
***Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo has changed class from Gold Cup to Silver for the remainder of the Endurance Cup season. Sam De Haan, who drove for the team in the TotalEnergies Spa 24 Hours, and Patrick Kujala joined full-time racer Alex MacDowall this weekend. Lamborghini factory driver Sandy Mitchell is no longer part of the team due to his Gold driver rating.
***FIA World Endurance Championship driver Charlie Fagg will replace Kujala at the Barcelona season finale, due to the Finnish driver’s commitments to compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America rounds and the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Fagg tested the Barwell Lamborghini at Spa-Francorchamps earlier this year.
***Alessio Picariello will remain in Dinamic Motorsport’s No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R for the end of the Copa de Resistencia season in Barcelona, a senior team source confirmed to Sportscar365. Picariello has replaced defending series champion Come Ledogar. Dinamic has not issued a reason for the driver change.
***Dinamic Motorsport’s second lineup change for Hockenheim sees WEC GTE-Am driver Mikkel O. Pedersen replace Mauro Calamia in the No. 56 Silver Cup Porsche.
***Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner Martin Konrad has been recruited in place of Jonathan Hui as the Bronze-rated Designated Driver for Sky-Tempesta Racing. Hui participates in a benefit concert in his native Hong Kong.
*** At Garage 59, Dean MacDonald replaces Ethan Simioni, who has tested positive for COVID-19. MacDonald, who is the Sprint Pro-Am Cup points leader along with Miguel Ramos, climbs into the British team’s No. 159 McLaren 720S GT3 of the Silver class.
***Ayhancan Guven and Allied-Racing’s Alex Malykhin will enter this weekend’s race as a pair. They form the first combination of two drivers of the season.
***The minimum refueling time during ‘mandatory’ full service pit stops for all cars at Hockenheim is 37 seconds.
***A paid test session was held on Thursday, with all 49 cars taking to the track as teams looked to gain miles on a circuit that is new to many. Dries Vanthoor set the fastest lap time of 1m37.435s in the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. Results
***On-track action on Friday consisted of a Bronze driver test led by Cesar Gazeau in the No. 26 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi. The Frenchman, who is silver-rated but was allowed to take part in the bronze test alongside seven other silver competitors who are rookies from Hockenheim, posted a time of 1:38.176, beating Ralf Bohn in the No. 991 Herberth Motorsport Porsche by just 0.088 seconds. Results
***The No. 12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi joined the bronze test on Friday afternoon in order to carry out an ‘Additional Performance Test’ for performance balance data collection purposes. SRO’s designated BoP driver, Nico Verdonck, was at the wheel.
***SRO classifies Hockenheim as a ‘category B’ circuit, which is the same as Spa. The main BoP change since Spa is a 20kg weight reduction for the McLaren 720S GT3. The Porsche 911 GT3 R has received a 10kg reduction, while there are 5kg reductions for the Audi and BMW M4 GT3.
*** The No. 97 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is on display at the Salon Prive motoring event in the UK this weekend, along with three other Beechdean Astons as part of an exhibition for automaker Prodrive. Car No. 97, also known as chassis No. 22, which has been withdrawn from the rest of the Endurance Cup season, sits alongside the DBR9 chassis No. X1, the Vantage GTE chassis No. X2, and the Vantage GT3 chassis No. X3.
***This weekend marks the first GTWC Europe Endurance Cup race without an Aston Martin on the grid since the end of the 2013 season at the Nürburgring nine years ago.
***Madpanda Motorsport will return to the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup at the Valencia season finale and will miss the ADAC GT Masters round at Sachsenring as a result. The team, which is contesting the Endurance Cup this weekend, is also considering whether it will contest the final of the GT Masters at Hockenheim, although it stressed in a statement that “there are no closed doors” for its participation in the German championship next season. Maxpanda changed its schedule from the Sprint Cup to GT Masters this year.
***Jules Gounon, Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello reunited at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, where their TotalEnergies Spa 24 Hours winning Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was displayed alongside the 2013 winning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the 1971 ‘Red Pig’ 300 SEL.
***Michelle Gatting has tattooed the 24 Hours of Spa logo and the Latin phrase ‘veni vidi vici’ (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’) on her left arm following her recent Gold Cup class win at the race as a member of the Iron Dames Ferrari team.
***Valentino Rossi is ready for the penultimate round of his GTWC Europe program with Team WRT: “We tried [at Hockenheim] for one day during the winter, in bad weather, but it still made it possible to check that the car runs well there,” he said. “It is a difficult track, narrow and with areas of strong braking”. Rossi has stated emphatically that he plans to stay on the series next year.
***British team JOTA recently tested at Silverstone to prepare for the trip to Hockenheim in their McLaren 720S GT3.
***Due to Hockenheim being absent from the simulation game Assetto Corsa Competizione, this weekend’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series round will take place on a digital version of Suzuka, at the Fanatec Arena located in the paddock. The entry list includes the likes of Maro Engel (GetSpeed Performance), Kelvin van der Linde (WRT), Daniel Juncadella (Akkodis ASP), Dennis Lind (JP Motorsport) and Nicklas Nielsen (Iron Lynx).
***In the Pro category, Nielsen will race with 15kg of success ballast, while Luca Ghiotto from Tresor by Car Collection has an additional 10kg. The 15kg ballast in the Silver Cup goes to Attempto Racing’s Alex Aka, with Tresor by Car Collection driver Lorenzo Patrese carrying an extra 10kg. See the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series standings here.
***Fanatec has been named the Official Hardware Supplier for next month’s FIA Motorsport Games. The racing simulation element of the international multi-discipline event will feature GT3 cars on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform. Gran Turismo was used for the first Motorsport Games in 2019.
***The two Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos have identical liveries for the first time this season. The French team’s Silver Cup machine sports the same yellow and dark blue livery that the sister car No. 88 Pro has worn at every round except TotalEnergies’ 24 Hours of Spa, where it had a unique Puma design. .
***After winning the 24 Hours of Spa, Akkodis ASP drivers Marciello, Juncadella and Gounon lead the Endurance Cup standings by 11 points over the Iron Lynx Ferrari trio of Daniel Serra, Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon.
***Those two crews are front and center in the battle for the Endurance Cup title, and the next closest drivers are 31 points clear of second place. There is currently a tie for third place between GetSpeed Performance’s Luca Stolz and Steijn Schothorst, and Iron Lynx’s James Calado, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina.