Weekly Racing Roundup (2.8.21)

Photo: MPS Agency

***Michelin Le Mans Cup outfit MV2S Racing will step up to the European Le Mans Series LMP3 class this year. Its Ligier JSP320 Nissan will be driven by Christophe Cresp, Adrien Chila and 2019 GTE champion Fabien Lavergne who is also the team’s director.

***Team Virage has also confirmed its presence on the ELMS LMP3 grid. The former Nielsen Racing trio of Garett Grist, Rob Hodes and Charles Crews will switch to driving the Spanish team’s Ligier.

***Romain Dumas and Julien Andlauer headline Rutronik Racing’s driver lineup for the ADAC GT Masters title-winning team’s Nürburgring program with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Tobias Mueller and Tristan Viidas complete the four-man crew. Rutronik, which has run Audi machinery in recent GT Masters seasons, will contest the first three NLS races and the Nürburgring 24.

***The eponymous race team of Bundesliga footballer Max Kruse has partnered with Falken Tyres for the upcoming Nürburgring endurance campaign. Max Kruse Racing, which is co-owned by Union Berlin striker Kruse and racing driver Benjamin Leuchter, will run a Falken-backed Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR in the SP3T category.

***Zakspeed is targeting an increased ADAC GT4 Germany presence this year, with a two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 program in the works. The team already runs two GT3-spec AMGs in ADAC GT Masters. Zakspeed joined GT4 Germany part way through 2020.

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Oliver Gavin has joined the Asian Le Mans Series broadcast team. The former Corvette Racing driver will work alongside Graham Goodwin in the commentary booth for the season taking place this month.

***The final TBA lineup on the Asian LMS entry list has been completed, following United Autosports’ confirmation of Rory Penttinen and reigning ELMS LMP3 champion Wayne Boyd in the team’s No. 23 Ligier JS P320 Nissan alongside Manuel Maldonado.

***United Autosports co-owner Richard Dean said: “[Penttinen] had a very impressive year in the Michelin Le Mans Cup last year so I am confident that along with Manuel and Wayne, he will be fighting at the front. We have three very good lineups for this series so I have no doubt that all three will be fighting at the front.”

***A single qualifying session will determine the starting order for both of this weekend’s four-hour Asian LMS races at Dubai Autodrome. Each car’s fastest time in the 15-minute spell will be used for race one, while second-best times will be used for race two. Each class will have its own session.

***SPS Automotive Performance is set to return to Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS this year. The German squad campaigned a Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in both Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup last season.

***Chilean racer Benjamin Hites is switching from Mercedes-AMG to Ferrari machinery for the coming GTWC Europe season. Hites, who is FIA Silver-rated, has signed with Rinaldi Racing after making his championship debut with AKKA-ASP in 2020.

Photo: Filipe Albuquerque Twitter

***Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and reigning WEC and ELMS LMP2 champion Filipe Albuquerque was recently awarded the Order of Merit by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Albuquerque is the second Portuguese racing driver to be officially honored by his nation in this way, joining last season’s ABB FIA Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa.

***Sim racing YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent will tackle a real-world racing program this year as part of the Praga Guest Driver Programme. Broadbent, whose channel has 643,000 subscribers, will pilot a Praga R1 in the Britcar Endurance Championship.

***Racing sim Assetto Corsa Competizione launches a new pack for the Intelligent Money British GT Championship on Wednesday. The update includes 40 liveries and 70 drivers from the 2019 season, plus the additions of Oulton Park, Donington Park and Snetterton.

***Naoya Gamou and Togo Suganami will continue to drive the K2 R&D Leon Racing Mercedes-AMG in Super GT this year. The pair finished third in the 2020 standings.

***The Bologna-based AKM by Antonelli team plans to run two Mercedes-AMGs in this year’s International GT Open. One car is set to compete in Pro, alongside a Kaspersky-backed entry in Pro-Am. Additionally, Team Lazarus and Optimum Motorsport are set to return to the series with Bentley and McLaren machinery, the series has declared.

On this weekend: Asian Le Mans Series (Dubai Autodrome)

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