Magny-Cours Weekend Notebook – Sportscar365
*** The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup is at Magny-Cours for the second time, following the inaugural visit last year when the former site of the French Grand Prix hosted the second round in September . This is the first time that a French circuit has organized the opening of the Sprint Cup since Nogaro in 2015. Misano, Brands Hatch and Zolder have taken turns since.
*** The Sprint Cup is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of championships contested at Magny-Cours this weekend. Eight support series are on the program: FFSA French GT, FFSA TC France, Porsche Carrera Cup France, French Formula 4, Alpine Elf Europa Cup, Renault Clio Cup Europe, Sprint Cup by Funyo and Trophee Mitjet.
*** The busy program includes a total of 22 races, while nearly 250 cars are expected on site through the various competitions. There is a cross between GTWC Europe and GT French with Sainteloc Racing, AKKA-ASP and CMR racing cars in both series.
*** Note, Jim Pla is competing this weekend in GTWC Europe and in French GT. The AKKA-ASP rider was the fastest Silver Cup competitor in both Sprint Cup practice sessions on Friday. The two championships qualify consecutively this afternoon.
*** The French GT Championship includes several familiar names, including former LMP1 and Formula E driver Nicolas Prost, former Audi DTM driver Adrien Tambay and 24 Hours of Le Mans podium Soheil Ayari.
*** Christopher Mies will drive the # 66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo in place of compatriot Dennis Marschall, who will represent Audi Sport Team Phoenix in the Nürburgring 24 qualifying race on Sunday. Marschall and Alex Aka were scheduled to compete in the Silver Cup, but the introduction of two-time Nürburgring 24 winner Mies necessitated conversion to Pro status.
*** For all his GT racing experience, the factory Audi driver Mies has never raced at Magny-Cours before.
*** Emil Frey Racing repairs his # 163 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo after an accident that brought out the red flags during pre-qualifying on Friday evening. It is not known what caused the crash and the extent of the damage, but a spokesperson for the team said the Swiss team are working to be ready for qualifying later today.
*** Three penalties for speeding in the pit lane were imposed during free practice and pre-qualifying, including a fine of 450 € for Benjamin Goethe of the WRT who exceeded the 50 km / h limit of a little over 9 km / h.
*** The minimum pit stop time for the Pro-Am category, from pit-in to pit-out, has been retained at 53 seconds compared to last year. Only four Pro-Am cars are entered, reproducing the number that contested the 2020 season. British teams Barwell Motorsport and Garage 59 are new to the field, while SPS Automotive Performance and AF Corse were on the grid last season.
*** After a Silver Cup car placed third overall in pre-qualifying, eyes will be on the category to see if anyone can repeat Simon Gachet and Steven Palette’s surprise victory last year. Gachet also took pole in an Audi Sainteloc Racing. Neither driver is on the grid this weekend, with Gachet focusing on the Endurance Cup with his new team AKKA-ASP and Palette in TC France.
*** Despite being on the full season entry list, RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is not competing in the Sprint Cup this year. The British team are organizing the Endurance Cup and plan to return for the second round at Paul Ricard after a crash at Monza. Allied-Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R was also entered for the provisional season but is not at Magny-Cours.
*** Quite remarkably, this ninth season of the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup is the first to involve full-time Porsche participation, courtesy of Dinamic Motorsport. Closest to this in the past was a three-round program for the German team Team a-workx in 2016.
*** Felipe Fraga is expected to drive for AKKA-ASP in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by AWS. The Brazilian was a full-time member of the ASP Endurance Cup last year, but was not included in the French organization’s GTWC Europe setup in 2021.
*** The Fanatec GT Rebellion Series is unlikely to take place this year. Endurance-Info reports that the lack of registrations has forced SRO to withdraw its new three-hour GT3 series for Bronze-rated drivers from next weekend’s GT Sports Club meeting in Hockenheim.
*** Live coverage of the qualifying sessions and the Magny-Cours races will be available on the GTWC Europe website and on the GT World YouTube channel. The latter also includes the streaming of the French action GT and TC France.
*** Qualifying for the first Sprint Cup race of the season begins at 5:05 p.m. CEST (11:05 p.m. EST), followed by the start of the race at 10:25 p.m. (4:25 p.m. EST). The second qualifying race will be at 10:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. EST) for the race at 2:40 p.m. (8:40 a.m. EST).
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.