2017 TMG GT86 Cup round three – battle for the championship lead gets closer

  • First win in 2017 for Toyota Swiss Racing Team
  • Clever strategy results in race win
  • Championship leaders Milltek Racing have to settle for finishing fifth

In 2017, the TMG GT86 Cup once again is held within the framework of the VLN. The TOYOTA one-make Cup is held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for the fifth consecutive year. The TMG GT86 CS-Cup is a close-to-production racing car with spare-part service and technical on-site service, thus representing the ideal basis for perfect motor racing at reasonable costs.

Just as it was predicted around the season kick-off, the mix of experienced teams and newcomers in the 2017 TMG GT86 Cup makes for extremely enthralling motor racing. This time, the reigning champions – the Toyota Swiss Racing Team – took the chequered flag as race winners. At the end of the four-hour race, Manuel Amweg and Frédéric Yerly crossed the line just slightly ahead of Leutheuser Racing&Events, represented by ‘Jan Sluis’ and Dirk Leßmeister. Third position was secured by Jacques Derenne and ‘Brody’ for the Belgian squad Pit Lane – AMC Sankt Vith. The current championship leader, Milltek, had to settle for finishing fifth and so, the battle for the lead is getting closer and closer.

The squad of the day most definitely was the Toyota Swiss Racing Team: 22 points for pole position, race win and fastest race lap – it couldn’t have come any better. With these 22 points the Swiss also closed in on the championship leaders, Milltek Racing. “We made our first stop a lap earlier to get out of the traffic,” revealed Manuel Amweg. A move that proved to be the perfect approach.“ Afterwards we had a free track for a long time and could set fast lap times to open a gap on our opponents. I the final hour of the race I even could slightly reduce the speed and control the race to the finish line.”

Well, the way to winning the race wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds. With three more laps to go, Leutheuser Racing&Events had closed in on the Swiss and the gap amounted to just four seconds. But jut now, when Leutheuser Racing&Events was about to really pressurise the race leaders, the team had a close encounter with another car and the left front tire was damaged. So, the team’s dreams of winning the race were over but they finished second despite the necessary tyre change they had to come in for. With this result, ‘Jan Sluis’ and Dirk Leßmeister lived up to the target of Team Principal Christian Leutheuser (“Better than third place, our best result in the 2017 season to date)” and so, the joy about what Leutheuser called “A great result” outweighed frustration about having lost the chance of battling it out for the win. 

For Milltek Racing, the championship leaders, it was a race more or less to forget. A rival crashed ahead of Milltek driver Lucian Gravis and all of a sudden, the car was standing right in front of him on the track. “I had to over the green to avoid hitting him but as a result I crashed into the crash barriers, thus damaging the right side of my car,” revealed Gravis. “The axle was bent and the repair stop cost us some 15 minutes. Afterwards we had to focus on limiting the damage by scoring some points. And we succeeded in doing so by finishing fifth.”

With the 24h race contested, the starting grids for the following VLN races naturally are smaller. As a consequence, the grid of VLN round three featured ‘only’ 148 cars but according to the drivers of the TMG Untied Team, contesting the VLN races without the GT3 vehicles makes the racing in the VLN field more comfortable. Five cars contested the race in the SP3-class, one of them the GT86 CS-Cup that once again ran absolutely trouble free. However, the team couldn’t repeat the good third place secured in VLN round two and finished the race fourth in class, this time – with Sascha setting the fastest lap time of 9:58.573 minutes of the team.

“It is nice to see that TMG United keeps on growing. We welcomed four new team members at the track. The team cooperated really well, proven before the event with some pit stop training sessions where we could reduce the time for changing the tyres by 30 seconds”, said Team Manager Jörg Mertin

The next round will be held on 8 July with the fourth of the nine race meetings in the 2017 TMG GT86 Cup season.

Interested teams and drivers will find more detailed information on the TMG GT86 Cup at www.gt86-cup.com.

Royalty-free high-resolution images of the TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH and the TMG GT86 Cup can be found at: www.toyota-motorsport-photos.com