- First victory for the GR Supra GT4 only four weeks after its race debut
- WEC driver José María López makes guest appearance in the DTM Trophy
- Belgian GT86 CS-Cup trio leads the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy
It took the GR Supra GT4 only four weeks from its competition debut to climb the top step of the podium. At the FFSA GT4 France season opener at Nogaro on 23 August, César Gazeau and Wilfried Cazalbon earned the first victory for a GR Supra GT4 by winning the Am category in the second race of the weekend. On the same event, their CMR team-mates Julien Piguet and Aurélien Panis, the son of former TOYOTA Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis, took two third places in the Silver category.
The past weeks have been intense for all GR Supra GT4 customer teams. Within the first month, the Supra entered 25 races in five different championships and scored six podium finishes. The French CMR team fields two GR Supra GT4s in the FFSA GT4 France and the European GT4 Series where the team also stood on the podium at the season opener. Speedworks Motorsport posted a top-three result at the British GT Championship round at Donington Park. In Germany, the GAZOO Racing flags are flown by Ring Racing who compete in the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie (NLS, formerly known as VLN) and the DTM Trophy.
In the DTM support series, the guest appearance of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s FIA World Endurance Championship leader caused a sensation. José María López, who normally races the 1000 bhp TS050 HYBRID LMP1 prototype, drove one of two GR Supra GT4s at the Lausitzring weekend. José showed the car’s potential with fastest times in the first free practice and second qualifying sessions, but was unlucky in both sprint races. In race one, he retired prematurely after a collision. In race two, he had to start from the back of the grid following a penalty but then stormed through the field to finish eighth.
It has also been an action-packed August in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy, which is currently led by Team Pit Lane. The Belgian team relies on the proven GT86 CS-Cup and has been runner-up in the Trophy for the last two years. Currently inheriting the first three places, the chances of winning are better than ever before. Olivier Muytjens is leading the Trophy standings with 162 points. Just one point behind is Jacques Derenne in second place, followed by “Brody” with 156 points. The Belgian trio won the SP3 class at the fifth round of the NLS, a six-hour race held last weekend. Previously, they completed the Zandvoort eight hours, a round of the Dutch DNRT championship, with their GT86 CS-Cup and finished fourth in their class.
The fiercest pursuer of this trio is Alec Arho-Havren (Finland, GT86 CS-Cup, 138 points) who forms a strong Scandinavian team together with Ortwin Herterich (Sweden, GT86 CS-Cup, 112 points). The duo recently showed its impressive form with two victories within one weekend, winning both the two-hour and the four-hour Swedish Touring Endurance Championship races at the Gotland Ring.
One month ago, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy was led by Alexander Müller (GT86 CS-Cup). Despite finishing second behind Pit Lane in last weekend’s 6h NLS race, the German dropped to fifth overall, but with 136 points he is still within striking distance of the top.
September will bring the season highlight for both Team Pit Lane and Alexander Müller with the 48th edition of the Nürburgring 24 Hours race. Taking place behind closed doors and at a rather unusual date, it will be a different event this year but the challenge of 24 hours of continuous driving in the “Green Hell” will be as demanding as ever.
This year a total of 13 drivers from seven European countries are registered for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy. The lubricant specialists RAVENOL will be equipping all the GT86s and the GR Supra GT4s built by TGR-E with the initial oil filling. PFC Brakes will again supply all participants with inexpensive high-performance brakes at special conditions.
Several innovations in the points system make the current season of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy particularly interesting. The points are once again awarded in relation to the size of the grid and length of the race. Now, however, every driver who sees the chequered flag gets points. Also new is the Champions Bonus; anyone who wins his or her championship receives 50 extra points. As before, those interested can register for the Trophy without a fee and compete for a prize money pot of EUR 55,000 with EUR 25,000 going to the champion. The 10 best results of each participant will be used to determine the winner. TOYOTA Germany offers additional prize money for all drivers who race in Germany.
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