- GR Supra GT4: Race debut at the Nürburgring, first podium at Imola
- Five races in just four weeks for GT86 CS-Cup driver Alexander Müller
- Close battle for the lead of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy
After its successful homologation, the GR Supra GT4 was already on the starting blocks at the end of March to make its eagerly-awaited race debut. However, the circumstances earlier this year delayed the car’s competitive debut until 27 June, more than three months later than anticipated, when the GR Supra GT4 finally started the first round of the Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie (NLS; previously known as VLN).
Four hours of continuous driving on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife was a tough challenge for a new car, but the GT Supra GT4 entered by Ring Racing and driven by Uwe Kleen, Andreas Gülden and Michael Tischner stood up to it, finishing fifth in the SP10 class. In July, at the NLS double-header weekend, the Eifel-based team secured another fifth place, but also encountered its first retirement after contact with another competitor.
Two GR Supra GT4s took the start of the opening rounds of the European GT4 Series in Imola, Italy on 25/26 July. The cars entered by the French CMR team showed the competitiveness of the 430 bhp car in a field of six different GT4 models. After qualifying third and fourth, CMR drivers Stéphane Lemeret and Gael Castelli took the first podium for the car in Sunday morning’s second race. The sister car with Antione Potty and Timothe Buret at the wheel also took the first points coming home ninth in the first race.
Meanwhile, the next GR Supra GT4 customer teams are already in the starting blocks. This weekend, Sam Smelt and James Kell will participate in the British GT Championship opener at Oulton Park in a Speedworks Motorsports car, while Ring Racing will field one GR Supra GT4 at the Nürburgring.
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy, a Europe-wide championship for all TGR-E customer motorsport cars, also looks back on a very busy month of racing. Although the Trophy was officially launched on 1 March, the motorsport break took its toll; the season only really kicked off in June but was immediately up to full speed.
Alexander Müller (GT86 CS-Cup) sits at the top of the leader board after an incredible feat. Thanks to the NLS double header, the 41-year-old German managed to achieve five results in just four weeks, which catapulted him into the lead of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy. Müller has collected 87 points and build up a 10-point gap. Even more remarkably, Müller has scored all his points at the Nürburgring – at the NLS and the RCN rounds.
In practice, however, the lead might not be as comfortable as it seems. A closer look at the results of 2019 Trophy runner-up Olivier Muytjens (GT86 CS-Cup) shows this. The Belgian has only posted three results so far, but has achieved extremely good scores which add up to 77 points. Muytjens took part in all three NLS races so far and was able to win the SP3 class both times on the double-header weekend.
The Belgians are currently proving to be particularly strong. This is also shown by the example of Jacques Derenne (76 points), who is only one point behind Muytjens. Their compatriot “Brody” currently ranks fourth with 71 points, all of them driving a GT86 CS-Cup car.
The Belgian trio is followed by Scandinavians Ortwin Herterich (Sweden) and Alec Arho-Havren (Finland), who had bad luck in their first race in the Swedish Touring Endurance Championship (STEC) and retired with a technical problem. But at the second race, leading over a distance of four hours, they showed their potential and took victory in their GT86 CS-Cup. Scoring 45 points each, they achieved the best individual result to date in the 2020 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Trophy and currently share fifth place. Behind them are “Calimero” (Belgium, GT86 CS-Cup) and rally driver Grega Premrl from Slovenia. The latter collected his first Trophy points with the GT86 CS-R3 at the Rallye Velenje (Slovenia).
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 thus 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 during the evaluation period will be used to determine the winner. TOYOTA Germany offers additional prize money for all drivers who race in Germany.
Copyright-free, high-resolution images of the TGR-E’s motorsport activities are available from TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s global media website www.tgr-dam.com.