Imola Friday Notebook – Sportscar365

Photo: Jules Bénichou/21 Creation

***Hugo Valente set the tone in Friday afternoon’s 60-minute bronze event. The French driver set a time of 1:41.739 at the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II Tresor by Car Collection n°11, which competes in the Silver Cup category. Results

***Valente was one of seven Silver riders exempted from the Bronze event, as a competitor who had never driven Imola before, either in racing conditions or in a practice session. private or official trials.

***Jonathan Hui was the best Bronze driver and second overall in the Sky-Tempesta Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, 0.262 seconds behind Valente. Jens Liebhauer took third place for Winward Racing, in a session that took place in dry but windy conditions.

*** Inception Racing missed the Bronze event as it spent Thursday repairing its McLaren 720S GT3 following an accident for Brendan Iribe in Wednesday’s cash event. According to team manager Bas Leinders, Iribe spun on the grass and into the barriers at the entrance to Tamburello, dodging a braking car.

***Inception’s #7 McLaren chassis was not replaced, but Leinders told Sportscar365 that “quite a lot of work” was needed on the right rear corner.

*** Iribe missed the 6pm drivers’ briefing, but Leinders said that was not the result of the crash as the American did not attend the meeting due to business commitments.

***SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel addressed the GTWC Europe riders at the start of the briefing and welcomed Valentino Rossi ahead of the motorcycle racing champion’s first full season in GTWC Europe.

*** Ratel thanked Rossi for choosing GTWC Europe the year after his retirement from MotoGP: “Your contribution to this platform is incredible: the effect on spectators, television and coverage is incredible. Personally, and I think everyone does, I wish you a fantastic season.

***The Turn 9 and Turn 15 exits have been identified as track boundary hotspots, with drivers advised that any left wheel falling outside the red painted curb will be considered a violation.

*** According to race director Alain Adam, the GPS-based 3DTK track limits system is only used by 21 cars this weekend after being tested at several GTWC Europe events last year. Adam said the new system is “not entirely ready due to some things” that need to be sorted out. Track limit penalties will only be imposed based on the observations of the marshals. SRO has appointed an “Assistant Race Director responsible for controlling track limits”. The system included small orange boxes on the roof of each car.

***Adam also pointed out that touring cars must adhere to blue flag warnings, addressing an issue that arose at some races last season. He told drivers he now had the ability to send blue flag warnings into the car from race control.

***The minimum refueling time has been set at 40 seconds for each “compulsory” pit stop during the 3 Hours of Imola. A mandatory pit stop includes fuel, tires and a driver change.

***13 cars are on the list of entries for the opening round of season 2 of the Fanatec GT2 European Series. Six Audi R8 LMS GT2s, three KTM X-Bow GT2s, a pair of Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsports and unique Lamborghini and Brabham entries make up the field.

***SRO boss Ratel will not be competing in the GT2 European Series this weekend. The creator of the formula played a full season last year at the wheel of an Audi LP Racing.

***Ian Loggie will be the Bronze-rated driver in Team GB’s roster for the FIA ​​Motorsport Games, according to Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Chris Froggatt. The remaining driver positions are yet to be determined, with Froggatt saying he could either team up with Loggie in the two-driver Pro-Am race or move up to the single-driver Pro field, depending on how the grid forms and how he adapts. to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo this year.

***The new Pirelli P Zero DHF tyre, which makes its world debut this weekend, should produce much faster qualifying times than its DHE predecessor which was used at Imola in 2020. “If the temperature stays like this , the engines will be better, so probably a second or more faster,” Pirelli race director Matteo Braga told Sportscar365 on Friday.

***The best qualifying time of 2020 was a 1:41.213 set by Frederic Vervisch in an Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. The fastest lap of this week’s track action was clocked in 1:40.816 by Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed ​​driver Steijn Schothorst in paid practice.

***JP Motorsport driver Christian Klien is hoping to avenge the disappointment of his last stint at Imola in 2014, when his Newblood by Morand Racing Morgan LMP2 broke down in the final laps of a European Le Mans Series race. Klien is preparing for his first full season in the Endurance Cup since 2018 with Emil Frey Lexus Racing.

***JP Motorsport has hired former FFF Racing Team GT3 engineers to bolster its two-car McLaren programme, the team’s biggest commitment to a series since its inception in 2020. FFF team principal Andrea Caldarelli , is in the Imola paddock despite the absence of his organization on the GTWC Europe grid. Caldarelli is overseeing the FFF’s increased four-car entry in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe.

***Reigning Super Trofeo Europe champion Oregon Team withdrew their season-opening Pro entry from the Support Series after Luciano Tarabini crashed at Tosa in Free Practice 1, voiding the frame.

***AF Corse driver Stefano Constantini was heavily fined €1,150 (US$1,271) for exceeding the 50 km/h speed limit in the 22.8 km/22.8 km pit lane. h (about 14 mph) in the Bronze event.

***CMR is considering additional participation in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa with a vehicle from a manufacturer other than the Bentley Continental GT3 which it drives full-time in the Endurance Cup. Team principal Charly Bourachot said it was “a bit early” to go into details but the French squad are starting to prepare for the future.

“We kept the Bentley because I really like this car,” Bourachot told Sportscar365. “But it’s definitely not a car for the future. Now we have to think about the next one. »

*** Bourachot added that CMR expects to be able to make pilot changes with paraplegic pilot Nigel Bailly within the minimum refueling time of 40 seconds. Bailly controls the Bentley’s throttle with a paddle on the steering wheel and applies the brake using a push-function hand lever. The manual control system was developed by CMR.

***CrowdStrike has entered into a partnership with the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, expanding its multi-year relationship with SRO America. CrowdStrike’s Falcon platform will be used to protect the 24H Spa’s digital systems from cybersecurity threats, while the American company’s logos will be visible on billboards around the circuit.

*** Saturday’s track action begins with a 90-minute free practice session starting at 9 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET). Pre-qualifiers, which also last 90 minutes, will then take place at 2:05 p.m. (8:05 a.m. ET).

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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