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    Weekend notebook: two titles decided in Barcelona

    On a weekend featuring the conclusion of several championships in Europe, the Prancing Horse claimed two titles: one in the International GT Open, and another in the GT Cup Europe.

    Maranello 23 ottobre 2023

    On a weekend featuring the conclusion of several championships in Europe, the Prancing Horse claimed two titles: one in the International GT Open, with Marco Pulcini and Eddie Cheever III’s victory in the Pro-Am class in the Ferrari 296 GT3, a triumph that goes down in history, bringing with it the first international title for the new car that made its racing debut in the 2023 season, and another in the GT Cup Europe, with Ivan Velasco and Jorge Cabezas taking the overall crown in the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo. Also on the Iberian Peninsula, but in Portugal, the Reds achieved positive results in the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans Cup. Hockenheim also hosted the last event for the Ferrari 296 GT3s competing in the DTM.


    International GT Open. The 2023 season which, as usual, closed at the Barcelona circuit, ended with a victory in the Pro-Am in Race-2 for Marco Pulcini and Eddie Cheever III in the Ferrari 296 GT3 number 27 of AF Corse, who thus also celebrated the class title on the podium. Already top of the standings ahead of the Spanish round, the pair finished the season on 69 points.

    In the Pro series, Nicola Marinangeli and Riccardo Agostini in the AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 number 51 bade farewell in sixth position in the overall standings and with a runner-up spot in Race-1.

    In the Am, the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 number 91 of Team Baron Motorsport with Philip Baron and Ernst Kirchmayr took second place in Race-1, ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari number 61 of Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald, who closed the championship in third place, just six points off the top. Kirchmayr finished fourth, while teammate Baron was fifth.


    GT Cup Europe. The Barcelona track was also kind to Ivan Velasco and Jorge Cabezas in the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo number 80 of MERTEL Motorsport, who clinched the overall title in the season’s last round. A sixth and a tenth place were enough for the Spanish pair to take the crown, building on the lead accumulated during the season with three wins. MERTEL Motorsport came second in the team standings.

    In the Am class, brothers Alexandre and Mikael Bochez in the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo number 69 of Kessel Racing couldn’t close the gap to the leaders, partly because they were caught up in an accident. They finished the championship in third place.ù


    ELMS. The Portuguese double round that closed the European Le Mans Cup season featured five Ferraris in the LMGTE class, with Spirit of Race scoring a third place in the 4 Hours of Portimão with the Ferrari 488 GTE number 55 crewed by Duncan Cameron, David Perel and Matthew Griffin, and several top ten finishes.

    The first of the two races, the 4 Hours of Algarve, which ran in very changeable weather and with several entries of the Safety Car, saw the Prancing Horse’s best result, the fourth place of the Kessel Racing 488 GTE number 57 with Takeshi Kimura, Gregory Huffaker II and official driver Daniel Serra. The crew were unluckier in Race-2, finishing in twelfth position. AF Corse came sixth in the number 51 car driven by Kriton Lentoudis, Rui Aguas and Ulysse De Pauw, who finished behind the winners in the 4 Hours of Portimão. However, a penalty for race time irregularities relegated them to seventh place.

    The weather was even more extreme for Race-2 at the Portuguese circuit, first delayed because of torrential rain, before finally setting off under the Safety Car with three hours and 10 minutes remaining. Besides Spirit of Race’s third place with the trio of Cameron, Perel and Griffin seventh in Race-1, the difficult contest saw JMW Motorsport’s number 66 take fourth place with Martin Berry, Lorcan Hanafin and Jon Lancaster, who were 11th in Friday’s race.

    Formula Racing's Ferrari 488 GTE number 50 couldn't do better than twelfth and ninth, with the other official driver, Nicklas Nielsen, sharing the wheel with Johnny and Conrad Laursen.


    Le Mans Cup. AF Corse’s championship in the GT3 class of the Le Mans Cup closed with a fifth and a tenth place. The last thrilling round ran on the Algarve track in the pouring rain, starting behind the Safety Car and ending prematurely because of the wet track conditions. The Ferrari 296 GT3 number 51, with the two Japanese drivers Koizumi Hiroshi and Kei Cozzolino at the wheel, climbed three places from eighth on the starting grid. With a victory in the Aragon round under their belts, ten points from a fifth-place finish gave them second place in the standings.

    For Frenchmen Charles-Henri Samani and Emmanuel Collard in the sister car number 83, the curtain fell on the season with a tenth place.


    DTM. The two Ferrari 296 GT3s of Emil Frey Racing performed well in the last round of the 2023 DTM season at the Hockenheim circuit. The number 14 car, driven by Jack Aitken, and the number 69 with Thierry Vermeulen, proved quick, especially in the two qualifying sessions, with Aitken’s fifth place in the first and Vermeulen’s sixth in the second. The British driver then finished Race-1 in seventh position and Race-2 in tenth. However, the young Dutchman took eleventh and twenty-third place in the championship’s final round.

    23 ottobre, 2023