The International GT Open championship returns, with the fourth round held at the Le Castellet circuit where Ferrari will have a strong showing. After just a few days, attention again turns to the GT World Challenge Asia, which this time is taking place at Motegi, Japan.
International GT Open. The fourth round of the International GT Open season visits the south of France and the Paul Ricard circuit with a host of Ferraris in the line-up. In the main class, the two young drivers Nicola Marinangeli and Riccardo Agostini are going for their debut win of the season and will be racing with a Ferrari 296 GT3 for the first time, AF Corse’s number 51.
In the Pro Am class, which sees 15 cars competing, Marco Pulcini and Eddie Cheever are leading the standings with AF Corse’s number 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020. They are the only pair to have won two races this season. Trailing them by two points is the crew of Niccolò Schirò and Nicolò Rosi at the wheel of Kessel Racing’s number 38 296 GT3. The Swiss team is also fielding another 296 GT3, the number 11, driven by Frederic Jousset and David Fumanelli. Racing One will also be sporting a new Ferrari with Omar Jackson and Axcil Jefferies. Staying in the Pro Am class, there will also be a 488 GT3 Evo 2020 – AF Corse’s number 55 with Laurent De Meeus and Jamie Stanley.
In the Am class there are a number of 488 GT3 Evo 2020s entered, including the leaders (tied with two other crews), Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald, at the wheel of AF Corse’s number 61. Just three points behind are Ernst Kirchmayr and Philipp Baron of the Ferrari Baron Motorsport team. In the same class, and with the same model, are Olimp Racing’s number 5 with Stanislaw Jedliński and Krystian Korzeniowski, Racing One’s number 10 driven by “Jacob Schell” and Stefan Aust, Kessel Racing’s number 133 with the returning Murat Cuhadaroglu and Emanuele Tabacchi (the latter won the Trofeo Pirelli Am and the Finali Mondiali in 2019 and the Trofeo Pirelli in 2020), as well as two cars fielded by AF Corse, with newcomers Franck and Henri Dezoteux (a father and son duo) and Gino Forgione alongside Andrea Montermini. Alessandro Cozzi and Giorgio Sernagiotto will be taking to the track in the Am class for the Piacenza-based team too, with the number 25 Ferrari 296 GT3.
After free practice on Friday, qualifying will take place on Saturday from 8.58 to 9.28 a.m., with the 70-minute race getting underway at 1.15 p.m. Sunday qualifying is from 8.30 to 9.00 a.m. and the 60-minute Race-2 at 1.50 p.m.
GT Cup Europe. Over the same weekend, the Paul Ricard circuit will also host the third round of the GT Cup Europe, with five Ferraris featuring in the entry list. Velasco and Jorge Cabezas – with Mertel Motorsport’s number 80 488 Challenge Evo – will start at the top of the Pro Am standings thanks to the double-win they secured at Portimão. The team will be taking another two cars to France: the number 81 driven by Luca Ludwig and Stephen Liquorish in the Pro Am class and the number 19 with Stefano Bozzoni and Fernando Navarrete in the Am class. Second in the Am leaderboard are the Bochez brothers, Alexandre and Mikael, with Kessel Racing’s number 69 Ferrari. Completing the line-up of cars from the Maranello-based manufacturer is the number 17 fielded by newcomer Rossocorsa. The team has entrusted the car to Andrea Belicchi and Lorenzo Ferdinando Innocenti, who will compete in the Pro Am.
After Friday’s free practice, qualifying and the 50-minute Race-1, starting at 5.50 p.m., are scheduled for Saturday. On Sunday, qualifying is in the morning with the second 50-minute race kicking off at 3.50 p.m.
GT World Challenge Asia. The fourth round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS season takes place at the weekend at Motegi, from 21 to 23 July, less than a week after the Suzuka leg. Compared to the last round, four Ferraris will feature, with the addition of CarGuy Racing’s number 1 in the Pro Am class after Takeshi Kimura and Kei Cozzolino were absent at Suzuka due to the latter’s involvement in the European Le Mans Series. As well as the GT Asia, drivers will also be competing for the Japan Cup, which sees Comet Racing’s number 7 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with Yusuke Yamasaki and Yorikatsu Tsujiko at the top of the GT3 Am standings.
Completing the line-up of Ferrari cars are LMcorsa’s number 60 with Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka in the GT3 Pro Am – also competing in the Japan Cup, as is the number 1 – and Maezawa Racing’s number 555 with Piti Bhirombhakdi and Naoki Yokomizo, again in the GT3 Pro Am.
Free practice takes place on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday from 11.12 to 11.34 a.m. and Race-1 from 3.20 to 4.20 p.m. On Sunday, Race-2 is from 11.40 a.m. to 12.40 p.m.