Toyota blitzed the competition in a dominant performance at the latest JapShow event at the Santa Pod Raceway. The hard-fought Pro-Shootout competition, which pits the cream of professionally-prepared Japanese machines against each other in timed runs along the famous drag strip, resulted in an all-Toyota final on 25 June.
The contenders for victory in the top, all-wheel/rear-wheel drive category were Northumberland’s Kevin Huntley in the Envy Performance Supra and Adrian Smith, from Cambridgeshire, in his 650bhp Fensport-tuned Celica GT4X. In the qualifying rounds they saw off challenges from rival Supras, Celicas, Subaru Imprezas and Nissan Skylines.
Cheered on by an 8,000-strong crowd at the Bedfordshire venue, Smith clocked a personal best, hitting 135mph in 10.647 seconds. But it wasn’t enough to beat Huntley, who also achieved a personal record, powering the Supra to 145mph in 10.409 seconds to shade the race on the line.
Demonstrating the pinnacle of Toyota performance and reliability, the drag strip heroes will be locked in combat again at the next JapShow at Santa Pod on 8 October.
After a six-week mid-season break, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship resumes over the weekend of 15/16 July at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire. Heading into rounds nine and ten of the 20-race season, just two points split Damien Faulkner (Co Donegal) and Tim Harvey (Witney) at the head of the championship.
The Carrera Cup is enjoying a fabulous season in 2006, with great racing from the all-new ‘Type 997’ 911 GT3 Cup cars that were introduced at the start of the season. Strong grids, packed with quality teams and drivers, and a new Pro-Am category are making this the best season so far for the Porsche championship.
Defending Carrera Cup champion Faulkner currently has a slender lead in the title race, but former BTCC ace Harvey is chasing hard and there are just two points between them as they head to Yorkshire after the long break. They have pulled 30 points clear of the chasing pack after the opening eight races, but it's too early just yet to talk about a two-horse title-race!
The car most likely to come between Faulkner and Harvey and the chequered flag is the Cleveland-based Team Irwin with Red Line Racing entry. Car number two has won five of the eight races to date, three times in the hands of Richard Westbrook (London) and twice with Danny Watts (Buckingham) at the wheel. Westbrook is in with a very strong chance of winning the international Porsche Michelin Supercup title this season and will be racing at the French Grand Prix meeting at Magny Cours over the Croft weekend. So, former F3 single-seater ace Watts is again racing the car and he will be going all-out to repeat his double Oulton Park victory.
Other strong runners in the Pro category include Richard Williams (London), one of the revelations of the season, Jason Templeman (Nottingham), Michael Caine (Newmarket) and Tech 9 team mates Mark Cole (Inkpen, Berkshire) and Phil Hindley (Chester). Williams will resume his Carrera Cup campaign at Croft after two weekends of racing in the Porsche Supercup at Silverstone and Indianapolis, USA, over recent weeks.
Meanwhile, the new Pro-Am category is delivering some great racing within the overall race and it is young Phil Quaife (Tonbridge) who heads to Croft with a useful points lead. However, Jason Young (Oakham), Sam Edwards (Aylesbury), Nigel Rice (Beverley) and David Ashburn (London) are all battling hard for their share of the glory and it was rising star Andy Purdie (Maidstone) who claimed his first Pro-Am victory last time out at Thruxton in Hampshire.
After qualifying during the morning of Saturday (15 July), round nine will run on Saturday afternoon, with round ten on Sunday during the British Touring Car Championship meeting.
This weekend (7, 8, 9, July) Monza will echo to the sound of more than 80 Ferrari V8 engines as the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli moves to Italy for Round 4 with the GB team looking to get on the podium yet again.
The famous circuit at Monza will present a full weekend of motorsport action with the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli hosting both the European and Italian Championships plus the Italian GT Championship. The Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB heads off to Italy with a track record that includes a podium finish in every round of the 2006 championship.
Monza circuit is known locally as the ‘Temple of Speed’ and has been the scene of many historic Ferrari victories. It is set in the Monza Park and is the fastest Formula 1 circuit on the Grand Prix calendar. The circuit is a firm favourite with the Tifosi who can often be seen climbing the trees and the old circuit banking just to get a better view of their Ferrari heroes. The atmosphere at this circuit is unique.
Ferrari Challenge racing is the ultimate expression of luxury lifestyle racing, bringing together the race proven technology of the Ferrari F430 Challenge car, the best hospitality, competitive racing and entertainment for our clients on and off the track. In Italy this weekend spectators will see four races in the European Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and two in the Italian Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli across the weekend plus the two Italian GT races.
Ferrari GB Managing Director Massimo Fedeli said: ‘The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli offers Ferrari customers the ultimate opportunity to race the F430 Challenge with other clients, and enjoy the luxury experience of racing in true Ferrari style. At Spa we had to fight hard for our podium finish with Ross Kaiser, and we’re now looking forward to Monza aiming for another victory for the team. This weekend we will also welcome Ferrari clients from the UK who will take the opportunity to join the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB in Round 4 of this unique luxury lifestyle racing."
In a four-car team this weekend, the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB will look to get on the podium again with the backing of three of the UK’s Ferrari dealers; Graypaul of Nottingham, HR Owen in London and Maranello Sales Ltd in Egham, Surrey.
Driving for Ferrari Dealer Team GB will be Ross Kaiser in the European Trofeo Pirelli while Christian Passuti and Lorenzo Case will venture into the Italian Trofeo Pirelli, with Borislav Maletić and Geoff Farmer competing in the European Coppa Shell.
The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is the world’s most exclusive single-make racing series created as the perfect outlet for Ferrari owners who want to race. The 2006 season includes races in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, climaxing at the World Finals in Italy all delivered in the style and luxury associated with any Ferrari occasion.
Maserati GB’s Moz Fabris and Phil Burgan on the podium in the Trofeo Audemars Piguet Maserati race at Oschersleben. Fabris leads Trofeo Championship.
FIA GT – A great Maserati one-two brought the third round of the FIA GT at Oschersleben (Germany) to a close on Sunday 2 July. First and second went to the Maserati MC12s driven by Bartels-Bertolini and Davies-Biagi in the Vitaphone Racing Team cars. At the end of the three hour race, the Trident cars outclassed the Aston Martin of Deletraz-Piccini, the Saleen driven by Bert-Janis and the other Aston driven by Gollin-Babini. With this result, Bartels and Bertolini move to the top of the drivers' standings and Maserati stays in second position in the Manufacturers’ Cup. For Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini, Oschersleben is the second win of the season and comes on the heels of the Silverstone victory in round one.
Michael Bartels maintained his pole once the green light came on. He extended his lead over the chasing group led by Bert-Janis' Saleen and the Aston Martin driven by Deletraz-Piccini. The second Maserati MC12, with Englishman Jamie Davies at the wheel, started from the seventh row (14th) after being hit with a penalty handed down at Brno. However, he climbed seven places in one lap and then engaged in a duel with the Aston Martin driven by Pescatori-Ramos (overtaken on lap four) and Gollin-Babini (overtaken on lap six). On lap eight Davies swept past the Aston Martin with Wendlinger-Peter on board to move into fifth behind Longin-Kumpen-Hezemans (Corvette).
The first Maserati MC12 to make a stop was that driven by Davies on lap 45. Replacing him was the Italian Thomas Biagi. Michael Bartels followed into the pits to hand over to Andrea Bertolini on lap 46. The places remained more or less unchanged with Bertolini leading and Biagi having moved into fourth and duelling for third with Janis-Bert. The second hour saw many of the back markers being lapped. Bertolini still led and Biagi was still fighting for a podium position. After the second pit stop, made by Biagi on lap 84 and Bertolini on 90, the two Maseratis were in first and second with Bartels and Davies back in the driving seat and heading for the finish line.
The next FIA GT championship race will take place on 29-30 July with the fascinating Spa Francorchamps 24 Hours (Belgium).
"It was not an easy race," declared Andrea Bertolini. "When I took the wheel for the second stint, I tried to maintain the advantage we had built up. The track had less grip owing to the high temperatures. I had to take care in the pack with the back markers and we managed to stay in the lead even after the pit stops. It was great race."
"We had to fight from start to finish," stated Jamie Davies. "This was because we started from row seven and I don't know how many times Biagi and I overtook. Aside from the back markers, we attacked and defended well, even over the last few laps when we had the Deletraz and Piccini Aston Martin on our tails. All this was thanks to a perfect MC12, a superb team and excellent Pirelli tyres."
Trofeo Audemars Piguet Maserati Europa 2006 – The fourth round of the Trofeo Audemars Piguet Maserati Europa was also held at the German circuit of Oschersleben. The race order at the chequered flag was Diego Alessi, the Albert Thurn Und Taxis-Horst Von Saurma duo and Moz Fabris. But because Alessi did not take to the track with his usual co-driver Francesco Ravasio and Thurn Und Taxis-Von Saurma were at the wheel of the Toora VIP Car, Fabris reached the top spot, followed by the young crew of Nicolò Oddi-Giacomo Ricci and Philip Burgan.
Reigning champion Alberto Cerrai was forced to retire on lap 13, after his car suffered electrical problems. Moz Fabris is the new leader of the Trofeo Maserati with 90 points, followed by Cerrai (66) and De Megni (44), who maintains third place over Oddi and Zenere. For Fabris, Oschersleben was the second win of the season following his recent triumph at Brno (Czech Republic).
These successes add to the two second places at Monza and Silverstone. The Oschersleben race saw Oddi and Ricci shine. Starting from row two, the pair could have claimed second overall (the first position valid for the classification) if a drive through penalty on lap 31 had not seen them slip behind Fabris. The penalty was handed down after they exceeded the pit lane speed limit. For Oddi and Ricci, the season is turning out well with their sixth place at Silverstone and fourth at Brno.
Alessi held the lead throughout having started from pole. Behind him there was a duel between Zenere, De Megni and German rap singer 'Smudo', and also between Vescovi and De Megni, until both spun on lap 13.
Supermodel Jodie Kidd also made a welcome return to the paddock, sharing a drive with French gentleman driver Jean Coulomb. They finished 8th overall.
Among the VIP cars, as well as Thurn Und Taxis-Von Saurma's first place (Toora), second went to Zenere (Isoclima, 6th overall), third was Pizzicannella (AutoSprint, 7th overall) and fourth De Megni (Pakelo, 10th). German rapper 'Smudo', in the Audemars Piguet VIP car, was forced to retire after clipping another car. He had lined up on the fourth row of the grid.