The LMP2 class leaving the WEC is just one of the motorsport series-related news items featured in this week’s Motorsport Series News Roundup.
I also have news on the modularity of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R, Radical Cup North America is once again featured on some IndyCar race weekends, the demise of ADAC F4 and what’s next for the DTM.
All this and more in this week’s edition of the Motorsport Series News Roundup.
The Pescarolo name could return to the top flight of endurance racing in 2024 if plans to field a customer Le Mans Hypercar by its new owner come to fruition. Jocelyn Pedrono, who acquired the rights to the Pescarolo brand in 2016 explained his plans to Autosport. “Returning to endurance racing has always been the objective,” Pedrono told Autosport’s French edition. “I’m working to assemble the budget. I have an agreement in principle with two constructors in Hypercar. My heart leans more in one direction than the other, but I can’t say anything for the moment.”
Following the completion of the inaugural 2022 Praga Cup UK one-make race series and in the week following the launch of the all new, road-legal Praga Bohema hypercar, Praga Cars and Britcar have strengthened the relationship between the two organisations and announced provisional dates and plans for 2023’s racing. The new-look race series will be presented as the Praga-backed Prototype Category within the Britcar Endurance Championship, starting at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in March 2023. Praga R1s are expected to make up the majority of the grid – running as a standalone Praga Class – with other qualifying prototypes invited by Britcar.
In Porsche sportscar racing news, the manufacturer has signed a three-year extension to support BTCC and ruled out customer LMDh cars until late April. And while the manufacturer prepares for 2023’s big changes, customer Pfaff Motorsports feels that the new Porsche 911 GT3 R is a very positive step forward. “From the standpoint of the mechanics, working on it is easier,” Pfaff Motorsports team manager Steve Bortolotti said. “The car is very modular. It comes apart quicker, it goes back together quicker.”
Blue Marble Radical Cup North America is returning in 2023 with exciting new venues, high-profile events, and the return of its beloved combination of cocktail parties, driver and guest hospitality, and multiclass racing. Featuring the PRO 1340 and PRO 1500 classes for Radical’s ever-popular SR3, and the PLATINUM class for the GT3 beating turbocharged SR10, as well as its SR8 and RXC models, Radical Cup North America drivers will enjoy a six-race schedule including three alongside the NTT IndyCar Series, as well as a series test that will kick off the 2023 on-track action in January.
The LMP2 prototype class is looking increasingly likely to be dropped from the World Endurance Championship for 2024 as the Hypercar category grows, Autosport understands. Pierre Fillon “insisted that LMP2, which is scheduled to swap to a new-generation of car in 2026, “will continue to feature strongly in the endurance pyramid”, a reference to the ACO-run European and Asian Le Mans Series in which it is the top category, as well as its place in the IMSA SportsCar Championship in North America.”
UPDATE: A minimum of 15 grid spots at the Le Mans 24 Hours will be reserved for LMP2 cars if the class is dropped from the World Endurance Championship in 2024.
Confirming the recent rumors, the ADAC F4 championship will not take place in 2023. “An announcement is due this month on a new F4 series organised by ACI Sport, which already runs the Italian F4 championship, which is currently dubbed ‘Euro 4′. It seeks to fill the gap left by ADAC F4 next year by providing additional race weekends across Europe for teams and drivers who had budgeted for 2023 on the basis of doing the full Italian season plus several ADAC rounds. Formula Scout understands ACI’s formal announcement of the new series’ creation will come next week.”
Michael Andretti explains how Roger Penske is finally getting behind the Indy NXT series. “I think finally IndyCar is seeing how important Indy NXT is to their future. It took me a little bit of coaxing with Roger to get him behind it. Since he started to look into it and see the interest and see what it’s all about, I think he’s really gotten behind it big-time,” the chairman and CEO of Andretti Autosport said.”
F2 CEO Bruno Michel has defended the older drivers taking part in the series to F1 Feeder Series explaining how they are part of it as well. “The only rule we have in Formula 2 is that the winner cannot repeat, and I think everybody understands why we do that because otherwise, it would be a major issue. For the rest, we’re always quite happy to welcome drivers like Roy or Ralph. They love the series. They are doing something generally which is quite good in the series. They do quite good racing and they are quite experienced. It’s good for the young drivers arriving in the category to compare themselves to those guys as well,” Michel said.
Danish Formula 4 and Formula Nordic have confirmed they will share grids next season in the release of the former’s 2023 calendar Formula Scout confirms. “The Formula Renault 1.6-spec FNordic series needed competitive grid sizes to be maintained before potentially introducing second-generation F4 cars in three or four years’ time, while Danish F4 also needs to keep grid sizes up in anticipation of a point where grids are no longer shared with the Formula Ford-based Formula 5 cars due to decreasing interest in the F5 class.”
As the ITR is dissolved and the ADAC acquires the marketing rights to the DTM, Motor Mouth looks at the future of the series. “The one-driver concept is a unique selling point of this series. Otherwise, it would be a GT3 series like any other – and we could miss out on a lot.” But a merger of the two series makes sense especially because both now use the same GT3 cars and a joint staging could save costs and double interest. This could benefit both parties. For the ADAC, taking over the DTM may be appealing not only because it puts an end to the competitive situation in the German GT3 market. It also offers the opportunity to introduce a driver career path in German GT racing and to establish the ADAC GT Masters as a talent platform for the professional series DTM.”
Berger himself hopes that not too much will change with the series. “My recommendation is to keep the current concept, format and regulations, because it is also very well received by the fans,” said Berger. He added: “The ADAC didn’t buy the brand rights to the DTM to make it disappear, but to benefit from its strength.”
Plans to relaunch the TCR Middle East series have been delayed by twelve months as ‘part of a package of measures designed to ensure a prosperous future for Touring Car competition in the Gulf region’. “In the context of fundamental changes to the global TCR structure announced recently, the series’ organisers consulted teams, race circuits and promoters,” a statement read. “Common agreement was reached that postponing the championship for one year will enhance its prospects for long-term success.