The 2020 season of the GT World Challenge Europe finally got underway two weeks ago with the three-hour race at Imola followed by three sprint races this weekend. Because we love racing in Italy, Artistxmotorsport brings us three of his drawings made for the GT World Challenge Europe’s Italian races including the ill-fated Monza round.
As the pandemic in Europe took hold, it became clear rather quickly that the planned season premier at Monza would not be taking place. Situated in the middle of the first hotspot on the continent, the race was quickly cancelled and a contingency plan announced which would see Imola take over the Italian round to be held as a Sprint Cup event in November, and Barcelona revert back to an Endurance Cup race. More cancellations followed and with a new schedule announced, Imola became an endurance race in July and Barcelona end the season with two sprint races.
How many races of the revised schedule can be completed is still to be seen, however, as the second wave of the pandemic is well underway in Europe.
The delayed season opener at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari was won by the #31 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT of Matthieu Vaxivière, Kelvin van der Linde and Mirko Bortolotti. After Vaxivière kept the Audi R8 LMS GT3 in a steady fifth position in the first hour, Van der Linde took over to begin the charge to the lead with a series of stellar overtakes. Trento-born Bortolotti went in for the final stint, who despite a late safety car deployment held off Mathieu Jaminet in the #12 GPX Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R to win the race with a three-second gap.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s success continued into the Misano weekend as Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts brought the #32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 victory in last night’s race 1. The win was secured by Vanthoor with a daring dive on the inside of #107 CMR Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Nelson Panciatici. The action came following a late safety car to recover the punted and spun and then hit AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Benjamin Hites.
Earlier in the race, the sole Lexus RC F GT3 ran by Tech 1 Racing was stealing the show as it fended off the Bentley for the lead. Following the pitstops, however, as Aurélien Panis was pushing to catch Panciatici who was coming out of the pits, the Lexus was hit by a puncture, ending any dreams Tech 1 Racing had of retaking the lead and winning its first GT race.
Race 2 and 3 follow today with the second race starting at 11:20 CET and the third at 15:00 CET.
Illustrations by Artistxmotorsport.