A record 42-car field was present this past weekend at Mugello Circuit as the Italian GT Sprint Championship hosted its season finale in Tuscany with Riccardo Agostini and teammate Lorenzo Ferrari entering the weekend leading the overall Sprint championship by 17 points over Imperiale Racing’s Alex Frassineti.
Chaos ensued during the opening lap of the first race as four cars were involved in an accident, forcing race proceedings to be red flagged for half an hour. Polesitters Luca Ghiotto and Alex Frassineti, however, were not affected and lead the field all the way through in their Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 albeit fending off a very quick Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Daniel Mancinelli and Vito Postiglione.
While the Imperiale camp were all smiles post-race, the stewards determined the car had an irregular start after the safety car came in and handed the team a five-second time penalty to their results, relegating them to P2 and handing Mancinelli and Postiglione their first win of the season.
Rounding out the podium was Simon Mann and Mattio Cressoni in their AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, claiming a Pro-Am victory and finishing ahead of Stefano Comandini and Marius Zug in their Ceccato Racing BMW M6 GT3 and the Easy Race Ferrari 488 GT3 of Karol Basz and Matteo Greco.
Championship leaders Ferrari and Agostini would go on to finish sixth in their Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3, still maintaining the GT Sprint championship lead going into the final race of the weekend.
Jacopo Guidetti and Francesco De Luca claimed seventh overall and second in Pro-Am in their Nova Race Events Honda NSX GT3, followed by Jonathan Cecotto and Pietro Perolini in their LP Racing Huracan GT3, closing out the Pro-Am podium.
The top ten was rounded off by Carrie Schreiner and Sean Hudspeth in their AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo and the Am class winning Kessel Racing 488 GT3 Evo of Nicolò Schirò and Steve Earle, with Schirò still under contention to claim the Am title albeit ten points behind class leader Murat Cuhadaroglu in his Kessel Racing 488 GT3 and eight points behind Erwin Zanotti in his Nova Race Events Honda NSX GT3.
Newly crowned GT4 Pro-Am champion Mattia Di Giusto and teammate Riccardo Pera claimed yet another class victory at Mugello, but the attention was on who would clinch the GT4 Am championship.
While GT4 Am victory went to the Ceccato Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Giuseppe Fascicolo and Nicola Neri, it was the fourth placed GT4 class finishing Nova Race Events Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Luca Magnoni and Diego Di Fabio which claimed the title.
Francesca Linossi and Daniel Vebster claimed an important Race 1 victory in the GT Cup class after having entered the weekend tied in points with SR&R drivers Luca Demarchi and Nicholas Risitano and one point in front of the Best Lap pairing of Lorenzo Pegoraro and Massimiliano Mugelli. The Easy Race pairing would start Race 2 fourteen points clear from their nearest rivals.
The final race of the Italian GT Sprint championship was one for the ages, with Antonelli Motorsport drivers Luca Segù and Bar Baruch pulling off a come from behind win in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Lorenzo Ferrari and Riccardo Agostini claiming the 2021 Italian GT Sprint Championship.
The intensity and excitement of Race 2 started from the get-go, with the polesitting Imperiale Lamborghini of Luca Ghiotto leading the field after a safety car was deployed on the opening lap due to an off from Hugo Delacour in his AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.
While Ghiotto dominated his stint, the team had to incur a ten second time handicap in the pits. This saw Ghiotto’s teammate, Alex Frassineti, being forced to recover several places. Frassineti seemed to have gained great momentum out on track, eventually catching, and establishing a three-way fight for position between the Ceccato Racing BMW M6 GT3 of Stefano Comandini, the Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Daniel Mancinelli and himself in his speedy Huracán GT3.
On lap 17 however, the fight came to an end as a lapped car forced Frassineti to brake late into Bucine, miscalculating the entry and collecting both Comandini and Mancinelli. Mancinelli was the only one to resume with no issues while Frassineti suffered a puncture, forcing him into the pits for repairs, and Comandini retiring from the race.
With this incident, Bar Baruch entered the scene, taking over driving duties from teammate Luca Segù in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 and eventually capturing the lead on lap 20. But life for Baruch was made difficult as he had to fend off a very fast LP Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Jonathan Cecotto and Pietro Perolini. At the end, Baruch would cross the finish line first albeit by just 0.3 seconds ahead of the second placed LP Racing car.
Crossing the line third overall and first in the Pro-Am class was the Simon Mann, Matteo Cressoni-driven AF Corse Ferrari, with the young American finishing the championship equal on points alongside Perolini and Cecotto. The tiebreaker, which consisted of race victories, awarded Mann the title as he claimed three wins throughout the year versus the LP Racing duos’ one victory.
Life was also made difficult for Simon Mann as well, especially during the closing stages of the race, as the driver crossed the finish line a mere 0.078 seconds ahead of the Jacopo Guidetti, Francesco De Luca driven Nova Race Events Honda NSX GT3.
The Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Lorenzo Ferrari and Riccardo Agostini closed out the top 5, with Agostini securing the title for the third time in a row.
Karol Basz and Matteo Greco finished sixth in their Easy Race Ferrari 488 GT3. Almost ten seconds behind the championship winning Audi.
Seventh place went to the RS Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Daniele Di Amato and Alexander Naussbaumer, ahead of the Frassineti, Ghiotto Imperiale Racing Huracán GT3, Federico Leo and Ivan Peklin in their Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, and the Daniel Mancielli, Vito Postiglione driven Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 which was penalized by one minute due to an irregular procedure during their driver change.
Turkish driver Murat Cuhadaroglu claimed the Am title in his Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo after finishing 12th overall alongside teammate Davide Fumanelli.
With class titles having been decided in GT4, Race 2 was more of an event to determine who can prove their driving abilities within the class. There was no one who could one up the 2021 champions, however, with Mattia Di Giusto and Riccardo Pera claiming their eighth win of the season in their Pro-Am classed Ebimotors Porsche Cayman GT4. Finishing in second was the GT4-Am class winning Nova Race Events Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Diego Di Fabio and Luca Magnoni and its team car of Fulvio Ferri and Enrico Bettera.
A well-deserved GT Cup title was claimed by Francesca Linossi and the Swede Daniel Vebster in their Easy Race Ferrari 488 Challenge, a pairing which showed great speed and performance since the beginning of the championship. Celebrations began as they crossed the finish second in class, behind the race winning Tsunami R.T. Porsche GT3 Cup of Italian GT debutant Gianmarco Levorato. Closing out the podium was the SR&R Ferrari 488 Challenge of Luca Demarchi and Nicholas Risitano, which had to settle for second place in the championship.
Finishing third in points was Massimiliano Mugelli and Lorenzo Pegoraro in their Best Lap Lamborghini Huracán ST. The driving pairing was not able to start the last race of the season after having been forced to retire for the rest of the weekend due to their heavy shunt in Race 1.
The Italian GT Championship is set to close its 2021 season in full with its last Endurance round taking place at Monza on October 29-31.
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