Second round of the season with 26 entries and a top-class field
The GT Winter Series for the 2021/2022 season made an impressive showing at the season opener in Portimao in mid-December. A strong field, top-class cars, surprising winners – that’s how the racing action at the season opener can be summed up. On the 15th and 16th of January, the GTWS will now start for the first time at the traditional Estoril circuit and will pick up where it left off in Portugal in December, as the field is no less top-class and the competitive environment once again formidable.
Pardo back with the LMP3
Javier Ibran Pardo is not only an established driver in the LMP classes, but also familiar to the inclined GTWS follower from last season. After one or the other victory he was on course for the championship. His chances were only spoiled by a technical problem with his Ligier in Aragón, which prevented him from taking part in the final race, leaving the crown to Haub/Jilkova. Pardo missed the opening round in Portimao this season and will therefore again have little chance of winning the title, but will certainly be at the top of the standings in the individual races.
GT3s again popular entries
Back in action again will be the runners-up from Portimao, Olimp Racing. After their double victory in the Algarve, they will be competing on the F1 history-steeped Estoril track with two picture-perfect Ferrari 488 GT3s. However, they are not the only Ferraris in the class, because “Die Biermacher Racing” is also bringing one to the start with Uwe Lauer. It will be interesting to see how the Italians do against the AMG GT3 of Good Speed Racing and Piotr Wira or the no less impressive McLaren 720S GT3 of 7TSIX Racing, which is driven by Peter Karpati and James Kell. Also eagerly awaited is the clarification of whether one or the other of the GT3s manned by a professional will succeed in upsetting Pardo in the LMP3 at the front.
Cup-R class with 992 and Ferrari
The Cup-R class traditionally has a strong line-up. It’s great that Sebastian Glaser will compete with the Ecke Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup. Many expect this brand new racer to be able to keep up with one or the other bolides from the GT3 category. A-Workx (Michael Brode/Tim Hendrickx), HP Racing (Ziegler/Assfalg), Huber Racing (Kapfinger/Kapfinger) and Laptime Performance (driver to be named) are well-known GTWS greats, all of whom will be competing with the 991.2 GT3 Cup. They are joined by GTWS newcomer E2P Racing with drivers Pablo Burguera and Javier Morcillo, who are also looking to push the 991.2 forward. The class is made particularly colorful by the Ferrari 458 Challenge of Ralf Schuchmann, whose team “Die Biermacher Racing” is not only known for particularly beautifully designed Ferraris, but also likes to serve beer along with good cheer in the paddock after work. The Cup-R class is unquestionably one of the favorites when it comes to particularly hot battles.
GT4 and the defending champions
In the GT4 class, the defending champions Robert Haub and Gabriela Jilkova will compete. They have taken race number 1 with them to their new team “Drago Racing Team ZvO” and there on their AMG GT4. Theo Oeverhaus (also AMG GT4), who dominated the opening event at will and won all three races, wants to make life difficult for them as champions.
Particularly popular are the GT4 models from Porsche, which compete in their own class due to their not quite competitive engine power. KKraemer Racing is competing with three of these racers at once. At Bluemle Motorsport, the boss Manfred shares the 981 GT4 CS with the splendidly accelerating Werner Panhauser from Austria, who we already liked very much in Portimao. Again RFF Motorsport with Harry Verkerk and Patrick van den Berg, who will probably again mobilize their heart-stoppingly fast lap times.
BMW class with 5 cars
Schnitzelalm Racing has already proven who is the measure of all things in terms of performance on the BMW M2 CS Racing. Marcel Marchewicz marked clear lap records in the opening race and also his partner Michael Sander came in his first GTWS race dazzling and very briskly around the laps. “Pursued” the two are three other Schnitzelalm BMW in mixed line-up and the two M2 CS Racing of BMW Spain. The latter shows itself not only in spick-and-span optics and stickers, but the troop always radiates a high degree of professionalism and good mood. Incidentally, further BMW M2 CS Racing entries are expected for the other rounds in Jerez and Barcelona, including a second entry car from BMW Spain.
Sprint and Endurance a popular mix – promoter satisfied
The GT Winter Series will be contested in two 25-minute Sprint races and a 45-minute Endurance with mandatory pit stops. At the inaugural event in mid-December, the finale of the Endurance went into the twilight, creating almost picturesque scenes and a touch of 24-hour feeling. The organizers expect something similar at the Estoril circuit near Lisbon.
GTWS promoter Gedlich Racing, meanwhile, is pleased with how the season has gone. “We had a mega opener,” said project manager Robin Selbach. “Now we continue seamlessly in Estoril and once again bring a great field to the start. The track is super fun and conveys international flair – Senna, Prost and Mansell send their regards. In addition, the asphalt is almost new. In five minutes you’re at the sea and in 20 minutes in Lisbon – what more could you want?”