The Fanatec GT2 European Series heads to the breath-taking Styria mountains this weekend, 26-28 May, for the second outing of the 2023 season at the Red Bull Ring.
The home of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix hosts the premier European GT2 series for the second consecutive year. One of the most scenic circuits on the calendar, the 4.318-kilometre track sits nestled at the foot of the Styria mountains in Spielberg, it’s roller-coaster ride of short, fast straights and tight turns perfect for modern-day GT2 machinery.
The second round of the season follows the opening encounter held at Monza, Italy, four weeks ago. There the Audi teams of LP Racing’s Henry Hassid and Anthony Beltoise, and PK Carsport’s Peter Guelinckx and Stienes Longin, took a Pro-Am race win apiece. KTM, meanwhile, led the way in the Am category, with series newcomers Jan Krabec and the RTR Projects team clinching both class wins to top the title table.
The series continues to attract new teams, brands, and drivers in its third season. Joining the grid this weekend are reigning Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe champions, Akkodis ASP Team with the new Mercedes-AMG GT2. The #61 entry driven by Mauro and Benjamin Ricci will contest the remaining five rounds of the season.
The Red Bull Ring round will also be a special event for KTM and Team True Racing. The KTM X-BOW GT2 is produced less than an hour away in Gratz, while the team are based in Wels. With four of the team’s six drivers also Austrian nationals, the KTM contingent will be hoping to thrill the crowds with some top results on home ground.
Tight Pro-Am battle continues in Austria
Last year’s Fanatec GT2 European Series Am champion, Henry Hassid proved he’s more than up for the move to Pro-Am this season. Teamed with Anthony Beltoise, the LP Racing pair sealed their new partnership with a race one win at Monza. Backed up with a second-place finish in race two, they take the early class lead with 43 points.
The fight for second couldn’t be closer behind them, with three teams tied on 27 points.
Although PK Carsport’s Stienes Longin and Peter Guelinckx claimed pole for both races in Italy, contact in the first encounter forced their early retirement. A brilliant bounce back to win race two, however, put the #1 Audi duo firmly on the points table.
They are joined in second spot by the #15 Team True Racing KTM of Nicolas Saelens and Stefan Rosina, and the #18 LP Racing Audi of Pierre Kaffer and Austria’s Michael Doppelmayr – both teams also experiencing a mix of misfortune and podium results last month.
Hot on their heels are Team True Racing’s Reinhard Kofler and Hubert Trunkenpolz, who is also CEO of KTM Sportscar GmbH and Member of the Executive Board of KTM AG. The all-Austrian outfit will be eager to get on the podium and climb the leader board this weekend.
The new driver pairing of Stéphane Ratel, CEO and Founder of SRO Motorsports, and Mattia di Giusto notched up an impressive second-place finish in the #88 LP Racing Audi, only for contact to force retirement in race two. So close is the competition this season, they sit only nine points adrift of the fight for second.
Also, don’t discount series newcomers, father and son duo Mauro and Benjamin Ricci who join the Pro-Am field in the #61 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes.
Krabec and RTR Projects lead Am fight
After just one round, the Am class is just as close. Leading that title fight by 22 points so far is Czech driver Jan Krabec, who gave RTR Projects a stellar series debut with a brace of wins in the #89 KTM at Monza.
Team True Racing’s Klaus Angerhofer already has a second-place finish to his credit as a solo entry in round one to sit second in the standings. Joined by Sehdi Sarmini to form another all-Austrian KTM partnership this weekend, both drivers boast a podium pedigree at their home track and a win at the Red Bull Ring would be all the sweeter.
There’s a tie on points for third between Thomas Jackermaier and Jens Liebhauser, and Aurelijus Rusteika and Mantas Janavicius. With the Fanatec by HRT Mercedes missing this round, the Ebimotors duo are sure to make substantial gains in their Porsche 911 RS CS featuring the new GT2 evo kit.
The sister Ebimotors Porsche of Leonardo Gorini is also back in the fight, after missing Sunday’s race at Monza. With points for second already on the board, the Swiss national will be joined by new teammate, Frenchman Nicolas Gomar.
The second round of the Fanatec GT2 European Series kicks off with free practice at 09:15 and 13:00 on Friday, 26 May, followed by qualifying at 16:35. Racing proper takes place on Saturday, with two 50-minute races at 09:30 and 14:45.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group