SCOTS endurance racers are hoping for podium success as the 2022 GT World Challenge Europe gets under way in Italy this weekend.
They will tackle the famous Imola circuit in a fiercely competitive three-hour race on Sunday that’s set to feature more than 50 cars.
Dundee’s Finlay Hutchison will team up with Aberdonian Lewis Proctor and Mexican Diego Menchaca in a Team WRT Audi R8 LMS evo II GT3 for the Silver Cup class.
Forfar’s Sandy Mitchell will compete in the Gold Cup on board a familiar Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. And Motherwell’s Ian Loggie will be part of the SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 outfit taking on other Pro-Am Cup contenders.
Hutchison said: “I’m looking forward to being back at Imola and determined to make the best possible start to the season – we’re hungry to fight for the podium.”
Mitchell was equally positive, saying: “Given the strength of our Lamborghini Evo race car, allied to the experience of Barwell, I see no reason why we can’t be in the mix battling for the championship right from the start of the season. ”
Back in the UK, East Kilbride’s Logan Hannah and Perth’s Chloe Grant will seek to make an immediate impression in the inaugural GB4 Championship.
The Graham Brunton Racing/Laser Tools Racing duo will be at Snetterton in Norfolk for the first round of the single-seater contest featuring Tatuus F4-T014 machines.
Grant said: “Having only had three test days in the car, I’ve put a lot of time in on the sim to get to grips with the handling ahead of our first race. I can’t wait.”
And there’s Britcar Endurance Championship action at Oulton Park, Cheshire, with Aberdeenshire’s Josh Hislop and Michael Macpherson, from Inverness, once again teaming up in a TeamHard Ginetta G55 GT4.
The same meeting sees Lockerbie’s Gordie Mutch joining YouTube star Jimmy Broadbent contesting the Prague Cup series in their Fanatec Prague Team87 car.
Last weekend, Snetterton hosted British Superbike Championship official testing, with Perth’s FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider Rory Skinner happy to finish fifth overall.
And after suffering pre-season injuries, 2021 champion Tarran Mackenzie, from Stirlingshire, was pleased with a seventh place on his McAMS Yamaha machine.
Meanwhile, also becoming part of the Graham Brunton Racing set-up is F1 Esports star Lucas Blakeley, who is making the switch from virtual to real-world racing in the Scottish Formula Ford championship.
The 20-year-old from Irvine, Ayrshire, said: “I never thought I’d get the opportunity to drive a real race car and cannot wait for the season to start.”
And Olympic cycling hero turned racing driver Sir Chris Hoy has confirmed he will take part in the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill over the weekend of July 2-3.
The famous Fife venue is holding the special event to celebrate the late Colin McRae’s World Rally Championship title win back in 1995. Sir Chris said: “I can’t wait – being friends with the McRae family makes this opportunity all the more exciting for me .”
Also in the world of rallying, Ford Fiesta R2 cars dominated the DCC Stages at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, last weekend, taking all three overall podium slots.
With nearly 70 crews entered, the winners were James Ford and Matthew Daniels, with Alistair and Colin Inglis second, and John Marshall and Craig Wallace third.
And as round two of the Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, that meant Inglis and Marshall claimed the top two spots, followed by Lotus Exige pair Greg Inglis and Ian Murray in third place.