Day of surprises in the TMG GT86 Cup season opener

  • Newcomer win in the Toyota’s one-make Cup
  • Guest drivers finish second
  • Hard work for TMG United in the VLN

In 2017, the TMG GT86 Cup once again is held within the framework of the VLN. This year, this TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH makes cup is held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for the fifth consecutive year. The TMG GT86 CS-Cup is a close-to-production racing car with spare-part service and technical on-site service, thus representing the ideal basis for perfect motor racing at reasonable costs.

In the 2017 season, four well-established TMG GT86 Cup teams – Leutheuser Racing&Events, Pitlane – AMC Sankt Vith from Belgium, Ring Racing and the Toyota Swiss Racing Team – will have to compete with four Cup newcomers: AM Motorsport, Bonduel Racing, Miltek Racing and Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport. A situation that promises a lot of excitement and this excitement was provided as early as in the season opener. At the end of a thrilling race, Team Milltek Racing made it to the top step on the podium courtesy of Dale Lomas and Lucien Gravis who delivered in really fine style.

“It goes without saying that it’s our goal to battle it out at the front end of the field,” said the UK’s Dale Lomas who lives in Adenau and is Milltek Racing Team Principal and driver. “But we never would have believed that we would win the season opener”.

Meanwhile, a mix of experienced team and new faces in the cockpit prevailed in the battle behind the winners: Pit Lane – AMC St Vith relied on the services of the US-American guest drivers John Brunot and Kevin Clifford and were rewarded with the fine second place. “The guys did a fantastic job,” said Team Principal Olivier Mutyens.

Third place on the podium, however, was secured by Leutheuser Racing&Event, in 2013 the winners of the TMG GT86 Cup debut edition. Dirk Lessmeister and ‘Jan Sluis’ even held the lead for quite a while but then, a puncture forced them to come in for an unscheduled pit stop and their chance of winning the race was over. “Without this incident we certainly have had the chance of battling for the win to the very end of the race,” said Team Principal Christian Leutheuser. “But in consideration of the fact that it was our first race with the car equipped with the 2016 upgrade and that it was raced by new drivers I’m quite happy with the result.”   

In the 2017 VLN season, TMG will be represented on the SP3 class grid by TMG Team United. The team traditionally supports young drivers and will contest the 2017 season with the pairing Sascha Köhler (22) / Alex Fielenbach (24). Köhler, who won the 2016 TMG young drivers programme is about to contest his second VLN season and wants to make use of his experiences gathered in 2016. Fielenbach, however, is the team’s new signing. He attracted the squad’s attention by winning the 2016 RCN (Rundstrecken Challenge Nürburgring) overall and junior titles with a TMG GT86 CS-Cup V3 vehicle.

At the same time, the team itself also is something special. The entire staff consists of Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who only work for the motor-racing project in their leisure time what results – quite obviously – in a certain fluctuation of staff members. “Some colleagues stopped their involvement and were replaced by other motor-racing enthusiasts working for TMG,” explained Team Manager Jörg Mertin who also represents a new asset to TMG united.

But the season kick-off proved to be somewhat difficult for the the team. They qualified sixth in the class (150th overall), with their TMG GT86 CS-Cup to gain 39 positions in the race and finish 111th in the overall rankings. In their class SP3, however, they didn’t gain a position and finished sixth, two laps behind the class winner. They certainly can do better.

Team Manager Mertin was rather happy with the achievements. nevertheless. “The team started down its learning curve with a new car, new driver and new team members. In a field of 10 cars, TMG qualified sixth hold this position for the day, which is a good first job.”

Meanwhile, the fans couldn’t have been happier. Thrilling motor racing in brilliant sunshine in both the VLN and the TMG TG86 Cup and new winners. They certainly wouldn’t mind if the season continued like this. And the fact that the established Cup teams will be determined to defeat the newcomers in the second round on 8 April definitely will add to the excitement.

Interested teams and drivers will find more detailed information on the TMG GT86 Cup at www.gt86-cup.com.

Royalty-free high-resolution images of the TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH and the TMG GT86 Cup can be found at: www.toyota-motorsport-photos.com