- Race red flagged at the perfect point in time for the Belgian squad
- AM Motorsport surprises by coming third
- No podium for title contenders Milltek Racing and Toyota Swiss Racing Team
In 2017, the TMG GT86 Cup once again is held within the framework of the VLN. The TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH one-make 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 a spare-part service and technical on-site service, thus representing the ideal basis for perfect motor racing at reasonable costs.
The seventh round of the 2017 TMG GT86 Cup season made for several surprises. At 12:35hrs, 25 minutes before the scheduled finish time, the race had to be red-flagged for good due to an accident (nobody injured) as continuing the race would have been too dangerous due to a lot of oil on the track. At this point in time, Toyotas Swiss Racing Team just had regained the lead but as the order on the penultimate lap is used for the ranking of an aborted race, the win was secured by the Belgian Team Pit Lane – AMC Sankt Vith that made for a massive surprise by securing a one-two, with their #531 and #532 cars. And the third place for Team AM Motorsport also came as a surprise. Just as the fact that both title contenders, Toyota Swiss Racing Team and Milltek Racing, failed to make it to the podium and had to settle for finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
“We weren’t able to match the pace of the two leading teams,” admitted Olivier Muytjens, the Team Pit Lane – AMC Sankt Vith Team Principal, “But we were nevertheless fast and didn’t encounter any problems. And we were ready for making use of the chance when the competitors got into problems. That’s motor racing.” The win for the Belgian team was secured by the two US Americans John Uglum and Grant Maiman – two experienced sports-car drivers that already had some Nordschleife experience under their belts but made their TMG GT86 debut.
Alexander Müller also was happy. Nonetheless, the Team Principal and driver of AM Motorsport – newcomers on the TMG GT86 Cup grid, this year – had to admit that his team needed quite a dose of luck on the way to securing their second podium in the season. “Our car ran flawlessly for a long time and we actually had a good race. But just on the lap when the race was red-flagged we also got into problems and just made it over the line and into the Parc Fermé,” said Müller.
Due to the successes of the dark horses, the battle for the title remains a true thriller. Championship leaders Milltek Racing (ten points for finishing fifth and two for the pole) as well as their main rivals, Toyota Swiss Racing Team (12 points for finishing fourth) added the same points to their tallies and the gap between the Britons (115 points) and their Swiss rivals (106) still amounts to just nine points. So, the final two rounds of the season promise to become a true final in the battle for the title.
Apart from the TMG GT86 Cup TMG also is involved in VLN – in the class SP3, represented by Team TMG United. TMG United traditionally has been promoting young racing drivers and is contesting the 2017 season with the pairing Sascha Köhler (22) and Alex Fielenbach (24). The team itself is built up of Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who work for this motor-racing project solely in their leisure time.
For TMG Team United, the seventh race meeting of the season proved to be a weekend of mixed emotions. In the qualifying session, Alex Fielenbach and Sascha Köhler made it to second grid position of class SP3 – with as lap time that was about seven second faster than the one they set in the qualifying session for the season opener. A massive improvement everybody in the team may be proud of. In the race, however, a technical problem forced the team into retirement as early as on lap four.
In two weeks time, on 07th October, the season will enter its home straight with the penultimate round and the racing in the battle for the title will get tougher and closer than ever.
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