McKane and Kremnicky Shock MacMillan to Take GTSS Season Opener

Ravenwest Motorsport drivers Nathan McKane and Andrej Kremnicky have won the opening round of the 2020 GT Super Series season at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

The factory Aston Martin duo were the only team to bring the fight to CWG Team MacMillan come race day. After Li Qi took the lead at the start of the race, pole sitter Rhys Davies would quickly retake the lead at Pinheirinho and start to break away from the pack. McKane too would make short over of the factory Corvette driver and start to bridge the gap to the leading Davies. After ten minutes of the race had been completed McKane would take the lead away from the factory Ford driver at turn one, with the pair of them driving away from the pack behind. The pair would remain inseparable for the first stint, with Davies retaking the lead at Bico de Pato at quarter race distance, before swapping back at Mergulo before the pit window would open for the first round of stops.

While they didn’t open the pit window, both MacMillan Fords, both Solvalou Lamborghinis and a host of others would pit on the second lap of the window on Lap 28. The crew servicing Darren Older Jr. MacMilan Ford put in a lightning quick pit stop, allowing Markus Jacobson to lead among those who had pitted, before an avoidable collision penalty Older Jr. incurred spinning Li Qi late into the first stint was taken into account. McKane would pit his Ravenwest Aston the lap after,  with Andrej Kremnicky taking over and exiting the pits behind both MacMillan Fords. Jacobson would get shuffled back to third in the group, before struggling to deal with lapped cars as well as Kazama and Kremnicky were. It would allow Jacques Malenfant and Felix Horvath to battle for the final step on the podium once the 43’s penalty was brought into account.

Come the second pit window it would be both MacMillan cars opening the cycle, with the Ravenwest crew electing to pit from the lead two laps later. the two lap difference in stops would be nullified for Kazama and McKane, the pair being side by side through Curva do Sol as McKane exited the pits before the former Ferrari F1 driver slotted into second place before Descidia do Lago. The trio’s, with Jacobson working his way back to the top two, journey with lapped cars would continue for the rest of the race, and would be decisive in the race finish. At the start of the final stint, McKane would initially drop to third on track after Jacobson followed team leader Kazama through as they lapped the Gelsenkirchen Maserati of John Bovy at Pinheirinho. The MacMillan pair would start to drive away before all lapped cars were cleared, before McKane would drag his factory Aston Martin back to the top two.

With fifteen minutes remaining McKane finally caught the MacMillan Fords, with Jacobson playing rear gunner due to his penalty.  As Kazama lapped the Team Falken Tires car of John Magnus in the Senna S, McKane saw an opportunity to strike on a unsuspecting Jacobson and took second around the outside at turn one. Jacobson would try to take the position back as the two of them lapped Magnus at turn four but was too far back to make the move stick. McKane would then put in the fastest final sector time of the race to bridge the gap to the MacMillan Ford with time running out. With the Minster Saleen of Sylvain Fabron yet to be lapped, McKane made a decisive move on Kazama at Ferradura for the lead of the race, the pair would make contact after Kazama moved over late to block the move but to no avail. Fabron would let the leaders go by, giving Kazama a chance to retake the lead. Kazama would be too far back for a move at the Senna S, but now they had to deal with the Globex Scorpio Corvette of Sandra Cessler. McKane would stay behind Cessler on the run to Ferradura, which allowed Kazama to try and make a bold move around the outside for the lead of the race. The pair would bang doors at turn eight before Kazama was forced to yield, which opened the door for McKane to lap Cessler to have clear sailing to take chequered flag as overall race winner.

It’s Ravenwest Motorsport’s third win in the series, after winning in Abu Dhabi and in France in their debut season. Kazama would finish second, only three tenths behind the factory Aston Martin after being the pacesetters all Friday and Saturday. With the penalty for the Older Jr. and Jacobson Ford, the race was then on for who would join them on the podium. The presumptive favorite heading into the final stint was the Carson Speedworks Corvette of Joey Alliot and Jacques Malenfant, before a mistake by Malenfant resulted in him spinning out of the race late in the running. He ran wide onto the grass on the run to Juncao which sent his Corvette into the outside barrier and out of the race. The benefactor of his accident was the factory Pagani of Frank Zimmer and Felix Horvath. The pair, using last year’s Zonda after their new car’s debut was delayed, would rise through the field and make the most of the lapped traffic in the latter half of the race to drive away from the Li Qi and Anton Robishaud Corvette and give Pagani their best result since a fourth place result at the 2018 Yas Supercar Festival.

Older Jr. and Jacobson would get demoted to sixth in the final results, with the Qi and Robishaud Corvette getting promoted to fourth and the Independent’s Trophy victors at Blokkmonsta Motorsport getting promoted to a crucial fifth place overall. Lasse Tilkesson would take the class lead after the Czechmate Ferrari of Phil McCracken led the opening eleven laps in class, and would promptly never look back. While the pair of Independent Mercedes-AMGs would keep Tilkesson and Anita Horford honest through the latter two stints of the race, they only had enough pace to keep up with the independent Aston Martin, and that would wane as they too would start to deal with lapped traffic. The Ferdinand United Mercedes-AMG of Cardel and Feldhoffer would round out the overall top ten, and would finish second in class.

Other points finishers include both Solvalou Lamborghinis, with reigning champions Chris Winter and Morgan Le Fay finishing in a quiet seventh place overall with teammates Pescatore and Fazio in ninth. Between them was the BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Andrea Constantini and Enrico Molinaro, finishing more than thirty seconds behind the race winning Ravenwest Aston. The Top 16 remained on the lead lap after the two hour races was completed, with the Lumenition RMR Maserati of Paul Travesen and Kjeld Axelsen the last car to finish on the lead lap.

Race Results – After 80 Laps

643MOlder Jr./JacobsonMacMillan+16.967
701MWinter/Le FaySolvalou+17.249
828MConstantini/MolinaroScuderia Italia+18.189
1087ICardel/FeldhofferFerdinand United+27.725
1127MRestov/KozarScuderia Italia+33.260
1415IBourne/LuisaBoutsen Ginion+1:11.394
1604ITravesen/AxelsenLumenition RMR+1:13.268
1782IJenkins/CesslerGlobex Scorpio+1 Lap
1842IFabron/BeverlyMinster+1 Lap
19007IMagnus/GeiszlerFalken Tire+1 Lap
20801IZeitner/BovyAMG+1 Lap
21555IA+V Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1 Lap
2219IOliver/SimmonsOliver+1 Lap
2388IWilkinson/ChoLKM+1 Lap
248ICoelho/HortinBest In The World+1 Lap
2511ISetou/MestachBest In The World+1 Lap
2691IGilson-Clarke/NavarroOliver+1 Lap
2763MAlliot/MalenfantCarsonSpun Off
2955IMelrose/DouglasTom DouglasGearbox
306MRossi/DavidsonProdrive AMREngine

Fastest Lap – Car 40 (MacMillan Ford – R.Davies/Kazama) – 1:26.469

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – Frank Zimmer and Felix Horvath: The restart of the Zonda GR’s swansong went way better than Pagani could have ever imagined.

Reject of The Race – Jacques Malenfant: Malenfant threw away a very real chance for Carson Speedworks to leave Brazil with a great start to their Teams and Manufacture Title hopes.