Răzvan Umbrărescu will be returning this week to the circuit that marked his GT4 debut one year ago. Back then, he claimed the win in the Pro-Am category alongside Gabriele Piana, on a Porsche Cayman entered by RN Vision STS. 2018 finds the racer from Bacău in the same team, still paired with the Italian, only the racecar having changed to the new BMW M4 GT4.
The pace displayed by Umbrărescu and Piana in the races held until now in Zolder (Belgium) and Brands Hatch (UK) was encouraging, the two being often braced in battle for podiums and point-paying positions before technical problems delayed the #111 crew. Thus, only at their fourth attempt they managed to break the duck and score points in the current season. Misano is now the place where all the team expectes to confirm the evolution of the new model built by BMW Motorsport, following the inevitabile teething issues hindering a fresh concept.
The home track of Umbrărescu’s teammate was built in 1972 and hosted high-profile competitions for both cars and bikes. Since 2006, when modernization has taken place and the direction became clockwise, the track near the Adriatic Sea has been a constant presence in MotoGP. It now bears the name of the late Marco Simoncelli. The twisty nature of the circuit puts an emphasis on cornering and overall balance, but Umbrărescu is confident that a clean run and a well-executed strategy can be the key to compensating the extra weight on his way to points.
As it is the norm, the format of the races remains unchanged: two sprints of 60 minutes, with a mandatory stop for driver change at the middle of each leg. Compared to last year, both Misano runs will be completed before sunset, with more than 40 cars on the GT4 European Series grid. The race on Saturday will start at 15:30 (local time) and on Sunday we will be racing from 12:10, both heats being broadcast live on the official website of the competition.
Ahead of the 24 hours of Le Mans, the success of this format led to the announcement of a World Final for GT4 machinery in Bahrain at the end of November, sanctioned by the FIA and organized by the SRO. Naturally, Răzvan Umbrărescu also showed interest in the Sakhir competition at the end of the European season.
Source. West Competition Racing/Photo. John Patterson