Maiden GT4 Sprint Cup Europe — run alongside DTM — hadn't ideal recipe to let Nova Race Ginetta shine
After taking part this year to the Road to Le Mans scheduled at the Sarthe venue alongside the French endurance classic, Nova Race did not miss the chance to bring a last-specs Ginetta for Henri Kauppi to another meeting blessed with fan participation and passion: the first edition of the GT4 Sprint Cup Europe, which took place at Hockenheim during the 2018 finale of the famed DTM. Rejoicing for the remarkable backdrop of fans and the Baden-Wurttemberg weather (perfect for motorsport) took a back seat since Friday free practices, though. Friday time sheets were enough to confirm the stark reality of performance gap between the turbo-powered opponents and the normally aspirated engine of the Ginetta G55. The F-1 venue speed traps gauged a 19-kilometer gap between the UK-manufactured sportscar and the fastest of the German rivals: a BMW M4 GT4.
Taking these premises into account, the prospects for qualifying were of refinishing setup and the hope for the races relied on recovering over the distance --albeit two 40-minute sprint format could hardly help beyond expectations. Adding insult to injury, Kauppi could not drive a trouble-free race in either day, as Saturday sprint was claimed by Bas Koebolt's BMW M4 GT4 and on Sunday Gilles Magnus' AMG Mercedes prevailed. On Saturday, over the opening lap Kauppi was beached in the sand trap outside the corner entering the Motodrom and could only resume three laps later: he was ranked seventh in the sparse field of ten cars due to the accidents that felled a few rivals. Today the Finnish doubled his effort, however this also translated in him and most of the rivals receiving warnings for driving beyond the curbs and track limits. As it is, a couple of drivers were served with drive-through penalties for repeating the offense and one of them was the Lahti, Finland-based driver. Kauppi then wound up in tenth position his first outing at the German venue.