Italian job for Middleton with call-up to GT Championship
Imperiale Racing’s Stuart Middleton will make his first appearance in the Italian GT Sprint Championship at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this coming weekend, June 5/6, after being called-up by the team to lead its Pro-Am entry in the series.
British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star Middleton from Ashington in Northumberland, is already competing with Imperiale this year in the sister Italian GT Endurance Championship at the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO.
He now adds the remaining three Sprint events to his 2021 schedule.
Embarking on his first season at full GT3 level this year, the highly rated GT driver made a major impression during the three-hour opening round of the Endurance series at Pergusa just over a week ago with a fantastic podium finish on his maiden outing at the Sicilian track.
Thanks to the support of long-term sponsor North East Caravans, Middleton has been able to seize the fantastic opportunity from Imperiale to head-up the team’s No.19 Pro-Am entry for this weekend’s Misano races, and the subsequent events at Imola in September and Mugello in October.
He will partner 17-year-old Guatemalan driver Mateo Llarena, who already has strong experience in endurance racing – including winning the Hankook 500 Miami in an LMP3 prototype in 2020. He has also raced in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Formula 4 and enjoyed a successful career in karting.
“I really do appreciate the opportunity Imperiale has given me to race in the Sprint Championship for the rest of the season, as well as the Endurance Championship – it’s another mega chance to prove myself in GT3 in the Lamborghini”, said an elated Middleton.
“I’m interested to see how things will go in a Pro-Am car for the first time, and obviously looking forward to working with Matteo and helping to try and bring him on as a driver too. I’m absolutely loving my time in Italy, and can’t wait to be at Misano this weekend.
"As always we’ll be giving our all to take the best results possible, and I know the team will give us a fantastic car.”
Unlike Pergusa, the venue for the first round of the Endurance Championship, Misano is a track the Northumberland racer has visited previously. Last racing there in 2019 in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, Middleton first competed at the Santa Monica-Cella track the year prior in the GT4 European Series where he achieved a second place result.
Unlike the long distance races of the Italian GT Endurance Championship, the format of the Sprint contests is more akin to the sort of duration Middleton has been used to during the past couple of years in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. Both encounters at Misano this coming weekend will be 50 minutes in duration, plus one lap.
Free practice for the Misano race weekend will take place this Friday, 4th June, with qualifying set to follow at 09.00 UK time and 09.35 UK time on Saturday, June 5, ahead of race one around 17.20 UK time. On Sunday, June 6, race two will commence at 14.10 UK time.