2019 24H SERIES Season Review (GT)

News | December 3, 2020

In 2019, Bohemia Energy by Scuderia Praha took its Ferrari 488 GT3 to four wins and a European Championship, while Leipert Motorsport proved to once again be the team to beat on the continent. But which others teams showed raw pace and determination last season?

ROUND 1. Hankook 24H DUBAI (10-11-12 January 2019)

  • Car Collection Motorsport (#88) seals Audi’s second win in Dubai
  • Leipert Motorsport (#710) starts title assault with comfortable win in SPX
  • Third win at home for Duel Racing (#950) in five years in 991
  • Drama as Sorg Rennsport (#451) takes 2nd place in GT4 on the final lap

Speculation surrounding the performance of Audi’s updated R8 LMS was immediately vindicated when Car Collection Motorsport (#88) collected the marque’s second overall win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in commanding fashion. Of the 607 laps completed, the German team led all but 47 of them, despite the race-winning pedigree of its rivals.
 
A successful weekend for Audi was bolstered further by a 2nd placed finish for MS7 by WRT (#7), despite the Belgian-entered R8 LMS having neither a working drinks system nor air conditioning. In 3rd place, Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11) got what became a momentous season off to a good start with 3rd place overall, despite the 488 GT3’s straight line speed deficit to the Audis. The Czech team’s result marked Ferrari’s return to the Dubai podium for the first time since 2015.
 
GRT Grasser Racing Team (#63) took 4th overall after a fraught race. For the second year in a row, the Italian team had taken pole position for the Hankook 24H DUBAI and led comfortably in the opening stages, only for poor fortune to strike the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 down. But while Mirko Bortolotti (the guy just can’t catch a break at Dubai) suffered a puncture in 2018, this year the Raging Bull threw a rear control arm, dropping GRT to the tail of the field. A suspected fuel leak during the night was the last remaining hiccup of a stellar recovery drive.
 
BWT Muecke Motorsport (#9) looked set for a podium finish, but could do no better than 6th after the Audi suffered a punctured radiator. Just ahead of them, Attempto Racing (#99) celebrated its best result at Dubai in 5th, despite a race stymied with punctures.
 
A “run like clockwork” for HTP Motorsport (#25) netted the Mercedes-AMG victory in A6-Am, though the American team admittedly benefitted enormously from fuel pump issues that ground long-time class leader Target Racing (#12) to a halt inside the final four hours.
 
Incredibly, the overall top 10 in Dubai featured neither entry from former winners, Black Falcon. The lead #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran the eventual winner hard until suffering brake failure during the night. Suspension failure meanwhile spelt the end of the sister #3 just nine hours from home.
 
Both Leipert Motorsport (#710) and local boys Duel Racing (#950) collected comfortable wins in ‘SPX’ and ‘991’ respectively, the former jumping to the head of the ‘Continents’ title chase in the process. NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#991) fared less well, the Dutch team’s brand new Porsche 991-II Cup suffering a heavy accident in the closing stages and losing 2nd in-class to the first of four MRS GT-Racing entries (#980).
 
Ironically, the German team also collected the winner’s wreath in ‘GT4’, though that was far from the biggest drama in-class. Long-time leader ERC Sport (#405) were forced to retire with just 90 minutes on the clock, terminal rear diff problems cruelly costing the Mercedes-AMG GT4. QSR Racingschool meanwhile (#454) ran out of fuel on-track with just minutes of the race to go, handing 2nd in-class to the Sorg Rennsport BMW (#451) on the very last lap.
 
MP Motorsport (#19) and V8 Racing (#18) ‘boasted’ by far the most dramatic retirements of the GT division though, the former ending its race against both the turn eight tyre wall and the CWS Engineering Ginetta shortly after dark fall. The latter meanwhile, in possibly the last 24-hour race for the team’s Corvette C6 ZR1, similarly ended its weekend at high speed against the wall.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Car Collection Motorsport (#88, Audi, A6-Pro) – 607 laps
2. MS7 by WRT (#7, Audi, A6-Pro) – 606 laps
3. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 603 laps 


24H SERIES Continents Top 3 (after round 1) – GT

1. Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro) – 30 points and Duel Racing (#950, 991) – 30 points
2. MRS GT-Racing (#426, GT4) – 29 points and Leipert Motorsport (#710, SPX) – 29 points
 
Fun facts:

  • First time EVER that neither Porsche nor Mercedes finished on the outright Hankook 24H DUBAI podium.
  • It was the narrowest winning margin in a decade.
  • GT4 celebrated its seventh different winner in eight starts.  


In Figures:

Fastest lap (GT): 1m 58.695s - Frédéric Vervisch, Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro)
Lead changes: 16
Code 60s: 19
Total laps completed by all competitors: 33,485

ROUND 2. Hankook 12H MUGELLO (29-30 March 2019)

  • Scuderia Praha (#11) wins ‘at home’ after commanding run
  • Car Collection Motorsport (#88) back to earth with multiple bangs
  • Heavy shunt costs NKPP Racing / Bas Koeten Racing (#175)
  • True-Racing (#217) ends day against MRS GT-Racing BMW (#426) 

Following a strong start to the season in Dubai, Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11) got its European Championship off to a good start with “a perfect run” to victory, despite losing 15hp to BOP clarifications shortly before the start. Indeed, the Ferrari 488 GT3 led each of the 85 laps of ‘part one’ on Friday, and all but 27 of those completed on Saturday.
 
As the only other GT team to lead any laps outright, and the only team on the same lap as the bolted prancing horse after day one, the runners-up spot dutifully went to Barwell Motorsport (#77). Despite losing time in the pits during the event’s 18 Code 60s, the British team was pleased nonetheless with its first run with the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. Ditto Herberth Motorsport (#91), a former winner of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO that also finished on the podium on its first outing with the next generation Porsche 991 GT3 R.
 
Akin to being “hit with cold water”, extra seat time proved vital to Alexander Prinz’ development in endurance racing, Hofor-Racing (#10) finishing a solid 4th overall and claiming its first A6-Am class win since 2017. Car Collection Motorsport meanwhile suffered a bittersweet event: the #34 Audi finished 5th overall and 2nd in-class, barely a minute behind Hofor-Racing, to kick-start its championship campaign, while the sister #88 R8, winner of the previous event in Dubai, slipped to 8th in the closing stages after being turfed into the kitty litter with barely 10 minutes of the race remaining.
 
Despite being an A6-Am contender on Friday, higher temperatures on Saturday and a recalcitrant Mercedes meant reigning champion CP Racing (#85) eventually finished 3rd in A6-Am and 6th overall, just ahead of the first of three Rinaldi Racing Ferraris (#48). In an embarrassing moment for the Italian team, two of its cars made contact on-track, beaching the #49 in the process. Both 488s survived and managed to finish 11th and 12th.
 
9th overall proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow for Wochenspiegel Team Monschau after its full-time switch from the VLN. Both Ferraris were running comfortably in the top 10 on Saturday morning only for on-track contact to send the #22 488 into the gravel and a fire to engulf the rear of the sister #21 moments later. Fortunately Nico Menzel escaped without injury.
 
In 991, Porsche Lorient Racing (#912) took the first of the team’s two class wins of the season, a podium bookended by the sister #911. Sandwiched between the pair was Raceunion (#987), which had led into the overnight intervention only to lose time to a left rear puncture.
 
Few punctures had more (literal) impact though than the left rear deflation that sent NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#991) into the barriers at turn one. The front-end was destroyed for the second race in a row, though Harry Hilders did at least escape uninjured.
 
Ironically, in an event blighted by engine problems for KTM, RTR Projects’ X-BOW GT4 (#224) was first across the line in SP2 ahead of the two JR Motorsport BMWs (#202 and #203). Further back, fuel pressure problems fried the Audi four-cylinder of Reiter Engineering’s entry (#246), an issue that also cost the True-Racing (#217) considerable time.
 
This though was not the KTM’s fatal blow. That came just a few hours from home, when the True-Racing X-BOW, unsighted by the Porsche Lorient 991-II Cup ahead of it, slammed square into the back of the MRS GT-Racing BMW M4 (#426) as it toured back to pit road with a puncture. Oddly, the BMW was classified 3rd in GT4, while Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50) and the PROsport Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#1) completed a successful in-class debut by finishing 1st and 2nd.
 
Memories of the loose drainage cover that had delayed GT Qualifying were all but forgotten.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 330 laps
2. Barwell Motorsport (#77, Lamborghini, A6-Pro) – 327 laps
3. Herberth Motorsport (#91, Porsche, A6-Pro) – 326 laps 
 
24H SERIES Europe Top 3 (after round 1) – GT
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 19 points
2. Car Collection Motorsport (#34, A6-Pro) – 19 points 
3. Porsche Lorient Racing (#912, 991) – 19 points
 
Fun facts:

  • Hofor-Racing took its first class win since claiming the 2017 title. As did Peugeot.
  • Mercedes-AMG failed to lead a lap for the very first time.
  • Porsche Lorient Racing’s biggest ever points haul in Mugello. 


In Figures:

 
Fastest lap (GT): 1m 48.411s – Rik Breukers, Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro)
Lead changes: 8
Code 60s: 18
Total laps completed by all competitors: 4021 (Part 1), 10,276 (Part 2)

ROUND 3. Hankook 12H SPA (19-20 April 2019)

  • Grandstand finish between Scuderia Praha (#11) and Herberth Motorsport (#91)
  • Punctures aplenty for Ferrari runners
  • ‘991’ win for Modena Motorsports (#916) honours Wayne Shen
  • MARC cars felled, JR Motorsport (#202) reigns in ‘SPX’ 

Though Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11) secured its second consecutive win of the season, strengthening its lead at the top of the European standings in the process, all focus was on the Herberth Motorsport Porsche (#91) heading into the closing stages at Spa-Francorchamps.
 
The Herberth 991 GT3 R had driven in typically metronomic fashion through the field after an early pit stop, eventually taking the lead with four hours to go. But the Porsche was being closed down fast by the hard-charging Praha Ferrari. Both would need late race splash-and-dash stops to make it the chequered flag, Scuderia Praha pitting first from just over 20 seconds back, Herberth doing likewise a couple of laps later.
 
It all went wrong for Herbert in the pits though with close to 30 seconds being lost during re-fuelling, and the Bavarian team could do nothing to stop Scuderia Praha sweeping past to the take the lead with just two laps left on the board. A cruel blow after a brilliant drive for eventual 2nd-placed Herberth Motorsport, for whom A6-Am glory was a bittersweet reward.
 
Behind this drama, the story of the race for Ferrari had, ironically, been punctures, 488 runners HB Racing by Herberth Motorsport (#41), Wochenspiegel Team Monschau (#22), and Rinaldi Racing (#47) suffering the lion’s share throughout the event. The latter in particular exited the Hankook 12H SPA in frightening fashion, a deflating rear left leading to heavy impact with the barriers on the Kemmel Straight 11 hours in. WTM, following its equally luckless weekend at Mugello, opted to withdraw in sympathy, though HB Racing salvaged a potentially poor weekend by finishing 5th overall and 3rd in A6-Am.
 
Another victim was the WRT Audi R8 LMS (#27), an early podium contender that made a brilliant recovery drive to finish 7th behind Car Collection Motorsport (#34), despite suffering two rear-left punctures.
 
Up ahead, PHOENIX RACING (#5) fended off European championship contenders CP Racing (#85) to take 3rd place overall at the Hankook 12H SPA, the latter having just survived early setup problems and contact with Winward Racing / HTP Motorsport (#25) at The Chicane. Contact for Winward wasn’t over either, the American team later shunting itself into retirement after contact with DUWO Racing (#909) shortly thereafter.  
 
For its second, and final, outing of the 24H SERIES season, the GRT Grasser Racing Team once again hit the front only to drop back with damage, this time courtesy of buckled left front suspension after the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo made contact with a lapped CUP1 BMW. Another fighting drive led to 8th at the flag. 
 
A surprisingly tight battle for ‘991’ honours saw the top three in-class finish line astern in 9th, 10th and 11th on the road, Modena Motorsports (#916) taking the category win ahead of Teichmann Racing (#903). In a moving tribute to Wayne Shen, who’d sadly passed a few months before, the Modena team, including brother John, held a framed photo of their fallen team patriarch aloft on the podium.
 
Luckless races awaited the two MARC entrants in SPX. Cor Euser Racing (#717), making it debut with its new II V8, held the class lead early only to end its race in the tyres barriers. Terminal drivetrain issues for Vr Racing by Qvick Motors meanwhile (#709) meant the win was eventually picked up by JR Motorsport (#202), despite the latter suffering driveshaft failure.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 250 laps
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, Porsche, A6-Am) – +7.871s
3. PHOENIX RACING (#5, Audi, A6-Pro) – 248 laps 
 
24H SERIES Europe Top 3 (after round 2) – GT
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 38 points
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, A6-Am) – 35 points
3. CP Racing (#85, A6-Am) – 34 points 
 
Fun facts:

  • 7.871s is NOT the closest finish in 24H SERIES history
  • The Renauer twins finished on different steps of the podium for the first time
  • JR Motorsport and Modena Motorsport took their first wins since 2017 


In Figures:

Fastest lap (GT): 2m 20.613s – Matteo Malucelli, Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro)
Lead changes: 24
Code 60s: 10
Total laps completed by all competitors: 2774 (Part 1), 4725 (Part 2)

ROUND 4. Hankook 12H BRNO (24-25 May 2019)

  • Scuderia Praha (#11) on top in another duel with Herberth Motorsport (#91)
  • CP Racing (#85) takes first outright podium after demise of Car Collection Motorsport (#88)
  • Speed Lover (#978) and DUWO Racing (#909) take ‘991’ battle down the wire
  • Flawless ‘GT4’ run for RTR Projects (#224). Well, for one of them… 


Another late-race duel between Bohemia Energy with Scuderia Praha (#11) and Herberth Motorsport (#91) couldn’t quite replicate the penultimate lap drama of Spa, but the former nevertheless had to work hard to cement its hat trick.
 
Bewildering ‘tricky conditions’ early on Saturday morning at the Automotodrom cost the Ferrari enormous amounts of time as it shredded its tyres, a fast-charging Herberth appreciatively taking the top spot as a result. Warmer temperatures and revised setup only ‘allowed’ the Ferrari back in front at three-quarter distance, and once again, less than a lap separated Scuderia Praha and the 2nd-placed, A6-Am winning Herberth Porsche heading into the closing stages. The Czech team had been made to work for this one.
 
Polesitter, and Dubai winner, Car Collection Motorsport (#88) looked to have 3rd wrapped up en-route to the flag, only for a clumsy overtake in traffic to irreparably damage the Audi’s steering rack just 30 minutes from home and turf ‘GT4’s QSR Racingschool (#454) into the gravel. 7th overall and 5th in-class for the sister #34 Audi offered little to celebrate.
 
The #88 R8 had already been involved in a bizarre incident before the race even started though, getting a little too close for comfort with fellow front row starter OLIMP Racing (#8) on the formation lap and immediately dropping both into the clutches of the pursuing pack. OLIMP at least survived that, plus a horribly long refuelling stop, to finish 4th overall and 2nd in A6-Am.
 
The beneficiary was CP Racing (#85), the 24H SERIES’ ‘American team’ collecting its first overall podium under its new name despite a near-miss with a suspension cross-member on-track that, mercifully, only damaged the front splitter. Behind OLIMP Racing, MDC Sports (#4) took a well-earned 5th place finish. The German team failed to start at Spa at all after a heavy collision during private testing, and came close to wiping itself out of contention following on-track contact with the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA.
 
As they did in Spa, the top two in ‘991’ finished inside the top 10, eventual winner Speed Lover (#978) and 2nd-placed DUWO Racing (#909) taking their fight for victory into the final hour, a fight only decided by the Belgian team with a bold move on-track with a little under half an hour of the race left to go. Despite colliding heavily with RTR Projects’ KTM (#226) on the Friday, Porsche Lorient Racing (#912) survived enormous damage to its radiator and front axle to finish 3rd in-class and strengthen its 991-class championship lead. The collision was just the tip of an increasingly unstable iceberg for the #226 KTM though, which also suffered almost ceaseless electrical and gearbox problems throughout the event.
 
The Czech team could at least celebrate victory in ‘GT4’ with the sister KTM (#224), minor starter motor problems being the only issue in an otherwise commanding run. Behind the X-BOW GT4, Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50) took its second podium in as many starts ahead of PROsport Performance’s Aston Martin Vantage (#1), the latter further strengthening its GT4-class championship lead in the process.
 
Unfortunately one of the bigger talking points of the weekend surrounded three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda, who passed away just a few days prior to the event.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 321 laps
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, Porsche, A6-Am) – +1m 54.351s
3. CP Racing (#85, Mercedes-AMG, A6-Am) – 318 laps 
 
24H SERIES Europe Top 3 (after round 3) – GT
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 56 points
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, A6-Am) – 54 points
3. CP Racing (#85, A6-Am) – 51 points 
 
Fun facts:

  • First time since 2016 that one GT team has taken three overall wins in succession in the 24H SERIES.
  • Produced the fourth different ‘991’ winner of the season.
  • Only 20 minutes of this 12-hour race was spent under Code 60. 


In Figures:
 
Fastest lap (GT): 2m 02.584s – Matteo Malucelli, Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro)
Lead changes: 18
Code 60s: 3
Total laps completed by all competitors: 2154 (Part ), 6587 (Part 2)

ROUND 5. Hankook 24H PORTIMAO (5-6-7 July 2019)

  • Wochenspiegel Team Monschau (#22) on the podium at last!
  • Double podium and retirement for Herberth Motorsport
  • Brand new Mercedes ‘Evo’ is “flawless” on maiden outing
  • Leipert Motorsport (#710) leads the ‘Continents’ championship outright 


Behind a victorious Scuderia Praha (#11), which cemented four in a row in Portugal, Wochenspiegel Team Monschau (#22) put a woeful season behind it with its first outright podium of the season, and its first outright top three finish in the 24H SERIES in two years.
 
The #22 Ferrari retired in flames in Mugello, suffered puncture after puncture in Spa, and fell to gearbox problems in Brno, but could finally celebrate its first chequered flag of the season behind 2nd-placed GPX Racing (#24). The latter meanwhile came inches from disaster during the night whilst lapping Porsche Lorient Racing Cup, but produced a strong drive thereafter to collect the UAE team’s best ever finish in the 24H SERIES.
 
A6-Am victory once again went to Herberth Motorsport for the third race in a row. This time, however, the garlands went to the sister #93 Porsche 991 GT3 R following a stunning pole position and an early race battle with the eventual winner. It was a well-deserved result for Heberth’s second entry on its first full-season in the 24H SERIES, given its DNS at Spa after a heavy Free Practice accident, and despite a misdiagnosed puncture.
 
Fittingly, the Bavarian team celebrated a double A6-Am podium in Portimão, the #94 surviving early clutch problems to claim 7th overall and 3rd in-class on its series debut. Toksport WRT (#15), an early contender for the class win, was felled late in the day by excessive brake wear, and finished a disappointing 9th overall behind Car Collection Motorsport (#34). Ironically, the only Herberth entry truly in the wars was the lead #91 991 GT3 R, which retired shortly after half distance when a ruptured fuel line ignited on-track.
 
A typically strong run from CP Racing (#85), one quick biff from the PROsport Performance Aston aside, netted the team 5th overall in Portugal, elevating the Mercedes-AMG to 2nd in the overall European championship standings. Arguably the bigger story though finished just five laps behind, Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy  (#500) completing a “flawless race” on the maiden outing for the brand new Mercedes-AMG GT3 ‘Evo’ in an incredible 6th place overall.
 
With memories of its defeat in the closing stages at Brno still fresh, DUWO Racing (#909) collected its first 991 win with a dominant run to 10th in Portugal, just ahead of a stand-alone entry Porsche Lorient Racing (#911). MRS GT-Racing (#980) collected another 991-class podium, albeit in egregious circumstances following on-track contact with the IDEC SPORT RACING Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#17).
 
Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50) came close to losing its second GT4 class win of the season when the then-reigning 24H TCE SERIES champion was forced to spend nearly an hour replacing a broken fuel injector, reducing the team’s winning margin to ‘just’ two laps over local team, Parkalgar Racing Team (#412) and Team Virage (#412). A strong season run for PROsport Performance (#1) came to a galling end when the Aston Martin Vantage suffered terminal exhaust issues while holding 2nd in-class.
 
Leipert Motorsport (#710), going against tradition by parking the Lamborghini and running a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in Portugal, took its second SPX victory of the season and its second counting towards the 24H SERIES Continents championship. The result put the Italian team on top in the intercontinentally-focused title chase and, bizarrely, marked the only finish in-class.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 721 laps
2. GPX Racing (#24, Porsche, A6-Pro) – 714 laps
3. Wochenspiegel Team Monschau (#22, Ferrari, A6-Pro) – 712 laps 
 
24H SERIES Europe Top 3 (after round 4) – GT
1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 84 points
2. CP Racing (#85, A6-Am) – 73 points
3. Herberth Motorsport (#91, A6-Am) – 54 points
    Herberth Motorsport (#93, A6-Am) – 54 points
 
24H SERIES Continents Top 3 (after round 2) – GT
1. Leipert Motorsport (#710, SPX) – 57 points
2. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 54 points
3. Porsche Lorient Racing (#912, 991) – 48 points 
 
Fun facts:

  • Herberth Motorsport’s first front row start in the 24H SERIES since 2017.
  • Scuderia Praha has now led more than 1000 laps in total at Portimão.
  • Come Portimão, teams from five different nationalities had taken 991 class victory in 2019.  


In Figures:
 
Fastest lap (GT): 1m 45.056s – Klaus Bachler, Herberth Motorsport (#91, A6-Am)
Lead changes: 13
Code 60s: 8
Total laps completed by all competitors: 16,491

ROUND 6. Hankook 24H BARCELONA (30-31 August, 1 September 2019)

  • Barwell Motorsport (#77) denies Herberth in nail-biter
  • Bohemia Energy with Scuderia Praha (#11) seals 24H GT SERIES Europe crown
  • Flawless run for RTR Projects and new KTM X-BOW GTX (#224)
  • Ligier JS2 R makes its 24-hour debut  


Much as it had done at Spa, a scintillating race for the win went down to the wire, as a returning Barwell Motorsport (#77) and Herberth Motorsport (#91) were split by just over 10 seconds at the flag. There could truly have been no better way to sign off the season than a 19-hour duel for victory, Herberth Motorsport once again denied by the sheer pace of the day-glow Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo.
 
Ironically, the pole sitting Barwell Motorsport faced its stiffest competition from Herberth’s sister #93 991 GT3 R in the opening stages, though the Bavarian entrant began to slip back during the night. While it couldn’t quite hold on to the overall podium, 4th overall, plus its second A6-Am class win and a class title in the 24H SERIES Europe was just reward for a superb year-long effort. 3rd meanwhile went to GPX Racing (#24).
 
An inter-team dual for the final two A6-Am podium spots – 5th and 6th on the road – looked set to go the way of the #88 Car Collection Motorsport Audi, aided by a clumsy overtake by the sister #34 during the night which turfed the 991-class leading Porsche Lorient Raicng Cup car (#912) into the gravel and ‘rewarded’ the Audi with a time penalty. A late race pit stop though, plus a stellar final stint for the #34, meant it was the latter that won out over its Dubai-winning counterpart. A tough season for Wochenspiegel Team Monschau (#22) was rewarded with a solid 3rd in-class and 7th place finish.
 
Ironically, hitherto steamroller Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11) was barely involved in the fight for victory after turbo issues cost the Czech team almost an hour in the garage during the night. Rounding out the overall top 10, just two places behind championship rival CP Racing (#85), was an understated way to secure the 24H SERIES Europe crown, but that didn’t stop the Czech team from celebrating a spectacular season.
 
Compounded by a ‘mystery’ technical fault in Dubai, former series champion Hofor-Racing (#10) fared even worse in Brno as chassis damage was discovered shortly before Free Practice for the Hankook 12H BRNO. The Mercedes-AMG was withdrawn before the event had even started. The Swiss team did at least manage to make the chequered flag on its series return at Barcelona – albeit 5th in-class in A6-Am – on what is likely to be the AMG’s last race before its ‘Evo’ replacement arrives for 2020.
 
Both SPX and SP4 celebrated well-deserved winners in RTR Projects (#224) and Nordschleife Racing (#526), the former running the newly updated X-BOW GTX, the latter the brand new Ligier JS2 R. Only an extended diagnostic check during the night stopped the latter from finishing higher up the order, while a solid run for the former sealed the SPX championship.
 
A frustrating weekend for Porsche Lorient Racing saw the #912 lose the ‘991’ class win in the closing stages with a trip into the barriers, thus handing victory to Speed Lover (#978). This ironically elevated the sister #911 onto the podium behind Team Webheads (#902), securing the 991-class 24h SERIES Europe championship in the process.
 
GT4 championship rivals Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50) and PROsport Performance (#1) were similarly cursed, the former suffering early damage after contact, the latter nursing a collapsed cylinder head gasket, resigning both to 3rd in-class and a DNF behind eventual winner, Orchid Racing Team (#415). Hofor / Bonk could at least celebrate another championship win though.
 
Celebrations were respectfully muted when news broke of Anthoine Hubert’s tragic accident in the Formula 2 sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Barwell Motorsport (#77, Lamborghini, A6-Pro) – 690 laps
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, Porsche, A6-Pro) – +10.481s
3. GPX Racing (#24, Porsche, A6-Pro) – 682 laps 


24H SERIES Europe Top 3 – GT

1. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 84 points
2. Herberth Motorsport (#93, A6-Am) – 83 points
3. Herberth Motorsport (#91, A6-Am) – 80 points 


24H SERIES Continents Top 3 (after round 3) – GT

1. Leipert Motorsport (#710, SPX) – 57 points
2. Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, A6-Pro) – 54 points
3. Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro) – 54 points
 
Fun facts:

  • Barcelona marked the first outright win for a Lamborghini in the 24H SERIES in six years.
  • Both Scuderia Praha and Autorama Motorsport sealed their respective European championships with their worst result of the season.
  • BMW is now the most successful ‘GT4’ manufacturer since the category was introduced for 2018. 


In Figures:
 
Fastest lap (GT): 1m 47.378s – Dennis Lind, Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro)
Lead changes: 38
Code 60s: 13
Total laps completed by all competitors: 24,487

ROUND 7. Hankook 24H COTA USA (15-16-17 November 2019)

  • Black Falcon (#4) takes first win of season, and second at COTA
  • Leipert Motorsport (#710) seals title with third SPX class win of the year
  • Shock absorber failure fells Kelly-Moss Road and Race (#906) in ‘991’
  • Jim Briody ends 54-year career on the ‘SPX’ podium 


Black Falcon (#4) brought an unusually barren spell for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a decisive close at the Hankook 24H COTA USA. Prior to the ‘Continents’ championship season-closer, the three-pointed star had just a single overall podium finish to its name in the 24H SERIES in 2019 – CP Racing’s 3rd in Brno – and hadn’t claimed an outright win since the previous year’s race at COTA (again Black Falcon). Few could stop the German outfit from walking away with the North American race though, the #4 leading all but 87 of the completed 585 laps. Save one puncture in the closing 30 minutes of ‘part one’, the Mercedes’ race was “flawless” according to proud Texan Ben Keating, who secured his first ‘home’ 24-hour win at COTA.
 
Fittingly, 2nd place went to the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#91), the only other former winner of the Hankook 24H COTA USA and leader of 82 laps on day one. Six laps further back, Car Collection Motorsport (#34) sealed its first A6-Am win of the season in COTA and its first overall GT podium in 3rd, results that gave the German team the A6-Am crown in the ‘Continents’ standings. Admittedly, the Audi R8 LMS had been chased to the line by season-long A6-Am ‘adversaries’ CP Racing (#85), the Mercedes-AMG GT3 finishing just 32s adrift.
 
Black Falcon’s most formidable challenge from the green flag onwards, Toksport WRT (#90), endured another difficult race to secure 5th on the road and 3rd in A6-Pro. The German team had been on course to finish 2nd overall, though contact with an unidentified TCR car and the resultant broken right rear suspension put paid to that. The sister #70 AMG GT3 fared even worse, losing the A6-Am lead after a slow pit stop and retiring altogether after a massive oil leak fried the V8.
 
Most eyes though were on the SPX-class winning Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini (#710) that finished 7th overall. A superb run for the 24H SERIES stalwart, indicative of the German team’s Continents season as a whole, was rewarded with the team’s third class win of the year, its second SPX-class title, and the Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ title. Expect more of the same in 2020.
 
Brutally, the win in ‘991’ looked set to go to Kelly-Moss Road and Race (#906), until a lead that had lasted 22 hours was destroyed by a broken shock absorber. The beneficiary – Porsche Lorient Racing (#911) thus collected the French team’s second class win of the season and its second class title of the year. Such was their lead that Kelly-Moss still propped up the ‘991’ podium behind MRS GT-Racing (#980), the latter having survived early fuel pressure issues.
 
RHC Jorgensen/ Strom (#450) controlled the GT4 field en-route to victory, despite losing 30 minutes in the opening hour to a faulty air intake. The BMW M4 finished four laps clear of its Sorg Rennsport contemporary (#451), the latter missing out on its first class win of the year thanks to intermittent electrical problems but walking away, nonetheless, with the GT4 class title. Debutant ST Racing (#388) finished a hard-fought 3rd in-class after overheating problems were remedied with an ice pack. Yes, really!
 
Finally, and even after broken rear suspension at one stage left the car stranded at turn one, Cor Euser Racing (#717) collected its first podium in the 24H SERIES with its brand new MARC II V8. The result also awarded 75-year-old Jim Briody one final podium of an amazing 54-year motorsport career in his final race.
 
Overall Top 3 (GT)
1. Black Falcon (#4, Mercedes-AMG, A6-Pro) – 610 laps
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, Porsche, A6-Pro) – 606 laps
3. Car Collection Motorsport (#34, Audi, A6-Am) – 600 laps 


24H SERIES Continents Top 3 – GT

1. Leipert Motorsport (#710, SPX) – 85 points
2. Porsche Lorient Racing (#911, 991) – 78 points 
    Car Collection Motorsport (#88, A6-Pro) – 78 points
 
Fun facts:

  • Black Falcon set a new distance record for the Hankook 24H COTA USA.
  • Porsche Lorient Racing and Car Collection Motorsport sealed their respective titles with each car’s first win of the season.
  • FOUR different manufacturers scored at least one win in 2019. 


In figures:
 
Fastest lap (GT): 2m 06.357s – Nikolaj Rogivue, HB Racing (#41, A6-Am)
Lead changes: 9
Code 60s: 10
Total laps completed by all competitors: 6,701 (Part 1), 6,948 (Part 2)

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