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A new calendar, a revised championship structure, and some tantalising new sporting regulations suggest the 2019 season could be among the series’ best. CREVENTIC’s Ole Dörlemann walks us through some key changes to keep an eye on this season.

2019 Calendar
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Regulations & team info


A new calendar for 2019

The Hankook 12H MUGELLO (29-30 March) made a welcome return after its one-year hiatus, and started off strong with a stunning 55 cars on the grid. Next week, the 24H SERIES heads to the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 19-20 April for the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS’ first run as a mid-season event. The European season continues at the 5.403km Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic on 23-24-25 May.
 
Following the traditional summer break in June, the 24H SERIES will be in action once again on 5-6-7 July at one of the world’s most lauded racing facilities, the Autodromo do Algarve in Portimão before the 21st annual Hankook 24H BARCELONA brings the European action to a close on 30-31 August / 1 September at the 4.655km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. For the third straight year, the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook will close its curtain on 15-16-17 November with the Hankook 24H COTA USA, an event that has gained a sizeable following in a remarkably short period. 

Revised Championship structures

As in 2018, the Championship of the Continents kicked off with CREVENTIC’s biggest race of the year in Dubai and will be bookended by the 24H SERIES’ third consecutive visit to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Like last year, GT and TCE teams alike must compete on all three continents to be eligible for a shot at the title.
 
Unlike last year though, this season the Championship of the Continents will include four rather than three rounds, two of which – Portimão and Barcelona –will form part of the European leg.
 
“Including the Hankook 24H BARCELONA as a second European round in the Championship of the Continents was an obvious step for us. It’s the race with the richest history in our European season, and it means teams now have the choice to take the highest number of points from either Portimão or Barcelona into the championship standings. This can only increase competition and make it possible for more teams to be crowned champion at the end of the 2019 season in the United States.”
 
Across in the European Championship meanwhile, GT and TCE teams will now compete together at all five rounds in 2019. Titles will be awarded both overall and per class, with each team’s four best results from the five-round calendar counting towards their overall result (teams and/or drivers must compete in at least two rounds to be eligible for a European Championship). In a welcome move, points will no longer be multiplied by 1.5 for the respective season finales at Barcelona and COTA.

New categories for 2019

This year, the 24H SERIES has introduced three new classes across its GT and TCE divisions.
 
Among the most prominent is the ‘Cayman Trophy’, a new program overseen by Manthey-Racing – of which Porsche owns a majority stake – and catering specifically for the third and fourth generations of the 718 Cayman GT4 (Type 981 and 982). Having been successfully run in Germany’s Nürburgring-focused VLN endurance series, the decision was made by CREVENTIC to welcome the Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy by Manthey Racing into the series full-time for 2019.
 
CREVENTC would also like to announce that a new platform – TCR-Light – will be available for TCE teams running touring cars built before 2016. Finally, we have the imaginatively-named, ‘GT-Retro’, which caters to GT3 machines built prior to, and including, 2015.

New, and continued, regulations for 2019

After a successful trial run in 2018, the ‘double start’ format continues in 2019, whereby the TCE field will take the green flag upwards of 10 seconds after the GT field has started its race. Also like 2018, several of next year’s 24H SERIES races will feature a mid-race ‘break’, allowing competitors time for a well-earned rest. However, in 2019, all cars that cross the ‘part one’ finish line before their respective class leaders will be allowed to ‘virtually’ complete their final lap, a move it is hoped will make inter-class racing even closer this season.
 
For this season, CREVENTIC is introducing a brand new numbering system for its competitors in the 24H SERIES.
 
“For 2019, we decided to group the starting numbers per class together, as we feel this makes it easier for spectators to recognise which class a car is running in more quickly. So, cars in the A6-class will run numbers ‘1-99’, TCR entrants will use ‘100-199’, the SP2 class will run ‘200-299’, etc.
 
“The only exception to this rule is Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport, which, as our reigning TCE European Champions, were free to choose their own bespoke number, and have chosen #50. Similarly, the #1 has been reserved for our GT European Champions, PROsport Performance.”
 
It’s not all change in the regulations this year though. Positive feedback from teams following its implementation last year at Silverstone has led to the ‘A6-AM-BOP-Advantage’ balance of performance continuing into 2019, a move that offers additional weight saving opportunities and higher re-fuelling quotas to those A6-Am and 991-Am teams without a full-time PRO driver and only one SEMI-PRO driver on its line-up.

Live broadcast with commentary of Radiolemans.com

All rounds of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in 2019 will be streamed live via the series’ official YouTube channel, and will feature full commentary and in-race analysis from the always insightful and entertaining radiolemans.com, the ‘voice of endurance racing’ that returns for its 7th consecutive year with CREVENTIC.

WSC and CREVENTIC partner for the TCR SPA 500

World Sporting Consulting (WSC), the entity behind the TCR concept, and CREVENTIC, the promoter of the 24H SERIES, will join forces to organise the first-ever endurance race reserved exclusively for TCR cars. The TCR SPA 500, is set to take place at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps on 3 – 6 October 2019.
 
The event is a joint operation between WSC, which holds the rights to the TCR technical regulations, and Dutch agency CREVENTIC, the latter of which will act as the promoter and organiser, adding the race to its vast portfolio of endurance races all over the world. The planned distance for the race is 500 laps of the 7.004km Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit, or a maximum of 23 hours of racing, whichever arrives first.
 
After extensive discussion, representatives of each brand currently associated with TCR competition were unanimously in favour of a flagship endurance race for both the category itself and the competitors at the heart of it.
 
“The growth of the category has been the success story in international motorsport for the past years,” WSC chairman Marcello Lotti commented. “The idea of an international endurance race, exclusively reserved for TCR cars, is the icing on the cake.”
 
Speaking on behalf of CREVENTIC, Gerrie Willems said: “We are proud that we can revive the long heritage of Touring Car endurance racing at Spa-Francorchamps.”

As is convention in the 24H SERIES, Pro, Semi-Pro and Am-class drivers from within Europe and further afield are welcome to compete at Spa-Francorchamps, with plans for a 40-strong grid, at least, already on its way to fruition.  Moreover, as well as extending the strong relationship between WSC and CREVENTIC, the TCR SPA 500 will prove a high-profile platform to bolster support for both TCR machinery and the road-going models on which they are based.
 
Indeed, promotion of this landmark event is a top priority for TCR’s organising body and the event’s promoters.
 
The three days of track action, from Friday 4 October until Sunday 6 October, will be preceded by a parade of race cars from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to the neighbouring Malmedy city centre and an autograph session with the drivers. Parade laps will also be provided for customers of each manufacturer ahead of the rolling race start.
 
During the event itself, an innovative ‘Brand Activation Centre’ will be the halo feature of the paddock, an area where all manufacturers can display their cars and visitors can watch the on-track action via huge LED TV screens. The inaugural TCR SPA 500 will be live streamed via the official 24H SERIES YouTube channel, and radiolemans.com’s diligent team will provide live commentary and expert analysis.
 
Entries are still available for the inaugural TCR SPA 500 on 4 – 6 October. Drivers from the EU must hold a national racing licence, whilst competitors based outside of Europe must hold at least a C or D-class licence. Teams are permitted to enter more than one car, with a maximum of five drivers and a minimum of two per entry. In-keeping with 24H SERIES sporting regulations, all competitors must run compounds supplied by Hankook Tires, and no re-fuelling must be done in the pit area (CREVENTIC partners Panta Racing will provide a centralised re-fuelling station at the track). Transportation and logistics will be arranged by CREVENTIC. For further information, please contact +31 485 471 166 or head to 24hseries.com/team-info.

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