Following two tough rounds at Circuit Paul Ricard and the Hockenheimring, ST Racing is now right back in the Overall GT Teams’ championship hunt after sealing its second GT4-class win of the season at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
ST Racing has moved to within five points of the Overall GT Teams’ lead after what team co-owner Samantha Tan called a “flawless” class victory at last weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
The Canadian team went into the fifth championship round of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook 11 points adrift of Overall GT Teams’ standings leader DUWO Racing, and two points behind Vortex V8. Issues for both of its title rivals though, plus a commanding win in the GT4 class, mean ST Racing is now second overall in the Overall GT standings and just five points behind DUWO Racing with two rounds of the season left to run.
ST Racing, which raced at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the first time last weekend, secured its sixth consecutive class pole position during Friday’s qualifying session (five championship rounds, plus the non-championship Hankook 6H ABU DHABI in January) and went on to lead 22 of the completed 24 hours of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. Having made its first driver change ahead of schedule during the first of the event’s 14 Code 60 caution periods on lap 16, ST Racing briefly dropped behind North American compatriot RHC Jorgensen-Strom by Century before reclaiming the GT4-class lead for good on lap 58.
Aided, admittedly, by two punctures and handling issues for RHC Jorgensen, a fault-free run meant the #438 BMW M4 GT4 nevertheless went on to secure its second category win of the year, and its first since the Hankook 24H DUBAI in January. The win also draws a line under luckless runs at both Circuit Paul Ricard and the Hockenheimring: a failed wheel hub assembly and engine issues led to ST Racing’s retirement at Le Castellet, while brake failure and a broken rear subframe meant the team also failed to see the chequered flag in Germany.
Unsurprisingly, high praise was heaped by team namesake and co-owner Samantha Tan, who raced at Barcelona alongside Jon Miller, Nick Wittmer and Chandler Hull, and team principal Kenneth Tan on their crew after a successful run in Montmeló.
“This was an incredible effort by every single person in this team to execute a flawless run at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya!” Samantha explained in the team’s official communique. “The team gave us an amazing car and even though it was everyone’s first time at the track, I think all the drivers drove very consistently to take the GT4 class win and finish 12th overall. I really can’t thank Jon, Nick and Chandler enough for their amazing pace during the night. Amazing job! We’re now only five points behind the Overall GT championship leader, and are very excited for the next race in Sicily. ST Racing is right back in the championship hunt. Special thanks to our sponsors, BMW Motorsport and Bas Koeten Racing for their help in achieving this win!”
"I am relieved, elated, and proud all at the same time,” Kenneth continued. “This win is so sweet given the amount of work and planning we have had to do for this very challenging race. The past three races in the 24H SERIES were huge disappointments owing to mechanical failures, but we were finally able to show our true potential and the result we achieved at the 24H BARCELONA showed what ST Racing is truly capable of. The race was truly a team effort: every single member of our racing family had a hand in this win – every one of them – and I want to thank them all for their flawless performance and uncompromising passion. I really believe that passion gives you that extra edge. I also want to thank our European team partner, Bas Koeten, who has given us so much amazing assistance. Now it’s back to work and planning for the next race in Sicily. I just cannot wait!"
Championship rivals DUWO Racing salvaged 2nd in the 991-class behind eventual winner Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors, despite the former running out of fuel during the early stages of the race. Barcelona also proved very tough for Vortex V8, which lost time to several on-track collisions and suspected gearbox issues, though both the #701 and #712 lightweight sports cars did manage to finish the race, albeit 5th and 6th in the GTX class. Reiter Engineering meanwhile, now ahead of Vortex in the Overall GT standings, took its third GTX category win at Barcelona with the KTM X-BOW GTX, and is just 10 points behind DUWO Racing.
The top four in the Overall GT Teams’ standings are expected to compete at the upcoming COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily at the Autodromo di Pergusa on 1-2-3 October.