On its first start in the 24H SERIES since 2018, RAM Racing secured class victory with its Mercedes-AMG GT4, marking the British team’s first GT4 category win.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba / Ondrej Kroutil
RAM Racing took its first victory in the 24H SERIES in seven years at this past weekend’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, as well as its first triumph in the GT4 class.
The British team, starting its first 24H SERIES event since the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2018, entered a Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Katarina Kyvalova, Jon Minshaw, John Loggie and Phil Keen for Portimão, marking the first time RAM Racing has entered a GT4-spec car for an endurance event.
The weekend got off to a commanding start when Minshaw, Loggie and Keen set the fastest laps in their respective qualifying sessions, securing the #405 Mercedes GT4-class pole position in the process. Momentum RAM Racing took into the race itself, Loggie and Minshaw pulling three laps clear of nearest rival Lion Speed by Car Collection Motorsport in the first three hours.
The only major problem of the weekend arose heading into the fourth hour, nine laps into Kyvalova’s first stint, when the Mercedes’ fuel rollover valve malfunctioned, meaning the tank remained pressured and refused to accept fuel. Forced to make two extra stops for fuel, the #405 Mercedes eventually re-emerged from the garage 14 minutes later, now five laps behind the Lion Speed Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Fast stints from Kyvalova, Keen and Loggie thereafter though meant the gap was already back down to one lap at one-third distance when the Lion Speed Audi suffered a left rear puncture. Subsequent punctures and multiple track infringement penalties for the R8, plus consistent pace from the Mercedes (Keen’s 1m 52.841s fastest lap of the event was half-a-second quicker than Andreas Bakkerud’s 1m 53.370s in the Audi), meant RAM Racing surged through to its first GT4 class win 11 laps ahead of its nearest competitor. After some encouragement from teammate Minshaw, car owner Katarina Kyvalova collected the chequered flag.
The win in Portimão also marks RAM Racing’s first win in the 24H SERIES since Paul Ricard in 2015. The British team went on to secure the Overall GT Teams’ title that season.
“I’m really proud of the entire crew this weekend,” team manager Dan Shufflebottom explains. “To win a 24-hour race takes an incredible team effort, and to win one in conditions such as this – with a car we’d not run before and in incredibly high temperatures – is a huge achievement. All four drivers did a superb job and we managed to produce a remarkably clean race. Couple this with another victory for Mike [Price] and Callum [Macleod] in the [British] GT Cup, and it’s been a weekend to remember for the entire team.”
Fresh from its success at this year’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, RAM Racing has also confirmed interest in participating in both the Hankook 24H DUBAI and the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI in January.