Holmgaard Motorsport competes this weekend at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING for the first time with a CUPRA Leon Competición TCR, the result of a “stupid team manager’s decision!”
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Kim Holmgaard views the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING as a “learning weekend” for his eponymous team and its first race with the new CUPRA Leon Competición TCR, but admits the CUPRA does have the pace to deliver a strong result.
The Leon Competición, the most recent evolution of CUPRA’s first TCR racer, made its 24H SERIES debut at last year’s Hankook 12H MUGELLO with RC2 Junior Team by Cabra Racing, and, fittingly, took its first series win at this year’s Mugello event with Thailand’s BBR. This weekend’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING also marks the first 24H SERIES event since Holmgaard Motorsport’s debut in 2017 that it has not competed with a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Team owner and manager Kim Holmgaard admits though that, despite the steep learning curve, Holmgaard Motorsport’s new CUPRA has the potential to produce strong results for the remainder of the 2022 24H SERIES season.
“We weren’t supposed to make the switch this year,” Holmgaard explained to CREVENTIC. “We had ordered an Audi RS 3, but Audi doesn’t have as many cars to right now to [deliver to customers] because of the current global situation. But, recently I got a call, he said
he had this CUPRA which was meant for another customer, but the customer had some problems and would I like to buy it? It was kind of out of nowhere, but I thought, ‘let’s try’.”
Ironically, the maiden outing for its new Leon Competición TCR comes just one month after the Danish team simultaneously secured its first TCR win and podium in the 24H SERIES at Spa-Francorchamps.
“It’s the stupid team manager’s decision!” Kim Holmgaard jokingly continues. “We’ve actually been talking about this quite a bit because we were finally where we wanted to be with the Golf, and then we bought a new car. How stupid can you be?!
“So, now we’re kind of back to where we started. Everything is new, meaning we have to ‘invent’ everything from new. Plus, the CUPRA is not Endurance spec. It’s a sprint car. So that’s a challenge too.”
A puncture on the team’s truck en-route to the Hockenheimring ended up costing Holmgaard Motorsport prep time during CREVENTIC’s private test session on Friday morning, while technical gremlins meant the team also did not complete as many laps as planned during Free Practice later that afternoon. On top of that, an unfortunately timed Code 60 caution period during Q1, which prevented Holmgaard from setting a quick lap, meant the #102 CUPRA ended up qualifying only 6th fastest of the TCR runners.
Solid running by former TCE Junior Cup winners Jonas and Magnus Holmgaard, Roy Edland and Martin Vedel Mortensen – Holmgaard’s triumphant quartet in Spa-Francorchamps – means the CUPRA currently lies 3rd overall in TCE with just under six hours of the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING remaining. A significant confidence booster.
“We only got the car when we got back from Spa, so we didn’t have much time to prepare. No test days either. We were supposed to be here, in good time, to prepare the car, but then the truck got a puncture and that delayed us.
“I originally thought the Audi might be quicker – of course this can be a mix of drivers and circumstances – but so far the CUPRA hass been really strong on pace. But it’s also a car that you really have to take care of, otherwise ‘stuff’ will happen. So this weekend will be a learning weekend for us all, even though we are aiming for something which… we can’t talk about because that will jinx us! But, yes, the CUPRA looks fast, it feels strong, and I think, ultimately, it was the right decision to switch.
“Once we have sorted out a few things, I don’t see why we cannot go for the same result as Spa. That’s why we’re here.”
Victory at Spa-Francorchamps, plus 4th in-class in Mugello, means Holmgaard Motorsport currently was just four points behind BBR in the TCR Teams’ European standings heading into Hockenheim. The Thai team currently leads the TCE division outright in Hockenheim at half-distance.