Despite limited pre-event preparation, Leipert Motorsport secured the 2022 Championship of the Continents and now leads the Middle East Trophy GTX-class standings after an outstanding win at the inaugural Hankook 12H KUWAIT.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
2022 GTX Drivers’ European champion Jean-Francois Brunot has praised an “unthinkable turnaround” for Leipert Motorsport at the Hankook 12H KUWAIT, an event at which the German team overcame limited pre-race running to take GTX victory and seal class honours in the Championship of the Continents.
A transportation issue meant Leipert Motorsport’s Lamborghini Hurácan Super Trofeo only arrived at Kuwait Motor Town the night before the 12-hour endurance event was scheduled to start, meaning Bruno and teammates Kerong Li – who also secured GTX Drivers’ European honours in Barcelona – and Gregg Gorski missed all of Free Practice and Qualifying. A dedicated two-hour practice session on Friday morning meant both Gorski and Li were at least able to shakedown the Lamborghini before the race got underway that afternoon.
Impressively, despite starting at the tail of the GT runners, the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini had already climbed up to 2nd in-class by the end of the second hour, though a right-rear puncture during Brunot’s first stint shortly after that ended up dropping the #710 Lamborghini back behind season-long rival Vortex.
Salvation emerged at half-distance when the class-leading razoon-more than racing KTM X-BOW GTX suffered an engine fire, the Austrian team losing close to two hours while the engine and gearbox were replaced. Rear brake issues and recurrent overheating problems for Vortex meanwhile meant that, incredibly, Leipert Motorsport had assumed the lead – and a 22-lap advantage – by the time the seventh hour ticked by, an advantage the Lamborghini extended to 30 laps come the chequered flag. Such was the consistent pace of Brunot, Li and Gorski, the team even rounded out the event’s overall top 10.
The underdog result was Leipert Motorsport’s third class win of the 2022 season, securing the German team the GTX-class Championship of the Continents, its second title win of the season after taking GTX Teams’ ‘European’ honours at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. It also marked Leipert’s second title win in the 24H SERIES’ Championship of the Continents following its Overall GT Teams’ victory in 2019.
“Unthinkable turnarounds don’t come much better, or more well deserved, than the outstanding GTX class victory taken by [us] during the first ever Hankook 12H Kuwait,” Brunot explains. “Aside from the outstanding work of the Leipert Motorsport crew this weekend, huge thanks also go to the HRT Performance Porsche squad for facilitating the arrival of the No.710 Lamborghini Huracan late on Thursday night – without their assistance, the victory clearly would not have been possible!
“The lack of our container was a very unfortunate situation,” Leipert Motorsport managing directors Marcel Leipert & Marc Poos continue. “We were sitting in Kuwait and were initially forced to do nothing. When the material finally arrived, the night was used for the necessary preparation. The fact that we took the win under these conditions was a conciliatory ending.
“Our crew showed a strong performance and prepared the Lamborghini optimally in an extremely short time. We are very happy about the title and are now focusing on the new season, which starts for us in January.”
The win means Leipert Motorsport now leads the GTX-class standings in CREVENTIC’s new Middle East Trophy. The German team is also set to compete at the two remaing rounds of the 2022/2023 national series: the Hankook 24H DUBAI on 13-14-15 January, and the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI one week later on 21-22 January.