ST Racing BMW takes maiden outright win at Hankook 12H MUGELLO

News | March 27, 2022

·      Reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion seals BMW’s first outright GT win in the 24H SERIES in 10 years.

·      Fight to the finish between Phoenix Racing and Team LANDGRAF.

·      Red Ant Racing seals 1-3 in 992-AM; Red Camel-Jordans.nl on top in close 992 fight.

·      HRT Performance and JJ Motosport secure GTX and GT4 honours.

·      Bentley Continental GT3 goes the distance on 24H SERIES debut.

MUGELLO (27 March, 2022) – ST Racing has taken its first outright win in the 24H SERIES at the eighth annual Hankook 12H MUGELLO, an event that also included a grandstand finish for the runners-up spot between Phoenix Racing and Team LANDGRAF.

 

The ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 (#1, Samantha Tan / Bryson Morris / Nick Wittmer) took this morning’s restart at the front of the field, and managed to rebuff a staunch attack into turn one from both the MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#25, Alexander Hrachowina / Martin Konrad / Bernd Schneider) and the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger), both of which took the restart on the lead lap. 

 

Metronomic running from the Canadian team though meant that, despite intermittently swapping the lead with Team LANDGRAF throughout the afternoon, ST Racing had managed to pull two full laps ahead as the race entered its closing stages. Nick Wittmer eventually drove the BMW M4 GT3 across the line to complete 330 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello and secure victory. 

 

The result marks the first outright win in the 24H SERIES for reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion ST Racing, the first outright win for a Canadian team, and the first overall series win for a GT BMW since 2011. 

 

“This win means so much to our little Canadian family,” team co-owner Samantha Tan explained to radiolemans.com’s Diana Binks. “I want to thank everyone: BMW Motorsport, Motul, and everyone on this team. Everyone! That was a phenomenal job.”

A Code 60 flown just 40 minutes before the end of the race – brought out to recover the stricken JUTA Racing Junior Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO – produced a grandstand finish for 2nd place overall, Phoenix Racing opting to refuel and change tyres under the purple flags while Team LANDGRAF stayed on-track. A charging Pierre Kaffer went on to close the gap and eventually retake the position with just 15 minutes left to run. Team LANDGRAF, which was nursing lingering gearbox issues, went on to complete the overall podium and secure GT3-AM victory just 1.5 seconds behind the Audi. 

 

Having run as high as 2nd overall at one point, the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster) completed a storming run to 4th overall at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, the American team also securing 2nd place on the GT3-AM podium in the process. A fighting from the MP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#58, Thomas Gostner / David Gostner / Corinna Gostner / Giorgio Sernagiotto) secured the Italian team 3rd place on the GT3-AM podium at its home event as well as 6th overall on the road, despite a late-race brake scare.

After running consistently at the front throughout the event, the JUTA Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO I (#71, Julius Adomavičius / Andrius Gelžinis / Jonas Gelžinis) was eventually sandwiched between CP Racing and MP Racing in a hard-earned 5th place. Despite its late-race retirement, the Lithuanian team’s ‘Junior’ sister Audi (#72, Audrius Navickas / Aurimas Jablonskis / Ignas Gelžinis) was able to complete the GT3-PRO/AM podium behind ST Racing and Phoenix Racing. 

 

The sole Ferrari entered for the Hankook 12H MUGELLO – the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#8, Marco Frezza / David Fumanelli / Alessandro Cutrera / Marco Talarico / ‘L.M.D.V.’) – had been on course to finish 7th but managed to beach itself in the gravel on the run to the flag, and thus slipped back to 8th with just five minutes left to run. 

A race-long fight for the 992 category win eventually went to Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers), while its nearest rival – HRT Performance (#929, Gustav Bergström / Johan Kristoffersson / Ole Veiby) – finished less than 90 seconds behind after losing time earlier in the afternoon to a delaminated tyre.

 

The 992-AM podium finishers similarly finished line-astern, with Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant) just ahead of the Orchid Racing Team (#917, Loic Villiger / Frank Villiger / Laurent Misbach / Fabio Spirgi) at the chequered flag. The Belgian team’s #904 entry (Philippe Wils / Kurt Hensen / Andreas Mayrl) completed the class podium, just 54s behind Orchid Racing, after a commanding performance from the series’ newcomers.

 

An extraordinarily close fight for 992 honours at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO saw the top five 992 entrants finish 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th overall in the GT division.

 

An incident-hit 991 category was eventually won by the first of two EBIMOTORS-entered Porsche 911-II Cups (#973, Paolo Venerosi / Gianluca Giorgi / Gianluigi Piccioli / ‘Spezz’). The class had been led going into the overnight intervention by the sister #974 Porsche (#974, Luigi Peroni / Pietro Negra / Massimiliano Donzelli / Massimiliano Montagnese) only for a gear selection issue to strike mid-afternoon on Saturday, followed by a trip into the barriers.

Suspected powertrain issues for long-time GTX leader RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) at three-quarter distance meant category honours instead went to HRT Performance (#728, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot). The #720 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo did eventually recover to finish 2nd in GTX. 

 

A character-building event for Vortex V8, which included myriad power loss issues, produced a 3rd-place finish for its #703 entry (Pierre Fontaine / Christophe Decultot / Philippe Gruau), one of three 1.0 sports cars the French team brought to the Hankook 12H MUGELLO. The French independent also scooped radiolemans.com’s coveted ‘Spirit of the Race’ award. 

 

A close fight for GT4 honours was unfortunately curtailed by a broken coolant tank for the Orchid Racing Team Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR (#417, Alexandre Mottet / Stefan Chaligne / Antoine Leclerc / Antonio Garzon). The extensive delay thus allowed the Team ACP-Tangerine Associates by VEIDEC JJ Motosport BMW M4 GT4 (#421, Catesby Jones / Wim Spinoy) to secure GT4 victory despite suffering two punctures on Saturday. 

Finally, though ABS and traction control problems stymied BoDa by Bas Koeten Racing’s chances early on, a smooth run this afternoon – a rear left puncture aside in the final hour – saw the Bentley Continental GT3 (#6, Bob Herber / Marcel van Berlo) complete its maiden outing in the 24H SERIES.

 

The 24H SERIES powered by Hankook will be back in action on 22-23-24 April as the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps makes its return to the CREVENTIC calendar. One month after that, the 24H SERIES heads to Germany for the Hankook 12H HOCEKENHEIMRING on 13-14-15 May. Further details regarding the 2022 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE.

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