WTM Racing was back on the podium at the 2022 Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, having also secured its maiden 24H SERIES pole position and led the most laps of any GT3 competitor at the event.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba / WTM Racing
Georg Weiss has praised WTM Racing for the performance that secured the German team an overall podium finish at this past weekend’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS.
WTM Racing, which made its first start in the 24H SERIES since last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, started the weekend strongly with its maiden outright pole position in the 24H SERIES, thereafter leading more laps than any other competitor at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to secure 3rd overall behind eventual winner Phoenix Racing and runner-up CP Racing. The returning team also finished 2nd in the GT3-PRO/AM class.
The result marks WTM’s third outright podium finish in the 24H SERIES since its debut in 2017.
“We as a team can be really proud of this performance,” WTM team owner Georg Weiss explains. “We were the fastest car in the field and got pole position and the fastest lap in the race. We had a wonderful race weekend in a great atmosphere and in the best weather. A perfect weekend that we can happily repeat, then hopefully with a little more luck during the Code 60 phases.”
Jochen Krumbach, Leonard Weiss and Daniel Keilwitz got the 12-hour event off to a good start by posting the fastest times in their respective qualifying sessions and securing WTM’s maiden series pole position by more two seconds over the BoDa by Bas Koeten Racing Bentley Continental GT3. An advantage Jochen Krumbach held during his opening stint.
Pushed onto alternate pit strategies by a succession of early Code 60s, the #22 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo continued swapping the lead with CP Racing during the first half of the event on Saturday, eventually following the #85 Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the overnight intervention in 2nd place. A recovering Phoenix Racing also managed to stay on the lead lap over the first 5.5 hours at Spa.
Though Krumbach managed to retake the overall lead at Sunday’s restart, two separate punctures mid-afternoon, plus bad luck under further Code 60s, eventually dropped the WTM Ferrari behind new leader Phoenix Racing. A miscalculation over driver times – Georg Weiss still had eight minutes of his stipulated time left to complete – meant WTM also had to make a late pit stop with just five laps left to run, costing the Ferrari further time to both the Phoenix Racing Audi and the CP Racing Mercedes.
WTM Racing nevertheless led a total of 96 laps at Spa, more than either Phoenix Racing (76) or CP Racing (74). This year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS also marks the most amount of time WTM has headed a 24H SERIES field since the 373 laps the Ferrari led at Portimão in 2017 (its first of three outright podiums, the second coming at the same event two years later).
“I'm very proud of the team,” Leonard Weiss explains. “We did a zero-defect job all weekend. The [Ferrari] didn't make a single mistake in the race and we were able to finish on the podium without any accidents. Daniel [Keilwitz] and especially Jochen [Krumbach] with his six hours in the car did a great job. I'm very surprised at how well the switch from the LMP3 to the Ferrari went and how well I got along with the car. Qualifying and a fastest sector overall continue to motivate me. I'm glad that my father took control again in the last few minutes. We can all be happy with the result of our team effort. Even though we definitely had the potential to win, we wouldn't have been so unlucky with the Code 60 phases.”
Alongside its Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS commitment, ‘Wochenspiegel Team Monschau’, supported at Spa by Rinaldi Racing, also entered its Duqueine D08 for the inaugural round of the Prototype Cup Germany, marking the first time the German team has run two different motorsport disciplines across the same weekend. Leonard Weiss was also on double duty this past weekend, competing alongside Torsten Kratz in the prototype as well as in the Ferrari. L.Weiss and Kratz rounded-out a successful weekend for WTM by finishing on the podium in both races.
“My son Leo's performance was unbelievable,” Georg continues. “Jumping back and forth between two such completely different vehicles without any problems adjusting and being up to speed straight away is extremely remarkable.”