· WTM Racing takes first series win ahead of new GT3 champion Phoenix Racing.
· High-speed DNF for Red Camel aids Red Ant 992 title win; Leipert bests RD Signs in GTX.
· Wolf-Power denied by gearbox failure; BBR seals TCR Teams’ crown with 1-2 finish.
Like CP Racing two months earlier, WTM Racing (#22) finally secured its first outright win in the 24H SERIES after a stellar performance. The Ferrari 488 GT3, having qualified on the front row, was briefly dropped out of the top 20 following a collision at turn 10, but, thanks to a mix of high attrition and a fault-free run during the night’s cooler temperatures, the prancing horse was back in the mix early on Sunday morning, and into the lead at three-quarter distance, rarely to be led thereafter. The determined run was a fitting send-off for the German team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 in its final 24-hour event.
A surprisingly conservative run for Phoenix Racing (#18) was nevertheless rewarded with 2nd overall and victory in the GT3 Teams’ standings, while CP Racing (#85) completed the outright podium after a typically methodical run, securing GT3-AM honours in the process.
A hard-earned 4th went to Poulsen Motorsport (#14), back for its first 24H SERIES event since, fittingly, Barcelona in 2016! Despite damage accrued to the Porsche 991 GT3 R’s front left in the early going, Huber Racing (#23) was able to pass DINAMIC Motorsport (#54) on-track inside the final 30 minutes for 5th overall, a rejuvenated JUTA Racing (#71) chasing the pair home hard for 7th.
Herberth Motorsport (#91) looked to have put a luckless season behind it in Barcelona – an event the Bavarian team had previously won three times – when the Porsche 911 GT3 R took outright pole position and led the first 37 laps, despite a bizarre collision with series returnee Senkyr Motorsport during Night Practice (for which the Czech team served a 60-second time penalty during the race before the BMW was thwarted by an overheated engine, leaving the way clear for AtlasBX to take an unchallenged GT4 win). An oil leak and a fractured radiator though ultimately proved Herberth’s undoing, the subsequent DNF marking the first time since 2015 that the former series champion failed to take a single win during a 24H SERIES season.
Similarly, what was on course to be a successful series return for 2021 Overall GT Teams’ champion ST Racing (#1) after a monumental win in Mugello, sadly, turned sour: the Canadian team had pulled two laps clear of the field, and led more laps than any other team bar WTM, when the BMW M4 GT3’s head gasket failed shortly after half-distance.
A storming run for 992 leader Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909) was brought to a dramatic close when Rik Breukers hit the tyre barrier hard at turn one four hours in, the result of a hole in the brake line. The Dutch team eventually returned after significant front-end repairs had been completed, but the way had already been left clear for Red Ant Racing (#903) to take its third win of the season and the 992 Teams’ crown in its maiden 24H SERIES season.
Following its Mugello shunt, Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955) made a successful return to the 24H SERIES with a commanding run to 991 victory, a result aided, admittedly, by nearest rival E2P Racing (#910) losing time to a full gearbox change early on Sunday morning.
GTX championship rivals Leipert Motorsport (#710) and RD Signs (#720) were in trouble moments after the green flag flew, the Lamborghinis colliding on the start-finish and spitting the RD Signs Hurácan into the main grandstand wall. The heavily damaged RD Signs Lamborghini eventually returned to the track, and even recovered to an impressive 2nd in-class, but was too far back to prevent Leipert Motorsport – itself nursing first lap damage – from securing its second category win of the season and the GTX Teams’ crown.
A stunning run from Wolf-Power Racing (#116), which started with the team’s first TCR pole of the season courtesy of 2012 World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff, was brought to a swift end on Sunday morning with gearbox failure, memories of the transmission issue that cost the team a podium in Dubai no doubt still fresh in their minds. Even amidst overheating concerns, the way was thus left clear for BBR to secure a 1-2 finish and put the TCR Teams’ crown out of reach. A fitting way for BBR’s technical partner Monlau Competición to sign off a stunning European season on home soil.
Wolf-Power’s retirement proved equally beneficial for AC Motorsport (#188), which bested event stalwart RAIL EQUIP BY TOTCAR SPORT (#123) to take the final podium spot, the latter only just recovering from suspension and brake failure 45 minutes from home.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Overall top 5 – GT
1. WTM Racing (#22, Ferrari 488 GT3) – GT3 – 696 laps
2. Phoenix Racing (#18, Audi R8 LMS GT3) – GT3-P/A – 295 laps
3. CP Racing (#85, Mercedes-AMG GT3) – GT3-AM – 690 laps
4. Poulsen Motorsport (#14, BMW M4 GT3) – GT3-P/A – 687 laps
5. Huber Racing (#23, Porsche 911 GT3 R) – GT3-P/A – 685 laps
Overall top 5 – TCE
1. BBR (#158, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR) – TCR – 642 laps
2. BBR (#159, CUPRA TCR) – TCR – 641 laps
3. AC Motorsport (#188, Audi RS 3 LMS) – TCR – +20.950s
4. RAIL EQUIP BY TOTCAR SPORT (#123, CUPRA TCR) – TCR – 616 laps
5. Simpson Motorsport (#138, Audi RS 3 LMS) – 596 laps
GT3 – WTM Racing (#22, Ferrari 488 GT3) – 696 laps
GT3-P/A – Phoenix Racing (#18, Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 695 laps
GT3-AM – CP Racing (#85, Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 690 laps
GTX – Leipert Motorsport (#710, Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo) – 651 laps
992 – Red Ant Racing (#903, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – 674 laps
991 – Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Porsche 991-II Cup) – 663 laps
GT4 – AtlasBX Motorsports (#403, Mercedes-AMG GT4) – 627 laps
TCR – BBR (#158, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR) – 642 laps
TC – Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#332, BMW M2 CS Racing) – 575 laps