Following a brief hiatus, 2021 991 Teams’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors claimed class victory at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in, what could potentially be, its last outing with the 991-generation Porsche Cup car in the 24H SERIES.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
2021 991 Teams’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors made a successful return to the 24H SERIES with class victory at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, and has now hinted at a category change for its upcoming series entries.
The Italian-Romanian collaboration hadn’t started an official CREVENTIC event since its high-speed exit from the Hankook 12H MUGELLO back in March, an incident from which Fabrizio Broggi spent several months recovering. Having “overcome those small obstacles that can arise in such a long race,” Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors converted category pole position into 991-class victory after, what Ebimotors team boss Enrico Borghi called “nothing short of triumphant.”
“This weekend could not have ended better for us, finishing the race 1st in-class and 12th overall, makes us experience some of the feelings we missed,” a Willi Motorsport statement read. “The boys showed enviable pace throughout the race and we're happy to see them on the podium again.”
With the fastest laps set across the team’s three respective qualifying sessions securing 991-class pole position, Sergiu Nicolae and Sabino de Castro carried this momentum into their first respective stints, retaining the class lead and even pulling a one-lap lead over nearest rival E2P Racing. Issues would soon strike the Spanish team, however: having already picked up a 60-second penalty for overtaking under Code 60, the E2P Racing Porsche 911-II Cup also lost considerable time to front suspension and radiator damage following a collision with the RD Signs – Siauliai racing team Lamborghini at turn five.
A full gearbox change in the early hours of Sunday morning eventually dropped the Spanish team 107 laps down on Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors, the latter suffering no mechanical or on-track drama en-route to its first ‘991’ win since last year’s Hankook 24H SEBRING (though a standalone Ebimotors entry did take victory in Mugello earlier this year).
Fittingly, victory for Broggi, de Castro and Nicolae at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya replicates the category win the trio took at the same event in 2021 en-route to the 991 Teams’ championship. The result was also an early birthday present for team founder Viorel ‘Willi’ Nicolae.
Intriguingly, in its post-event press release, Ebimotors stated it is “preparing important news for the team for the next competitions].” Though unconfirmed by the team itself, increased competition in the ‘992’ class this season has led to speculation that Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors could compete at the Hankook 12H KUWAIT and/or Hankook 24H DUBAI with a new, 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Such a move would vault the 2021 class champion into direct competition with reigning 992 Teams’ champion Red Ant Racing and series stalwart Red Camel-Jordans.nl.