· Multi-time GT class winner CP Racing takes maiden outright win.
· Standings leader Phoenix Racing finishes 2nd after race-long battle.
· Red Ant Racing secures 1-2 finish; 992 title fight now even tighter!
· Drama in GTX as Leipert Motorsport pips RD Signs.
· RAM Racing takes commanding GT4 win; Team ACP digs deep.
· New, second generation BMW M4 GT4 goes the distance on debut.
PORTIMAO (10 July, 2022) – CP Racing has secured its first outright victory in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO after a race-long battle with GT3 championship leader, Phoenix Racing.
Across an uninterrupted 24 hours, the overall lead swapped hands between the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) and the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) an incredible 26 times in Portimão as both teams maximized their fuel and driver stints to the fullest. Indeed, as both teams emerged from their final respective pit stops with just 50 minutes left to go, the Mercedes and the Audi were still split by less than 30 seconds.
The result marks the first outright victory in the 24H SERIES for CP Racing. Fittingly, Shane Lewis, celebrating his 60th race start in the 24H SERIES this weekend, collected the chequered flag, completing 718 laps of the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in the process.
“This was awesome!” a jubilant Shane Lewis explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “I’ve been at this a lot of years, and to be able to finish my 60th 24H SERIES race with a win is pretty special.
“I just can’t say enough about this Mercedes-AMG. People came in saying, ‘ah, this is not the car to have here.’ And we worked at it, worked at it, worked at it, and as it turns out, the Mercedes really was the car to have here! But, honestly, this was more about CP Racing being the team to have here, and I’m just so honoured to drive for these guys. I love this series, I love CREVENTIC, and I love this race track!”
“Finally! I’ve got tears coming down!” team owner and driver Charles Putman continued. “It’s just fantastic, and I’m so proud of all our guys! Proud of our AMG for being able to run in these conditions, because honestly, this was a real test in these temperatures. I’m just so happy!”
Though an unfortunate injury for Elia Erhart threw the team’s driver stint schedule into disarray – the German driver was left with an injured hand after a troubled pit stop during the night – Phoenix Racing still managed to finish just 36 seconds adrift of CP Racing in 2nd place, the German team further strengthening its lead in the GT3 standings in the process.
WTM Racing (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Daniel Keilwitz / Indy Dontje), which was originally classified 3rd overall, has subsequently been disqualified from the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO after the Ferrari 488 GT3’s exhaust was found not to include a catalytic converter during post-race scrutineering, in contravention to 24H SERIES regulations.
Red Ant Racing, which collected a 1-2 finish in the 992 class and finished 4th and 5th overall, has now been promoted to the overall podium. The Belgian team’s lead 992 GT3 Cup (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant / Sam Dejonghe) collected the chequered just ahead of the sister Porsche (#904, Philippe Wils / Jimmy de Breucker / Kobe de Breucker / Gavin Pickering), the latter of which has now been credited with 4th overall.
While a post-race disqualification in the 24H SERIES, however rare, is disappointing, CREVENTIC and its race officials are confident that this matter has been dealt with accordingly in an effort to keep competition fair.
Red Ant Racing’s nearest championship rival, Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers / Fabian Danz) had been on course to take class victory in Portimão, but driveshaft failure, caused by the heat from a broken exhaust pipe, led to the Dutch team retiring from the event shortly before daybreak. Just one point now separates Red Camel-Jordans.nl and Red Ant Racing in the 992 European standings, and the two teams are now level on points in the Championship of the Continents.
Brutal bad luck struck RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius / Arturs Batraks) heading into the closing 90 minutes. After recovering from an early puncture and a small refuelling fire, the long-time GTX class leader was in the overall top six when electrical issues struck the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, opening the door for GTX championship rival, Leipert Motorsport (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Glenn McGee / Anthony McIntosh / Tyler Cooke). The Lithuanian team did manage to return to the track to collect 2nd in-class and finish 6th overall.
Just one place ahead in 5th, the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo similarly had to overcome several punctures and race-long fuel feed issues to take its first GTX class win of the season. With the 992 and GTX class winners finishing 3rd and 5th overall at the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, four different manufacturers are represented in the overall top five.
BMW M Motorsport (#482, Daniel Harper / Max Hesse / Neil Verhagen / Jörg Weidinger) completed a successful 24-hour debut with the new, second-generation M4 GT4 with the final spot on the GTX class podium. Strong pace meant the ‘Concept’ even led the category outright during the night.
After losing time early on with a faulty rollover valve, RAM Racing (#405, Jon Minshaw / Katarina Kyvalova / John Loggie / Phil Keen) completed a commanding maiden endurance event with its Mercedes-AMG GT4 to collect GT4 class victory. The British team finished 8th overall just ahead of the SAINTéLOC Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#26, Olivier Esteves / Christian Kelders / Simon Gachet / Nicolas Baert / Lucas Légeret), the latter having bounced back from an earlier brush against the turn 11 barrier to finish 9th.
Behind RAM Racing, the Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#499, Andreas Bakkerud / José Garcia / Patrick Kolb / Daniel Miller) finished a character-building event in 2nd, and also rounds out the overall top 10. Three-time European Rallycross champion Andreas Bakkerud consequently secures his maiden 24H SERIES podium on his second series outing in 2022.
TEAM ACP - Tangerine Associates (#421, Catesby Jones / Wim Spinoy / Ken Goldberg / Jim Norman) ran just 21 laps across the opening nine hours thanks to an on-going electrical gremlin, though the GT4 Teams’ standings leader did complete sufficient race distance to be classified 3rd in-class. For its efforts, the Belgian team was awarded radiolemans.com’s ‘Spirit of the Race’ award.
2020 event winner Herberth Motorsport meanwhile (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer / Jürgen Häring) suffered an early setback on Saturday as a punctured tyre also damaged the Porsche 911 GT3 R’s rear bodywork. In spite of this, the Bavarian team did recover to 5th overall after an extraordinary fightback during the night, but eventually retired after contact on-track left the Porsche in the turn five gravel trap.
The next round of this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook – the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 9-10-11 September. Further details regarding the 2022 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE