On 9-10-11 September, the 23rd annual edition of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in northern Spain. The longest tenured event on CREVENTIC’s endurance racing calendar, as well as the Dutch promoter’s most popular European 24-hour event, has already received more than 50 car entries and registered more than 140 confirmed drivers with over a month left to go before the green flag is dropped for the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook European season finale.
Images: Petr Frýba
Phoenix Racing (#18) heads into the final European round of the season on top of the GT3 Teams’ standings, and, tellingly, has reunited its Hockenheim-winning driver line-up of Michael Doppelmayr, Pierre Kaffer, Elia Erhart and Swen Herberger in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II.
Just a few points behind the German team, and fresh from its first outright GT win in the 24H SERIES at Portimão, CP Racing (#85) has entered its Mercedes-AMG GT3 for 2018 Overall GT Drivers’ champions Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster, and American compatriot Shane Lewis.
Sure to be among the American team’s strongest rivals in Barcelona is the returning Car Collection Motorsport (#34). The 2019 Hankook 24H DUBAI winning outfit, and outright polesitter at this year’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, is vying for GT3-AM Teams’ championship honours in Catalunya and partners team regulars Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff, Max Edelhoff and Elmar Grimm with Ingo and Tim Vogler, the latter on his series debut.
JUTA Racing (#71) will be keeping a similarly close eye on the top two in the Overall GT3 Teams’ standings on its first start since finishing 3rd overall in Hockenheim. Julius Adomavičius, Andrius Gelžinis and Jonas Gelžinis will pilot one of the Liuthuanian team’s two Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVOs.
2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion Herberth Motorsport (#91) once again fields Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn and team principals Alfred and Robert Renauer in the Porsche 991 GT3 R, all four of whom are previous outright winners in Barcelona. As in Portimão, the quartet will be joined by Jürgen Häring.
Significantly, should Daniel, Ralf and Alfred be successful once again in 2022, they would become the first competitors since Òscar Nogués in 2009 to take more than three outright wins at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
Vying for Championship of the Continents glory, reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion ST Racing (#1) will make its first start since taking the BMW M4 GT3’s first overall victory earlier this year in Mugello. On driver detail, Canadian co-owner Samantha Tan will team with long-time teammate Nick Wittmer and newcomer Bryson Morris.
2017 Overall GT Teams’ champion Hofor Racing (#10) is similarly set to make its first race start with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 since, fittingly, the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2019. Former Overall GT Drivers’ champions – and father-daughter duo – Michael Kroll and Chantal Prinz are set to drive alongside Chantal’s husband Alexander and Australian newcomer Michael Bailey.
Roberto and Amedeo Pampanini, Stefano Monaco and Nicolas Stürzinger will be hoping for better fortunes with the DINAMIC Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#54) after a tough race for the Italian team earlier this year in Dubai. Italy will be further represented by the WTM Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#22), set to be driven by father-son duo Georg and Leonard Weiss, Jochen Krumbach, Daniel Keilwitz and Indy Dontje for the second 24-hour event in a row.
Season debutant Poulsen Motorsport (#14) will field Danish compatriots Kristian and Roland Poulsen, and Christoffer Nygaard – all three of which make their first series start since 2016 – with Sweden’s Alfred Nilsson in the team’s new BMW M4 GT3. Huber Racing meanwhile (#23) is set to make its first start in the 24H SERIES’ GT3 category, and has registered Jörg Dreisow, Christian Hook, Wolfgang Triller and 2021 Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING winners Manuel Lauck and Marc Basseng aboard the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The fight for GTX Teams’ honours in the European standings goes down to the wire in 2022, with just points separating the Leipert Motorsport (#710) and Siauliai – RD Signs racing team (#720) Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos. The German team, winner of the Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ championship in 2019, will field GTX championship leaders Jean-Francois Brunot and Kerong Li together with the returning Gerhard Watzinger, Gregg Gorski and Brendon Leitch. The Lithuanian team meanwhile partners season-long teammates Audrius Butkevicius, Nicola Michelon and Paulius Paskevicius with Arturs Batraks and Spain’s Alfredo Hernandez.
Reigning GTX Teams’ champion Vortex V8 has entered two of its eponymous lightweight sports cars for the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, the first of which (#701) will be driven by team principals Arnaud Gomez Olivier Gomez together with Lucas Lasserre. Team staples Philippe Bonnel, Lionel Amrouche, Philippe Gruau and Nicolas Nobs will pilot the second (#702).
Event legend Francesc Gutierrez Agüi will float between both Vortex 1.0 entries in what will be his 23rd consecutive start in the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. In that time, the Spaniard has won the race outright twice and taken four further category wins.
TFT (#706) meanwhile, which raced to 4th in-class on its last series outing with ‘COGEMO’ in Dubai in 2019, has registered a GTX entry for two-time Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Alain Ferté, Spain’s Ander Vilariño and Philippe Illiano.
Across in the GT4 category, and despite a tough round last time out in Portugal, Team ACP – Tangerine Associates (#421) continues to lead the category standings heading into Barcelona, and has confirmed that GT4 Drivers’ standings leaders Catesby Jones and Wim Spinoy will team with America’s Ken Goldberg in the BMW M4 GT4. South Korea’s AtlasBX Motorsports (#403) makes its first start since Dubai, and fields Steven Cho, Roelof Bruins, Jong Kyum Kim and Taekeun Yang together with newcomer Taeyoung Ha.
From the Czech Republic, Šenkýř Motorsport (#444, Samuel Vetrak / Marian Biz / Petr Svantner / Ladislav Smucr) will make its first start with CREVENTIC since the Hankook 12H BRNO in 2019.
The fight between 992 Teams’ couldn’t be much closer. Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909) is currently on top in both standings, with father-son trio Ivo, Rik and Luc Breukers – class winners already in Mugello and Hockenheim – racing once again with former Overall TCE Drivers’ champion Fabian Danz.
The Dutch team shares the top spot in the Championship of the Continents with Red Ant Racing’s #904 Porsche, set to be driven again by Hankook 24H PORTIMAO class podium finishers Philippe Wils, and Jimmy and Kobe de Breucker, who will be joined by Pieter Ooms. The sister #903 992 GT3 Cup meanwhile, which finished the last round on the outright podium, lies just one point behind in the European standings, and will reunite Sam Dejonghe with father-son trio Bert, Ayrton and Yannick Redant.
24H SERIES fan favourites Gijs Bessem and Harry Hilders meanwhile will compete with HRT Performance (#928) in Barcelona. The German team is just two points behind the leaders in the Championship of the Continents.
After a one-off GT3 run with Herberth Motorsport in Dubai, former 991 and CUP1 Teams’ champion DUWO Racing (#908) – which will race in Barcelona as ‘SebLajoux Racing by DUWO Racing’ – makes its 992-class debut in Barcelona with series debutants David Sarny and Laurent Cochard, the returning Laurent Misbach, and the aforementioned Sebastien Lajoux.
Reigning 991 Teams’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955) is set to make its first series start since Mugello with Fabrizio Broggi, Sergiu Nicolae and Sabino de Castro. The Romanian-Italian team’s toughest competition for 991 honours will be E2P Racing (#910), the Spanish team having entered Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING class winners Pablo Burguera and Javier Morcillo with Spanish compatriots Jaime Garcia, Manuel Cintrano and Antonio Sainero.
A sensational season so far sees Thailand’s BBR on top in both the European standings and the Championship of the Continents following wins at Dubai, Mugello, Hockenheim and Portimão. Once again, the Thai team will compete with a two-car line-up in Barcelona, with TCR CotC leaders Kantasak and Kantadhee Kusiri – who also lead the TCR European standings – Anusorn Asiralertsiri, Tanart Sathienthirakul and Pasarit Promsombat driving the #159 CUPRA TCR. The sister #158 CUPRA Leon Competición TCR meanwhile will be driven by the Kusiri brothers’ nearest European championship rival Chariya Nuya along with Thai contemporaries Munkong Sathienthirakul, Sandy Stuvik, Grant Supaphongs and Nattanid Leewattanavalagul.
BBR’s nearest competition will likely come from three-time Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing (#118), which will look to emulate its Hankook 24H PORTIMAO podium with Jasmin Preisig, Ivars Vallers and Marlon Menden back in the Audi RS 3 LMS.
Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS winner Holmgaard Motorsport (#102) makes its return after a one-round hiatus, entering its new CUPRA Leon Competición TCR for brothers Magnus and Jonas Holmgaard, team staples Roy Edland and Martin Vedel Mortensen, and series debutant Andie Stokoe. Similarly, European championship contender AC Motorsport (#188) returns to action with Stéphane Perrin and Mathieu Detry aboard the Audi RS 3 LMS in the team’s first outing since a tough race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Hometown heroes RAIL EQUIP BY TOTCAR SPORT (#123) will be hoping to emulate its Spa-Francorchamps podium on home turf, with father-son duo Jorge Belloc Diaz and Jorge Belloc Ruiz joined by long-time teammate Álvaro Rodríguez Sastre and former TCR Drivers’ champion Alba Cano Ramirez.
Lithuania’s GSR Motorsport (#105, Ernesta Globytė / Rokas Kvedaras / Mindaugas Liatukas) will hope for improved fortunes at Barcelona after a difficult round at the Hockenheimring, as indeed will Malaysia’s Viper Niza Racing (#165, Douglas Khoo / Dominic Ang / Melvin Moh / Gilbert Ang), which makes its second 24H SERIES race start in succession after three years away.
GT specialist Simpson Motorsport (#138) makes its return to CREVENTIC’s TCR ranks with an Audi RS 3 LMS, set to be driven by three-time British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal, fellow BTCC legend James Kaye, Matt’s sons Will and Henry, and British compatriot Sacha Kakad.
Finally, SK Racing (#215) will be looking for further success with its Ligier JS2 R having reunited its Hankook 12H MUGELLO class-winning line-up of Franck Eburderie, Franco Lemma, Jérôme Dacosta and Franck Lavergne.
Further information on the 2022 24H SERIES calendar can be found at 24hseries.com.