Though it had been a tough fight with the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in the early going, a wiring fault ultimately ended up costing the Raging Bull two laps to the leading Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R at quarter distance. The British team would gamely recover to finish 2nd, but that still left the Lamborghini six laps shy of the Herberth Porsche.
It also meant the 24H BARCELONA would celebrate the fifth different manufacturer on the top step of the overall podium since the event’s ‘GT era’ had begun six years earlier.
Schubert Motorsport got the ball rolling in 2011 with Edward Sandström, Michael Outzen, Peter Posavac, and Lars Stugemo taking victory in the German team’s BMW Z4 GT3, One year later, Lapidus Racing took what is, to-date, the only outright win for McLaren in the 24H SERIES, in this case the MP4-12C driven by Klaas Hummel, Adam Christodolou, Phil Quaife, and Tim Mullen.
In 2013, Hofor-Racing (Michael Kroll / Roland Eggimann / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout) took its first outright victory in the 24H SERIES with the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, and one year later, Scuderia Praha celebrated the event’s fourth different winning manufacturer when Jiri Pisarik, Jaromir Jarik, Matteo Malucelli, and Peter Kox collected the chequered flag with the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. You can ‘blame’ HP Racing for bringing this particular run to a close when Bernd Schneider, Hari Proczyk, Reinhold Renger, Sean Johnston, and Reinhold Kofler took Mercedes’ second overall win at the event in 2015. Alfred and Robert Renauer, Ralf Bohn and Daniel Allemann's victory in the Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche in 2016 makes five.
Interestingly, NM Racing Team would claim the honours in the TCE-only 24H BARCELONA in 2017 with its Ginetta G55 GT4, making the British sports car brand the sixth different winning manufacturer in seven editions. Add the Sunred Seven SEAT’s win in 2009 (there was no 24-hour event in 2010), and that’s a staggering seven different brands on the overall top step in eight races.
After similar successes at the two previous rounds in Zandvoort and Circuit Paul Ricard, Barcelona marked the third win in succession for Precote Herberth Motorsport en-route to 2nd in that year’s ‘A6’ class standings behind Hofor-Racing. It does make one wonder how different the Bavarian team’s season could have ended were it not for retirements in Mugello and the season finale in Brno.
Still, title or otherwise, Herberth Motorsport did write itself into the 24H SERIES record books in Barcelona 2016 by becoming the first team in history to win three races outright one after the other. It’s a feat that would go unmatched until Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha’s heroic run in 2019, in which the Czech team took four consecutive wins in Mugello, Spa, Brno and Portimão
What makes Herberth’s achievement yet more remarkable though is that, prior to this, only Duller Motorsport had ever won two 24H SERIES events back-to-back, namely the Austrian team’s consecutive victories in Dubai a decade earlier in 2006 and 2007. Staggering, isn’t it?!
Was Herberth the first team to score a hat trick of wins in the 24H SERIES though? Alas, no, for that honour had already gone to MARC Cars Australia one year earlier. In 2015, the Australian team took four ‘SP2’ wins in succession in Dubai, Mugello, Zandvoort and Circuit Paul Ricard en-route to the class championship and second overall in the 2015 standings.
Daniel Allemann (left) took the Precote Herberth Motorsport 911 GT3 R across the line in Barcelona to collect the team's third win in a row. (PHOTO: Eric Teeken)
Someone, somewhere, had to be rubbing a crystal ball in the closing stages of the 2016 race to make this happen. It’s the only explanation, because somehow, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche completed 662 laps of the 4.665km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya en-route to the chequered flag in 2016, the same as the HP Racing Mercedes had managed one year earlier. This despite the Porsche’s 1m 50.672s fastest lap almost 1.5 seconds faster than the Mercedes’ 1m 52.112s. To balance the necessary time under Code 60 and the average race pace would have needed the planets to align.
To say the two teams also held the joint record for most laps completed at the 24H BARCELONA would be the cherry atop the arnadí, but alas both Herberth and HP fell seven short of Schubert Motorsport’s then record (669) set in 2011. That has since risen to 690, courtesy of Barwell Motorsport’s efforts at last year’s event.
Given the sheer number of 991s entered by MSG Motorsport, and the recent of successes that year of MRS GT-Racing and HRT Performance – class winners at Mugello, and Zandvoort and Circuit Paul Ricard respectively – to see APO Sport walk away with the ‘991’ class win at Barcelona in 2016 could, on paper at least, be considered a shock result. Even despite the nine-lap lead the British team held across the line that day.
Far from it though. If anything, in 2016, APO Sport confirmed itself to be a Barcelona specialist, given that the British squad took 3rd in-class on its event debut back in 2014, and claimed its maiden category win in the 24H SERIES at the same event one year earlier. On that occasion, James and Paul May, together with teammate Alex Osborne, took the team’s then-new Porsche 997 Cup GT4 to ‘SP3’ class victory, one lap clear of Cor Euser Racing’s Lotus.
That means that, at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, APO Sport has a 100 percent podium finishing strike rate.
It’s ironic then that, despite those performances, Barcelona was also the first, and last, time we’ve seen APO Sport on the top step of a 24H SERIES podium. Or indeed any step for that matter, given that since that 2016 win, APO’s best result has been a pair of 4th places at Mugello and the Circuit of the Americas in 2017.
Turns out APO Sport really knows how to get the job done in Barcelona... (PHOTO: Original Boost!)
GC Automobile’s recent history at the 24H BARCELONA has not been a happy one. Alongside the character-building race that eventually ended in retirement for Vortex V8’s example in 2016 (highlights of which you can watch HERE), the Volkswagen Scirocco-modeled special edition also hit repeated trouble at the 2017 race, retiring more than 260 laps early as a result. It’s an incredible transformation, given that GC Automobile will likely remain the most successful model to have raced in the now retired ‘SP2’ category at the 24H BARCELONA.
Having taken its first ‘SP2’ class podium at the 2012 edition (the car raced, and ironically retired, in ‘SP3’ one year earlier), the GC Automobile came storming back with a 1-2 finish in ‘SP2’ in 2013, the factory-entered outfit in turn following that up with another 3rd place in 2014 and the category’s runner-up spot in 2015. Though Porsche, Renault and MARC came close, none could overhaul GC’s five ‘SP2’ podium finishes at Barcelona. And with the class exempt from the TCE-only event in 2017, merged with ‘SPX’ in 2018 and 2019, and replaced altogether by the more encompassing ‘GTX’ category from 2020 onwards, so too it shall remain.
Porsche though can admittedly lay claim to the being the most successful brand in ‘SP2’ at Barcelona, courtesy of ARC Bratislava’s win in 2015 with the 997 Cup S and Team Icer Brakes’ triumph in 2016 with its 991 Cup. Those results make Porsche the only repeat-winner in SP2 in Barcelona following Brokernet (2011, Bovi Motorsport), Chevrolet (2012, Bonk Motorsport - Guttroff), GC Automobile (2013, factory entry), and MARC (2014, MARC Cars Australia).
Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing took its third win of the 2016 season in Barcelona. It would be a while before the Lebanese team stood on the podium again though in the 24H SERIES. (PHOTO: Original Boost!)
‘SP3’ has always had a habit of springing new winners in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, and 2016 was no different. Between the season-opener in Dubai and the curtain finale at Brno for example, six different teams from five different nations representing four individual manufacturers took an ‘SP3’ class win in the 24H SERIES. Barcelona winner JR Motorsport – from The Netherlands, running a BMW M3 Endurance – was the fifth in that chain, and celebrated its second class win in the 24H SERIES since the 24H DUBAI two years earlier.
It’s a variety though that becomes even more impressive if you factor in the 2015 season that came before it. Optimum Motorsport (Britain, Ginetta) got the ‘SP3’ ball rolling in Dubai, following that up with its second win in succession one round later in Mugello. Cor Euser Racing (The Netherlands, Lotus) took the honours on home soil in Zandvoort, a win dutifully followed by Nova Race at Circuit Paul Ricard (Italy, Ginetta), APO Sport in Barcelona (Britain, Porsche, and see point number 4 above), and Walkenhorst Motorsport in Brno (Germany, BMW).
Combined, that’s 10 different winners representing five nations and five individual car brands across just 12 races, with only Optimum Motorsport and Nova Race taking more than a single win apiece in-between. At Barcelona in 2016, JR Motorsport became the category’s ninth different winner in the space of less than two years.
Having taking two ‘TCR’ class wins in 2015 at Dubai and Barcelona, plus three more class podiums at Mugello, Circuit Paul Ricard and Brno, Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing ended a successful season by claiming both the ‘A3T’ class championship and the Overall Teams’ 24H SERIES crown as well.
One year later, the reigning champion repeated its wins in Dubai and Barcelona – now in ‘TCR’ – and collected a third at Circuit Paul Ricard. That, plus a category podium at Silverstone, was enough for the Lebanese team to secure the inaugural ‘TCR’ class 24H SERIES championship, and fall behind only Team Altran Peugeot in the Overall Touring Car Teams’ standings. To all intents and purposes, the Moutran brothers – Nabil, Ramzi and Sami – together with teammate Phil Quaife were on a roll in the 24H SERIES.
Few knew, however, that the 2015 champion would not score another class win in the 24H SERIES until 2.5 years later.
Indeed, so plagued was the team’s now retired SEAT Leon Cup Racer with gearbox issues, and difficulties with its brand new Porsche 991-I Cup, meant Duel Racing failed to even finish its effective ‘home race’ in Dubai in 2017. An event at which, lest we forget, Duel Racing had either won, or finished on the podium, in-class on four of its seven showings until then.
Come 2019 though, Duel Racing would finally return to the top step of a 24H SERIES podium, fittingly, at that year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI. Long live the king.
Come the end of the 2016 24H SERIES season, Team Altran Peugeot celebrated its first Overall Touring Car Teams’ title win in a remarkable year that included five ‘A3’ wins at (deep breath) Dubai, Silverstone, Zandvoort, Circuit Paul Ricard and Barcelona.
That latter win for Michael Carlsen, Kim Holmgaard, Stéphane Ventaja and Guillaume Roman aboard the 208 GTi was particularly notable, as it extended the 24H SERIES’ record for class wins to ‘11’, a run that started at the 12H ZANDVOORT in 2014, and was followed by two further category wins that year at Barcelona and Hungary, and three the following season in Zandvoort (again), Circuit Paul Ricard and Brno.
It was an accomplishment that also put the then-record well out of reach of Team Altran Peugeot’s nearest ‘rival’ for that particular accolade, namely, yes, MARC Cars Australia. Throw in the team's maiden triumph in ‘SP2’ at the 2014 24H BARCELONA with its four class wins in 2015, and that's five in total for the Australian team heading into 2016.
Amazingly, Barcelona marked the fourth 'A3' win for Team Altran Peugeot in the first five races of 2016. (PHOTO: Eric Teeken)