GENNEP (4 September, 2020) – 39 years after the event was last run, more than 25 teams have already signed up for the revived Coppa Florio on 9-10-11 October, with half a dozen more also showing an interest.
The inaugural COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily is now just five weeks away and will be hosted at the Autodromo di Pergusa in Sicily, Italy, following significant development to both the pit and paddock complex and the track itself. The October race weekend under the CREVENTIC banner will mark the first time the ‘Coppa Florio’ name has been officially promoted since 1981, and, unsurprisingly, has garnered considerable interest from new and existing 24H SERIES competitors alike.
AC Motorsport, a 24H SERIES mainstay which also secured its first TCE win at this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, is set to compete with its Audi RS3 LMS. As ever, the Belgian team will face stiff competition from long-time TCR rival Red Camel-Jordans.nl, the inaugural TCR SPA 500 winner having also confirmed an entry for its CUPRA TCR. Vmax-Engineering is also lining up an Opel Astra TCR for its first endurance event with CREVENTIC in over a year.
CP Racing, the eponymous entry of former Overall GT Drivers’ champion Charles Putman, will compete in Sicily with the team’s brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, while reigning A6-class 24H SERIES Continents champion Car Collection Motorsport could bring two Audi R8 LMS’ to Pergusa.
V8 Racing, a regular competitor at the Hankook 24H DUBAI and a former winner of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO back in 2016, will return to series competition in Pergusa with a GT3-spec Corvette, while The Netherland’s Equipe Verschuur is looking to run both its tenured Renault R.S. 01 GT3 and a brand-new McLaren 570S GT4. How the latter will fare in a British duel with PROsport Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 is a tantalizing prospect! Nordschleife Racing meanwhile will lead competition in the ‘TCX’ class with its Ligier JS2 R, while newcomer Welch Motorsport will look to keep pace with the former TCR class champion with its SEAT Leon Cup Racer.
Chief among the potential Italian entrants thus far is DINAMIC MOTORSPORT. The Emilia-Romagna-based team finished 3rd in-class on its maiden 24H SERIES outing earlier this year in Dubai, and is eying two berths at Pergusa for its tenured Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo and Porsche 911 GT3 R. MP Racing, which took a similarly fighting 4th on its series debut on home turf at Monza, could make its second 24H SERIES start in Sicily with its family-entered Mercedes-AMG GT3. FULGENZI RACING is also planning a two-car entry in the ‘991’ class alongside fellow 24H SERIES debutant, and Italian compatriot, Tempo .s.r.l., the latter also eying an entry for its Porsche 991-II Cup.
Interestingly, CREVENTIC has also received interest from multiple teams looking to enter sports prototypes at Pergusa. Italian team DF Racing hopes to bring both a BMW 330D E46 to the ‘TC’ class and a Ligier JS51 CN prototype, while Avelon Formula, which competed with CREVENTIC in the Middle East last year, is also looking to get back on the grid with its Wolf GB08 Tornado. Bhk Motorsport and CMS Racing Cars have also expressed an interest in competing with a Ligier JS P3 and a Norma M20 FC respectively.
Ole Dörlemann, CREVENTIC sporting coordinator, explains: “We’re very excited to see so many teams across such a variety of different disciplines showing a concerted interest in the COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily.
“The Coppa Florio is a name steeped in motorsport heritage, and it truly is an honour that CREVENTIC has been given official permission to revive this extraordinary name. The 24H SERIES relies so much on the support we receive from our fans, sponsors and competitors, and it’s great to see so many people getting behind this new event with such enthusiasm, especially in these difficult times. We’re very confident our grid in Pergusa this year will do the Coppa Florio name justice, and we know this will be an event to remember at the Autodromo.”
In July, CREVENTIC announced that the 115-year old name would be revived as part of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in 2020, the Dutch promoter having been endorsed by Chico Paladino Florio, the grandson of event founder Vincenzo.
In its original road rally guise, the Coppa Florio was first held in 1905 under the auspices of event namesake Vincenzo Florio. The Italian entrepreneur even offered a prize purse of 50,000 lira to the manufacturer that could secure the most wins in the first seven iterations of the event. Incredibly, it wasn’t until Peugeot took it second win in 1925 – 20 years later! – that the Coppa could be awarded.
Prematurely retired after Bugatti’s third win in 1929, the Coppa Florio name returned as part of the European and World Sports Car Championship calendars between 1975 and 1981. In that time, sports car and Grand Prix luminaries Jochen Mass and Arturo Merzario added their names to an event Hall of Fame that already included Targa Florio winners Albert Divo, Felice Nazzaro, André Boillot and Bartolomeo Costantini, as well as former Indy 500 winner Jules Goux.
Entries are still being accepted for both the GT and TCE divisions for the inaugural COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily on 9-10-11 October. Teams and drivers interested in competing at the Autodromo di Pergusa can speak with our team directly via +31 485 471 166 or by emailing [email protected].
* Images courtesy of Petr Frýba and the Autodromo di Pergusa