This weekend, a ‘memorable’ season of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook draws to a close at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, a mainstay of the series since 2014 which has already confirmed its spot for 2021.
While Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing has already sewn up the ‘European’ championship in the TCE division, things couldn’t be closer in the ‘Continental’ standings, with the GT titles similarly too close to call across THREE different categories. Could history be made once again in the 24H SERIES in 2020?
24H SERIES Continents – GT (after 5 rounds)
1. Team Avia Sorg Rennsport (#451, GT4, BMW) – 52 points
2. Herberth Motorsport (#91, GT3, Porsche) – 46 points
DUWO Racing (#909, 911, Porsche) – 46 points
24H SERIES Europe – GT (after 5 rounds)
1. PROsport Racing (#401, GT4, Aston Martin) – 68 Points
2. Speed Lover (#978, 991, Porsche) – 56 points
3. Herberth Motorsport (#92, GT3, Porsche) – 54 points
2019 GT3 (A6-Pro) in stats…
Polesitter: SPS automotive performance (#16)
Pole position time: 1m 46.828s
Winning Team: Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11)
Winning Car: Ferrari 488 GT3
Winning Drivers: Jiří Písařík (CZE), Josef Kral (CZE), Matteo Malucelli (ITA)
Laps completed: 330
Fastest Lap: 1m 48.411s – Rik Breukers, Car Collection Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS (#88)
Having stormed out of the blocks with two wins back-to-back in Portimão and Monza (including a podium lockout at the latter), Herberth Motorsport was always going to be a championship contender in 2020. Heading into this year’s 24H SERIES season finale, the #91 991 GT3 R (Robert Renauer / Ralf Bohn / Daniel Allemann) is just six points adrift in the Continental title chase, while the sister #92 Porsche (Alfred Renauer / Max Edelhof / Vincent Kolb) is now just 12 points behind in the European standings.
Admittedly, momentum has shifted away from the Bavarian team in recent weeks: irreparable handling issues eventually led to the #92 Porsche’s retirement in Sicily, while the #91 hasn’t been in action since Monza. A win for both cars would prove invaluable in the championship hunt. The question remains though, which side of the garage secure the top step of the podium, and just how intense will this inter-team battle get in Senni-San Carlo?
Back-to-back class wins at Hockenheim and Sicily means CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Shane Lewis) is well on course to secure the GT3-AM class title in the 24H SERIES Continents, and a hattrick for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in 2020 would put the title out of reach of its nearest rivals.
MP Racing (#58) is set to start its third ‘home race’ of the 24H SERIES season with the Gostner family – Thomas, David, Corinna and Manuela – once again on driver detail. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of the Bolzano-based squad took a GT3-AM class podium last time out in Sicily and got its 24H SERIES journey off to a good start with 4th overall at Monza.
RD Signs racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Egidijus Gutaravicius / Arturs Batraks / Martynas Griska) meanwhile makes its 24H SERIES bow at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO with a 2017-spec Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo.
2019 991 in stats…
Polesitter: Raceunion (#987)
Pole position time: 1m 52.657s
Winning Team: Porsche Lorient Racing (#912)
Winning Car: Porsche 991-II Cup
Winning Drivers: Jean-Philippe Belloc (FRA), Pascal Gibon (FRA), Frederic Lelievre (FRA), Philippe Polette (FRA)
Laps completed: 313
Fastest Lap: 1m 53.214s – Felipe Fernández Laser, Raceunion, Porsche 991-II Cup (#987)
2019 GT4 in stats…
Polesitter: Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50)
Pole position time: 1m 58.045s
Winning Team: Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50)
Winning Car: BMW M4 GT4
Winning Drivers: Gustav Engljaehringer (AUT), Michael Fischer (AUT), Thomas Jäger (AUT), Martin Kroll (SUI), Michael Schrey (GER)
Laps completed: 301
Fastest Lap: 1m 58.811s - Michael Fischer, Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport, BMW M4 GT4 (#50)
It’s so close at the top of the 24H SERIES Europe and 24H SERIES Continents standings that the results in 991 and GT4 in Mugello could well decide the Overall GT Teams’ championship.
PROsport Racing (#401, Nico Verdonck / Rodrigue Gillion / Carrie Schreiner) currently leads the way in the European standings on 68 points, courtesy of two class wins in Portimão and Sicily with the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4. ‘GT4’ class rival Team Avia Sorg Rennsport (#451, Björn Simon / José Manuel de los Milagros Viñegla / Sergio Paulet Diaz / Philippe Valenza) meanwhile is the standings leader in the Continental title chase, following a maiden season win on home turf at the Hockenheimring.
Both look set to claim the ‘GT4’ class crown in their respective championships, as do Nico Verdonck, and José Manuel de los Milagros and Björn Simon respectively. But can either leave Mugello with the Overall GT Teams’ title as well?
After a one-round break, Speed Lover (#978, Eric Mouez / Olivier Dons / Jürgen van Hover) is back in action in the ‘991’ class with, so far, the sole Porsche 991-II Cup entrant. The Belgian team is also PROsport Racing’s closest rival in the overall European standings, following the team’s previous win at the Hankook 12H MONZA.
Like we say, the results in ‘991’ and ‘GT4’ could well decide the Overall GT Teams’ titles in Mugello.
Were that not enough pressure, after a two-year break from 24H SERIES action, EBIMOTORS makes its return on home soil. The Como-based team won three of its five outings in 2018, and could prove a spoiler in ‘GT4’ with its new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR (#473, Alessandro Cutrera / ‘L.M.D.V.’ / Marco Talarico / Marco Frezza).
2019 TCR in stats…
Polesitter: MONLAU COMPETICION (#109)
Pole position time: 1m 58.284s
Winning Team: Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112)
Winning Car: Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR DSG
Winning Drivers: Fabian Danz (SUI), Kristian Jepsen (DEN), Jan Sørensen (DEN)
Laps completed: 300
Fastest Lap: 1m 59.417s – Kantadhee Kusiri, MONLAU COMPETICION, CUPRA TCR SEQ (#109)
2019 TCX (SP3) in stats…
Polesitter: Amag First Centri Porsche Ticino (#312)
Pole position time: 2m 01.202s
Winning Team: Amag First Centri Porsche Ticino (#312)
Winning Car: Porsche Cayman GT4 CS
Winning Drivers: Matteo Arrigosi (ITA), Ivan Jacoma (SUI), Ivan Reggiani (SUI), Valerio Presezzi (SUI)
Laps completed: 289
Fastest Lap: 2m 01.709s – Marco Poland, Munckhof Racing, BMW M4 GTR (#310)
Even though Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112, Miklas Born / Roberto Ferri / Yannick Mettler / Alberto Vescovi) successfully defended its 24H SERIES Europe Overall TCE Teams’ title last time out in Sicily, don’t expect the fight for TCR honours to be any less intense in Mugello. For starters, the Swiss team is just one win short of repeating its impressive four-victory run from 2019. For another, just ONE point separates the #112 Volkswagen Golf GTi and the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / James Kaye) in the Continental title chase, with teammates Miklas Born and Yannick Mettler and Constantin Kletzer and Stéphane Perrin similarly split by just a single point.
Interestingly, the crew on the #112 VW will find another championship challenge closer to home. The sister #1 Golf GTI TCR (Constantin Kletzer / Jasmin Preisig / Philipp Hagnauer / Stefan Tanner / Yannick Mettler) is just nine points shy of the top spot in the 24H SERIES Continents TCR title chase, and also took its maiden class win at the Hockenheimring.
Speaking of Germany, NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#175, Harry Hilders / Gijs Bessem) made history at this year’s Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING as the first ‘991’ class entrant to win a 24H SERIES event outright. This weekend, Bas Koeten’s eponymous outfit returns to the TCR class for the first time since Monza.
After a tough couple of races, Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101, Ivo and Luc Breukers) has slipped away in the title chase, though as its recovery drive to the flag in Monza ably demonstrated, TCR teams should dismiss the orange CUPRA TCR at their peril. Ditto TOPCAR Sport (#131, Fabian Danz / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Adrian Spescha), the TCE winner of last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA which also claimed a podium finish at Hockenheim this year.
Across a quietly impressive season thus far, Nordschleife Racing (#226, Guillaume Roman / Daniel Waszczinski / Mathieu Sentis) has secured three podium finishes in the ‘TCX’ class in 2020, though testing times with its new Ligier JS2 R mean the top step of the podium has remained tantalisingly out of reach. Could the Hankook 12H MUGELLO bring all of that to a close? If the French outfit wishes to secure the ‘TCX’ class title in the 24H SERIES Continents, they will certainly be hoping so.
JR Motorsport (#703, Ted van Vliet / Oscar Graper) will similarly want to sign off 2020 in style. The Dutch team was well in contention for TCE victory in Sicily only for its BMW M3 E92 suffer terminal drivetrain issues just 49 laps into the event.
24H SERIES Continents – TCE Standings (Overall)
1. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#112, TCR, Volkswagen) – 55 points
2. AC Motorsport (#188, TCR, Audi) – 54 points
3. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#1, TCR, Volkswagen) – 46 points
24H SERIES Europe – TCE Standings (Overall)
1. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#112, TCR, Volkswagen) – 86 points
2. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#1, TCR, Volkswagen) – 56 points
3. Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101, TCR, CUPRA) – 55 points