This weekend, CREVENTIC hosts its first-ever official endurance event in Germany, with points at the inaugural Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING counting towards both the 24H SERIES Europe and the 24H SERIES Continents. In a year that’s already proven uncertain for so many different reasons, our first ever race at the Hockenheimring could prove similarly unpredictable.
Can Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing for example maintain, or even extend, its championship lead, or will a fourth different TCE team take victory in 2020? Can Equipe Verschuur finally end a miserable run of bad luck with its Renault R.S. 01 GT? Will Speed Lover prove the ‘991’ entry to beat for category returnee NKPP Racing? And can Nordschleife Racing finally take its first win in the 24H SERIES with its new Ligier JS2R? All that and more to look forward to in Baden-Württemberg!
24H SERIES Europe – GT Standings (after 3 rounds)
1. Herberth Motorsport (#92, GT3, Porsche) – 47 points
2. Speed Lover (#978, 991, Porsche) – 40 Points
3. Herberth Motorsport (#91, GT3, Porsche) – 38 points
24H SERIES Continents – GT Standings (after 3 rounds)
1. Herberth Motorsport (#91, GT3, Porsche) – 46 points
2. Black Falcon (#4, GT3, Mercedes-AMG) – 30 points
Atlas BX Motorsports (#403, GT4, Mercedes-AMG) – 30 points
Equipe Verschur (#9) made history last time out at Monza when the Dutch team’s R.S. 01 GT3 became the first Renault to take an outright pole position in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook. Sadly, despite impressive speed down the Autodromo di Monza’s main start-finish straight, the R.S. 01 GT3 lasted just 16 laps before the Renault’s engine ceased. Counting the 21 laps the team completed on its previous showing at the 2019 Hankook 24H BARCELONA, Mike Verschuur’s eponymous outfit has now run less than two of those collective 36 hours. A record he will certainly wish to end alongside Harrie Kolen and Erik van Loon at the Hockenheimring.
After a Covid-related hiatus, CP Racing (#85) makes its long-awaited return. 2018 24H SERIES champions Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster are on driver detail once again in the team’s new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo alongside former Daytona 24 Hours class winner, Shane Lewis. After a tough race in Dubai, ‘the American team’ will be keen to take its first class win with CREVENTIC under its new name.
Finally, Proton Competicion (#711, Dominique Bastien / Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak / Christian Ried) will make its very welcome debut in the 24H SERIES on home turf at the Hockenheimring. The German squad, founded in 1996, is a long-time competitor in the FIA World Endurance Championship, having also competed in both its BPR Global GT Series and FIA GT Championship guises. Proton is also a three-time Le Mans Series Teams’ champion, and drew major headlines when it confirmed ‘McDreamy’ – team partner Patrick Dempsey – and Magneto himself – Michael Fassbender – would compete together in this year’s European Le Mans Series.
Proton’s run at the Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING with a Porsche 911 RSR is the next crucial step in a development run for 24H SERIES stalwart Dominique Bastien, who is set to make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with the team later in the month.
After securing 2nd in-class in Portimão, Speed Lover took its first ‘991’ win of the season – and its first since last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA – last time out at Monza. The Belgian stalwart now leads the ‘991’ class standings in the 24H SERIES Europe, a position the team will hope to maintain this weekend with its Porsche 911-II Cup (#978, Eric Mouez / Jeroen Kreeft / Rolf Lietart).
With a ‘991’ class podium finish already under its belt from Dubai, DUWO Racing (#909, Andrey Mukovoz / Sergey Peregudov / Stanislav Sidoruk) returns for its second 24H SERIES start at Hockenheim. A series fan favourite from Luxembourg and a former CUP1 champion, DUWO collected its first ‘911’ class win at last year’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, bringing an 18-month winless streak to an end in the process.
NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#991, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Marcel van Berlo) completes the ‘991’ class line-up at Hockenheim. This marks the first time the Dutch team has fielded a Porsche Cup car in the 24H SERIES since the opening two rounds of 2019, after which a sizable accident at Mugello brought a brief end to NKPP’s campaign with the Porsche 911-II Cup.
‘GT4’ meanwhile looks set to be a two-horse between PROsport Racing (#401, Nico Verdonck / Rodrigue Gillion / Tom Heeren) – the current standings leader in-class in the European standings – and Team Avia Sorg Rennsport (#451, Olaf Meyer / Björn Simon / Heiko Eichenberg / José Manuel de los Milagros). Though the latter’s BMW M4 GT4 finished a solid 4th in-class in Dubai, the German team’s sister M240i Racing Cup walked away with victory in the ‘TC’ class, its second in as many races in the 24H SERIES. Similarly, PROsport took a character-building win on its last outing in Portimão, the team’s second with the new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 since the car’s maiden triumph at Spa-Francorchamps last year. Don’t be too surprised if these two proven class winners steal the show at the Hockenheimring
With all three TCE races being won by three different teams and three different marques thus far in 2020, things could not be more competitive in the TCR class heading into the inaugural Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING.
Reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing currently leads the way in both the ‘Europe’ and ‘Continents’ championship tables, following an impressive win at Portimão and TCR podium finishes at both Dubai and Monza. The Swiss team will once again field two entries in Germany, with Constantin Kletzer, Jasmin Preisig, Christoph Lenz, Rhys Lloyd, and reigning 24H SERIES Continents Overall TCE Drivers’ champion Yannick Mettler teaming together in the #1 Golf GTI TCR, and Alberto Vescovi, Roberto Ferri, Miklas Born, Marek Schaller, and Benjamin Leuchter partnering in the sister #112 Volkswagen. Expect their nearest rivals to be glued once again to their rear wings.
At the season opening Hankook 24H DUBAI for example, AC Motorsport (#188, Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Mathieu Detry) finally took a well-deserved first win in the series with its Audi RS3 LMS, following that up with a 2nd in-class in Portimão. Despite an engine-related retirement in Monza, the Belgian team still lies 4th in the 24H SERIES Europe standings and 2nd in a fantastically tight ‘Continents’ championship fight.
Similarly, Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Steven Liquorish) took its first win of the season last time out in Monza after a fighting recovery drive with the CUPRA TCR. The inaugural victor of the TCR SPA 500 now lies 3rd in the TCE ‘Continents’ standings and 2nd in the ‘Europe’ championship table.
Having teamed with Bas Koeten Racing in Dubai, last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA TCE winner TOPCAR Sort (#131, Fabian Danz / Karen Gaillard / Kai Jordan) makes its independent return to the 24H SERIES with both its established CUPRA TCR and reigning 24H SERIES Europe Overall TCE Drivers’ champion, Fabian Danz. The Swiss team will not be the only series returnee competing in TCR either.
While luck has rarely been on the side of Nordschleife Racing in 2020 (#226, Guillaume Roman / Daniel Waszczinski / Michel Sallenbach), the speed of the French team’s Ligier has nevertheless been encouraging. The former 24H SERIES TCR champion qualified 2nd in-class in Dubai and secured its maiden class podium with the Ligier JS2 R last time out at Monza. Both races were ultimately blighted by drivetrain issues, though Nordschleife did at least recover to secure podiums at both races, keeping the French squad well in contention for the ‘TCX’ championship in both the ‘Europe’ and ‘Continents’ standings. Can the Ligier finally secure its maiden class win at the Hockenheimring?
Dutch team Day V Tec Engineering (#240) completes the field in TCE, and is set to field Jan Jaap van Roon, Gaby Uljee and Dakar Rally mainstay Tim Coronel in a BMW M240i Racing Cup.
24H SERIES Europe – TCE Standings (Overall)
1. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#112, TCR, Volkswagen) – 46 points
2. Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101, TCR, CUPRA) – 34 points
3. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Racing Power (#1, TCR, Volkswagen) – 28 points
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. Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101, TCR, CUPRA) – 39 points
*Images courtesy of Petr Frýba.