A 24H SERIES powered by Hankook staple since 2017, the annual endurance event in the Algarve is set to make series history this weekend as CREVENTIC finally returns to real world competition. This marks the first time for instance that the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will open the 24H SERIES Europe season. It brings an end to the prolonged motorsport hiatus in Europe, and marks the first time that CREVENTIC’s brand new, Porsche-dedicated CAYMAN category will be run. With the absence of Bohemia Energy racing by Scuderia Praha, we’re also guaranteed a brand new winner at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO this year. But who will it be…?
GT3 and 991 – Can Herberth pick up the win in Portimão?; Speed Lover’s domain?
2019 GT3 (A6-Pro) in stats…
Polesitter: Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11)
Pole position time: 1m 44.748s
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: 721
Fastest Lap: 1m 45.656s – Matteo Malucelli, Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11)
2019 991 in stats…
Polesitter: Porsche Lorient Racing (#911)
Pole position time: 1m 50.907s
Winning Team: DUWO Racing (#909)
Winning Car: Porsche 991-II Cup
Winning Drivers: Andrey Mukovoz (RUS), Sergey Peregudov (RUS), Stanislav Sidoruk (RUS)
Laps completed: 663
Fastest Lap: 1m 50.771s – Frédéric Ancel, Porsche Lorient Racing (#911)
Could this be the year that luck finally changes for the #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche in Portugal? True, the Bavarian outfit secured last year’s 24H SERIES Europe A6-Am Teams’ championship with the #93 Porsche 991 GT3 R. and at last year’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, secured its third class win on the bounce.
Luck has rarely factored into the #91’s race in the Algarve, however: the team missed the event entirely in 2018, and accident-related damage led to early retirements for the #91 in both 2017 and 2019. Team principals – and brothers – Alfred and Robert Renauer would no doubt love to bring the #91’s streak to a close this weekend alongside long-time teammates Ralf Bohn and Daniel Allemann. In doing so, the quartet would also secure their first class win since last year’s Hankook 12H BRNO.
No doubt the #92 would love a successful start to the team’s European championship defense too. Interestingly, victory in the Algarve would be the first in the 24H SERIES for both Tim Müller and Jürgen Häring since Spa 2018, the former having taken the ‘A6-Am’ win with SPS automotive performance, and the latter collecting ‘SP4’ honours with Manthey Racing. In Portimão, the German countrymen will team a debuting Michael Joos, 24H SERIES regular Taki Konstantinou, and former Daytona 24 Hours class winner Marco Seefried, back for the first time since last year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI.
Joining Herberth Motorsport in the GT3 ranks in Portugal will be HTP Winward Motorsport (#84). A former Hankook 24H DUBAI class winner, the German outfit will team ADAC GT Masters frontrunner Indy Dontje and Mercedes factory driver Philip Ellis with Russell and Bryce Ward. Could the fairytale first 24H SERIES win for the father-son duo come in the GT division’s top class?
A former SPX class champion, Speed Lover (#978) returns to 24H SERIES action in Portimão, with team staple Dominique Bastien partnering Gavin Pickering – who makes his first start with the team since Imola 2017 – a debuting Olivier Dons, and Eric Mouez, the latter of whom took 991 class victory with Porsche Lorient Racing at last year’s season-closing Hankook 24H COTA USA. But then, Speed Lover is no stranger to victory lane: en-route to 4th in the 991 class standings in the 24H SERIES Europe, the Belgian team collected class wins at both Brno and Barcelona.
Series debutant Mühlner Motorsport (#921) will also be running a 991-II generation Cup car, one set to be driven by Moritz Kranz, Carlos Vieira and Tom Cloet. To emphasize the team’s potential, its PRO driver this weekend will be three-time Hankook 24H DUBAI winner, Jeroen Bleekemolen.
GT4 and Cayman – PROsport vs. Parkalgar; CAYMAN class debuts
2019 GT4 in stats…
Polesitter: Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50)
Pole position time: 1m 55.193s
Winning Team: Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50)
Winning Car: BMW M4 GT4
Winning Drivers: Martin Kroll (SUI), Thomas Jäger (AUT), Michael Fischer (AUT), Michael Schrey (GER), Alexander Prinz (GER)
Laps completed: 631
Fastest Lap: 1m 54.902s – Michael Schrey, Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50)
2019 CAYMAN in stats…
Having finished 2nd in-class in last year’s 24H SERIES Europe ‘GT4’ class as PROsport Performance, the newly rebranded PROsport Racing (#401) returns for another crack at the European crown with its Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4. CREVENTIC regular Rodrigue Gillion will once again team with former Formula Le Mans Cup champion Nico Verdonck – both won last year’s ‘SP3’ class at Spa – and debutant, Tom Heeren. Constantin Schöll meanwhile switches disciplines for Portimão, having raced in the ‘991’ class in both Dubai this year (with TM – Racing.org) and COTA in 2019 (MRS GT-Racing).
The fight for GT4 honours will be a straight fight between the German team and Parkalgar Racing Team (#412), the in-house racing program at the Autódromo do Algarve and a former class winner at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. Portuguese compatriots André Antunes, Alvaro Ramos and Jose Monroy will team with The Netherlands’ Fred Blok and Brazil’s Joaquim Penteado. Tellingly, the latter stood on the top step of the podium at the event in 2017 when the Parkalgar-entered Honda Civic Type-R claimed ‘SP3-GT4’ class victory.
This year’s European season opener will also be the debut host event for CREVENTIC’s new CAYMAN category, dedicated to Porsche’s mid-sized sports car.
The all-Portuguese Savora Racing Team (#408) will race a 981-gen Cayman GT4 CS, and will team compatriots Miguel Praia and Miguel Ferreira together with Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of the Autódromo do Algarve. For its second event entry, Mühlner Motorsport (#421) has entered a fourth generation ‘982’ Cayman GT4 CS for German trio Axel Sartingen, Daniel Schwerfeld and Thorsten Jung, and Luxembourg’s Daniel Bohr.
TCR and TCX – Can Autorama repeat its streak?; Comtoyou comes to us
2019 TCR in stats…
Polesitter: AC Motorsport (#188)
Pole position time: 1m 55.283s
Winning Team: Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112)
Winning Car: Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR
Winning Drivers: Stefan Tanner (SUI), Ralf Henggeler (SUI), Marlon Menden (GER), Yannick Mettler, (SUI), Jérôme Ogay (SUI)
Laps completed: 641
Fastest Lap: 1m 56.744s – Yannick Mettler, Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112)
Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing is set to be among the frontrunners in the TCE division. In its first collaborative season in 2019, the Swiss team won four races en-route to the Overall TCE Teams’ title in both the 24H SERIES Europe and 24H SERIES Continents. And just FYI, of those four races, one of them was Portimão.
As was the case during the latter half of 2019, the Swiss team has brought two Volkswagen Golf GTi TCRs to Portugal (interestingly, team principal Stefan Tanner recently collected the last example of VW’s tin top to be produced at the marque’s headquarters in Hannover). 24H SERIES Continents Overall TCE Drivers’ champion Yannick Mettler, a two-time winner last year in Dubai and Portimão, leads the driver line-up in the #112 entry alongside Miklas Born and Roberto Ferri, both of whom finished 3rd in-class on their series debut in Dubai earlier this year. Moreover, former TCR class champion Antti Buri, a former British Formula Ford champion and class winner at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, reunites with long-time teammate Kari-Pekka Laaksonen. Together, the pair took TCE class victory with Autorama at Brno last season.
In the sister Golf GTi meanwhile (#1), Jérôme Ogay, a winner last year in Dubai and Portimão, will team with Christoph Lenz, the latter of whom makes his return to the 24H SERIES since his run in the GT division in 2018, team owner Stefan Tanner, and Volkswagen Ambassador, Jasmin Preisig.
Established rivals AC Motorsport (#188) and Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#101) though will prove tough opponents to overcome. The Belgian and Dutch teams finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in-class in both the 24H SERIES Europe and the 24H SERIES Continents after running Autorama close all season. AC Motorsport also secured its first 24H SERIES class win earlier this year in Dubai and finished runner-up in-class last season in Portugal. Team staple Stéphane Perrin lines up alongside Michael Blanchemain (a former Hankook 12H SILVERSTONE class winner in 2018), Christophe Hamon, and Sweden’s Hannes Morin.
Red Camel-Jordans.nl meanwhile collected two TCE wins last season at Spa-Francorchamps and the Circuit of the Americas, as well as victory at the inaugural TCR SPA 500. This weekend, team owner Ivo Breukers lines up alongside his sons Luc and Rik, the latter of whom is a two-time class winner at the Daytona 24 Hours. The Dutch team will also run the only CUPRA TCR in the field, just as AC Motorsport will field the only Audi RS3 LMS TCR.
The third and final Volkswagen in the TCE division has been entered by debutant CODE Racing Development (#124), and will run French quintet Thierry Chkondali, Philippe Baffoun, Bruno Derossi, French rally star Quentin Giordano, and Thierry Boyer. In his only CREVENTIC race outside the Nordschleife Racing fold, can Boyer claim his first class win since Paul Ricard 2016 in Portugal?
A staple of the TCR International Series and now the World Touring Car Cup, Comtoyou team Audi Sport (#117) makes its first start in the 24H SERIES since the 2018 Hankook 24H COTA USA. Fittingly, World Touring Car Championship icon Tom Coronel, who was also victorious at the inaugural TCR SPA 500 in 2019, leads the team’s driver line-up alongside Nicolas Baert and France’s Nathanaël Berthon. Alongside his WTCR season with Comtoyou team Audi Sport in 2018, the latter is also an experienced campaigner in GP2, the FIA World Endurance Championship, and the European Le Mans Series, among others.