Canada’s ST Racing makes its 24H SERIES return at this weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, and following its victory earlier this season in Mugello, will be looking for another strong result.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion ST Racing makes its 24H SERIES return at this weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, “very encouraged with [its] recent momentum.”
ST Racing last competed with CREVENTIC at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO in March, at which it secured the first outright win for a Canadian team in the 24H SERIES. It also marked the first outright win for ST Racing following its maiden campaign in the GT4 class in 2021. Global logistical issues and spare part shortages thereafter however led to ST Racing missing CREVENTIC’s endurance events at Spa-Francorchamps, Hockenheim and Portimão.
With a “haphazard” summer now behind it, the reigning champion is keen to make a successful return to the 24H SERIES at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Fittingly, ST Racing took class victory at last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA – its second of three en-route to championship glory – with its now-retired BMW M4 GT4. The Canadian team has since contested the 2022 series with its brand-new BMW M3 GT3 in the GT division’s top class.
“Our 2022 race campaign has been haphazard at best as we try to find solid footing in various race series,” team principal Kenneth Tan explains. “The acute shortage of spare parts for our GT3 race cars significantly hampered our racing plans this year.
“The only bright spot this year has been with CREVENTIC, starting with the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI in January and then winning the [Hankook] 12H MUGELLO outright a couple of months later. It has been a real struggle since that time except for our successful race at the 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July. Thus, we are very encouraged with the recent momentum and are really looking forward to our return at the [Hankook] 24H BARCELONA.”
Reigning Overall GT Drivers’ champion Samantha Tan will line-up on driver detail alongside Nick Wittmer and Bryson Morris, with whom Samantha also took victory earlier this year in Mugello. The trio is also joined this weekend for the first time by the USA’s Steven Aghakhani, a repeat class winner in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. If confirmed for the race itself, the Hankook 24H BARCELONA will mark the 19-year-old native Californian’s maiden outing in the 24H SERIES.
“I am very excited to be coming back to the [Hankook] 24H BARCELONA,” team co-owner, driver and namesake Samantha continues. “To be representing Canada once again is very important to us, and after our win last year with the BMW M4 GT4, there’s a special place in my heart for this event. It’s always such an incredible experience driving a Formula 1 track, and to do so with our BMW M4 GT3 will be amazing.
“I am also just ecstatic to be reunited with the 24H SERIES. I am always blown away by their organization and how they go above and beyond for all their teams and drivers. I’m very much looking forward to driving again with our winning Mugello team, Bryson Morris and Nick Wittmer, and am very excited to have Steven Aghakhani joining the team this weekend. We have an incredibly competitive lineup, a reliable car, and a stellar crew as always. I hope this combination rewards us with that top step once again.”
Though the team is unable to compete for European championship honours this weekend, ST Racing could still be in contention for this year’s Championship of the Continents. The Canadian outfit finished an “encouraging” 5th and 9th in-class on its GT3 debut in Dubai with a pair of brand-new BMW M4 GT3s, following that up with its maiden outright win in Mugello.
Free Practice for this weekend’s 24-hour event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya kicks off at 12.20 hrs on Friday 9 September, swiftly followed by 90 minutes of Qualifying starting at 15.45 hrs later that afternoon. The race itself meanwhile begins at 13.00 hrs on Saturday 10 September, and will run uninterrupted throughout the night until 13.00 hrs on Sunday 11 September.