Talking Point. Will Porsche or Ferrari make history at the 2023 Hankook 12H MUGELLO?

News | March 23, 2023

After eight editions of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, both Ferrari and Porsche have three outright wins apiece. Can the deadlock be broken in 2023?


Words – James Gent

Images – Eric Teeken | Petr Frýba

Fittingly, at the Ferrari-owned Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the prancing horse drew first blood at the inaugural 12H MUGELLO in 2014 with AF Corse. Albeit by almost hilariously slim margins over Stadler Motorsport’s Porsche 997 GT3 R. 


That Hofor Racing’s fast-starting Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 held the advantage over the first two hours, from 4th on the grid, was perhaps not too surprising – the 6.2-litre V8 was a demon down Mugello’s kilometre-plus long main straight, and back-to-back wins in Dubai more than proved its capability – yet it was 2014 polesitter Stadler’s more frugal and bullet-proof Porsche that ultimately proved the difference maker thereafter. The Swiss team’s cause was helped by a technical gremlin that affected fellow front row starter AF Corse early on (Ferrari-runner Scuderia Praha was almost cost 3rd on the grid when the Czech team’s 458 GT3 momentarily ground to a halt during qualifying with a similar issue), forcing AF Corse into a comeback drive. Impressive pace meant the Ferrari moved ahead when Stadler opted to pit early for its final refuel and tyre change, the Italian team’s final stop, for fuel only, giving gentleman driver Alexander Talkanitsa Sr. only an 18-second cushion on worn rubber. In the end, with the charging Adrian Amstutz reigning in Talkanitsa by more than a second per lap, the AF Corse Ferrari crossed the line just 5.417 seconds clear of Stadler’s Porsche. It remains the closest overall GT finish in the 24H SERIES to this day. 


One year later, Porsche’s fortunes were reversed with a formidable run to victory by series newcomer HB Racing Team Herberth (both Alfred Renauer and Daniel Allemann discuss this on p48). Granted, the pace of Scuderia Praha and new contender Black Pearl Racing – with 2022 GT European Trophy winner Pierre Kaffer on driver detail, no less – suggested momentum was still very much on Ferrari’s side during qualifying, the latter sealing pole in 2015 by a mighty 1.2 seconds! The prancing horse’s advantage though was short lived, with ‘Team Herberth’s’ Robert Renauer, from 4th on the grid, relinquishing Black Pearl’s Kaffer of the lead in the early stages, and Ram Racing, from 3rd, heading the field going into the overnight intervention. Day two though belonged to Herberth, the Bavarian outfit making use of deft pit strategy during the event’s six Code 60s – of which it would become a master in the years that followed – to successfully gap Ram Racing and eventually cross the line more than two minutes clear of the Mercedes.


Back in 4th, Black Pearl’s Ferrari 458 meanwhile hit trouble when Alexander Volz spun and stalled in the closing stages of ‘part one,’ further issues with the front-end balance relegating the polesitter to 4th, 11 laps down. In an odd repeat of 2014, the Ferrari was just 1.4 seconds clear of 5th-placed GDL Racing at the line.




Ferrari - 1 | Porsche - 1


1.     AF Corse – Ferrari (349 laps)

2.     Stadler Motorsport – Porsche (+5.417s)

3.     Hofor Racing – Mercedes-AMG (347 laps)


> 2014 results


1.     HB Racing Team Herberth – Porsche (342 laps)

2.     Ram Racing – Mercedes-AMG (+ 1m 51.910s)

3.     Hofor-Racing – Mercedes-AMG (333 laps)


> 2015 results


Ironically, Herberth Motorsport’s fortunes at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO were far less fruitful in both 2016 and 2017, the Bavarian team retiring during the opening four hours on both occasions with gearbox issues and a loss of drive respectively. MRS-GT Racing (with future Overall GT Drivers’ champions Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman on-board, incidentally) and 2018 Overall GT Teams’ champion PROsport Performance would fly the Porsche flag admirably with ‘Cup’ class wins in ’16 and ’17 (both, oddly, finished 9th overall in ’16 and ’17 respectively) but the goal was wide open for Ferrari in Mugello. 


Granted, Ferrari’s 2016 was far from a success either – front row starter MJC – Furlonger, with a V de V-spec 458 GT, was done after 94 laps with gearbox issues – leaving the way clear for V8 Racing to score Renault’s sole win. 2017 proved altogether different though, Scuderia Praha taking the first of its eventual three wins that season after a commanding performance from pole position. This, despite an odd incident during qualifying when Matteo Malucelli’s driver net came loose and knocked the Ferrari’s ignition switch, and an early duel between Herberth Motorsport and Förch Racing that left the rest of the field, briefly at least, in the Tuscan dust. 

Ferrari - 2 | Porsche - 1


1.     V8 Racing – Renault (345 laps)

2.     Hofor-Racing – Mercedes-AMG (341 laps)

3.     GRT Grasser Racing Team – Lamborghini (340 laps)


> 2016 results


1.     Scuderia Praha – Ferrari (326 laps)

2.     IDEC SPORT Racing – Mercedes-AMG (322 laps)

3.     Konrad Motorsport – Lamborghini (321 laps)


> 2017 results



If Ferrari’s win in 2017 had been commanding, it was nothing short of dominant when the Hankook 12H MUGELLO returned after a one-year hiatus in 2019, with Scuderia Praha (now backed by ‘Bohemia Energy’, and as one of SIX 488 GT3s on the grid in Mugello that year) leading all but 28 of the 330 completed laps. An amazing start to, what would be, a crushing European championship campaign for the Czech team. 


Porsche, after a couple of years in the GT3 wilderness in Tuscany, did at least secure an overall podium finish after a typically Herberth Motorsport-esque climb through the field from 12th on the grid. It was a bittersweet result though, Lamborghini – courtesy of 2nd-placed Barwell Motorsport, despite fuel pick-up issues – and Mercedes-AMG, which locked out the front with SPS automotive performance and former series champion Hofor-Racing, clinging closest to Ferrari’s rapid coattails.   

Ferrari - 3 | Porsche - 2


1.     Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha – Ferrari (330 laps)

2.     Barwell Motorsport – Lamborghini (327 laps)

3.     Herberth Motorsport – Porsche (326 laps)


> 2019 results


1.     Herberth Motorsport – Porsche (334 laps)

2.     CP Racing – Mercedes-AMG (333 laps

3.     MP Racing – Mercedes-AMG (320 laps)


> 2020 results



It was 3-1 in Ferrari’s favour then on the scoreboard heading into the 2020 Hankook 12H MUGELLO, the season-closer for a change following the onset of Covid-19. Albeit only briefly, with Herberth Motorsport collecting both its second and (a record) third event wins consecutively in 2020 and 2021. Indeed, only 11th hour gearbox problems prevented Herberth taking a 1-2 finish in ’20 after a metronomic performance. 


Having not factored at all on home turf in 2020, Ferrari was also back on the podium in 2021, the newly re-branded ‘MiddleCap Racing with Scuderia Praha’ taking the first of three successive runner-up spots on its series return after denying DINAMIC Motorsport 2nd place with an on-track pass in the closing 30 minutes.


Thus the Ferrari-Porsche scoreboard at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO stands at three apiece heading into the 2023 event, 2021 Overall GT Teams’ champion ST Racing having taken the first global win for BMW’s M4 GT3 in 2022 while Herberth’s annus horribilis began with a collision-related retirement whilst battling for the podium. Kessel Racing’s return to the 24H SERIES meanwhile was undermined when the Ferrari customer lost a potential top five finish to a spin in the closing moments. One does wonder therefore whether it will be third time lucky for Herberth in 2023 after two stellar near-misses this year in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, or whether Kessel Racing can step up for the prancing horse on its series return. 


Or even, given the recent form of Haas RT and JUTA Racing, and the established pace of the returning Car Collection Motorsport in particular, whether Audi will get itself on the scoreboard.

Ferrari - 3 | Porsche - 3


1.     Herberth Motorsport – Porsche (335 laps)

2.     MiddleCap racing with Scuderia Praha – Ferrari (332 laps)

3.     DINAMIC Motorsport – Porsche (+10.941s)


> 2021 results


1.     ST Racing – BMW (330 laps)

2.     Phoenix Racing – Audi (328 laps)

3.     MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF (+1.453s)


> 2022 results

You can also check out more ‘talking points’ for the 2023 Hankook 12H MUGELLO in our paddock magazine, available for digital download below.

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