GENNEP (5 July, 2023) – The 24H SERIES powered by Hankook is gearing up for its first event at the Circuito do Estoril this weekend – the Hankook 12H ESTORIL – as well as the first-ever 6H ‘Qualifying Race.’
The inaugural Hankook 12H ESTORIL on 7-8 July will be the penultimate European round of this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, and will also feature a six-hour ‘Qualifying Race’ to determine the grid for the 12-hour endurance event itself. This will be the first time CREVENTIC has introduced such an innovation to its race weekend format, and will provide additional on-track action for the benefit of competitors and fans alike with a combined 18 hours of racing action scheduled. Points will also be awarded for both the 6H Qualifying Race and the Hankook 12H ESTORIL.
After a one-hour Free Practice session on Thursday 6 July, CREVENTIC’s recently-established three-tier qualifying session will be held on Friday 7 July from 09.00 hrs to 09.55 hrs local time to determine the grid for that afternoon’s 6H Qualifying Race, the green flag for which will fly at 13.30 hrs. On Saturday 8 July, the Hankook 12H ESTORIL itself will begin at 09.00 hrs, with 12 uninterrupted hours of endurance racing action set to follow until the chequered flag is flown that evening at 21.00 hrs.
Alongside the evolved race format, this weekend’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL will also prove significant to teams contesting both class and overall championship honours in this year’s 24H SERIES.
Reigning GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX (#1) vaulted itself back into GT3 title contention with its first outright win of the season at Monza. Not looking to unravel a winning formula, the German team has confirmed that 2022 GT3 Drivers’ ‘Europe’ champions Michael Doppelmayer, Pierre Kaffer and Elia Erhart will be joined by 2012 Bathurst 12 Hours winner Christer Jöns in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II for Estoril.
Fellow GT European Trophy contender Haas RT (#21) could significantly strengthen its championship position in Estoril this weekend. Troublesome races in Spa and Monza aside, the brand-new, Antiguan racing outfit took its first race win in Mugello – in only its third-ever race start – and currently lies third in the GT3 Teams’ standings. Mathieu Detry, Gregory Servais and 2019 Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Frédéric Vervisch will team together once again in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II.
2022 GT Continents Trophy winner CP Racing (#85) is also expected to be among the GT frontrunners at the Hankook 12H ESTORIL. The American team, outright winner last year in both Portimão and Kuwait, sealed GT3-AM victory and finished on the overall podium last time out in Monza, a result that propelled it to the top of the GT3-AM Teams’ standings. 2018 Overall GT Drivers’ champions Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster will once again be joined by fellow series staple, and 2022 GT3 Middle East Trophy winner, Shane Lewis.
The American team’s closest rival, E2P Racing (#90), will also be in action in Portugal. The Spanish team, the reigning 991 Teams’ champion, finished in the overall top five in Monza – its best GT3 result to-date – with Javier Morcillo, Antonio Sainero and reigning 991 Drivers’ ‘Europe’ champion Pablo Burguera, a result that moved E2P Racing to within two points of the GT3-AM title lead.
Ferrari’s new 296 GT3 will be represented by two teams on the Hankook 12H ESTORIL grid. Kessel Racing (#8), which made its first start with the Scuderia’s new GT flagship in Monza, returns for its third start of the season with Alessandro Cutrera, Marco Talarico, Marco Frezza, David Fumanelli and ‘L.M.D.V.’. The returning WTM by Rinaldi Racing (#22) makes its first series start with its own 296 GT3. The German team, which, interestingly, made its Ferrari debut in the 24H SERIES in Portugal back in 2017, took its first outright series win at last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, and has registered Weiss father and son Georg and Leonard alongside Torsten Kratz and long-time teammate Jochen Krumbach.
Italy’s MP Racing (#58) completes the GT3 line-up thus far, with Gostner father-daughters trio Thomas, Manuela and Corinna aboard their Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Reigning 992 Teams’ ‘Europe’ Red Ant Racing (#903), fresh off its class win at Monza, now leads both the 992 class and the overall GT European Trophy standings heading into the Hankook 12H ESTORIL. Redant brothers Yannick and Ayrton (also the reigning 992 Drivers’ Europe’ champions) and Kobe de Breucker reunite aboard the Porsche 992 GT3 Cup having finished on the class podiums in Mugello and Spa-Francorchamps.
Nearest title rival, and 2021 991 Teams’ ‘Europe’ champion, Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955) has confirmed that long-time teammates – and 2021 991 Drivers’ ‘Europe’ champions – Sabino de Castro and Sergiu Nicolae will be joined by Papi Cosimo in Estoril as Fabrizio Broggi continues his recuperation.
Series stalwart HRT Performance, also in the 992 Teams’ title hunt following its class win at Spa-Francorchamps, has confirmed two Porsche 992 GT3 Cups for Estoril. The first will be driven by 2018 Overall TCE Drivers’ ‘Continents’ champions Kari-Pekka Laaksonen and Antti Buri, who will be joined by Axel Sartingen and Daniele Di Amato in the #930 Porsche. Roberto and Amedeo Pampanini, Stefano Monaco and Nicolas Stürzinger meanwhile continue their 2023 campaign aboard the sister, 992-AM-entered #967 Porsche, and will hope to draw a line through a tough weekend in Monza.
Fresh from its first class win at Hankook 12H MONZA, RPM Racing (#907) will hope to strengthen its 992-AM Teams’ standings lead in Estoril. The German team has once again registered Krohn Racing founder Tracy Krohn alongside long-time teammate Niclas Jönsson and Philip Hamprecht.
Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909) rounds out the 992 field thus far, and will team Breukers father and sons trio Ivo, Rik and Luc alongside 2019 Overall TCE Drivers’ ‘Europe’ champion, Fabian Danz.
RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720) will hope to emulate its Hankook 12H MONZA class win with established teammates Audrius Butkevicius, Nicola Michelon and Paulius Paskevicius aboard the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo. The Lithuanian team had already taken class podiums in Mugello and Spa-Francorchamps before securing its first class win of the season in Monza, vaulting RD Signs to the top of the GTX Teams’ standings.
Just 12 points further back in the title chase, Vortex V8 (#701) took its first GTX class victory at the European season opener in Mugello, and has since followed that up with a class podium in Monza. The 2021 GTX Teams’ champion has registered Philippe Bonnel, Gilles Courtois and Lionel Amrouche aboard the bespoke Vortex 1.0 for Estoril.
Like Red Ant Racing, GT4 Teams’ standings leader Buggyra ZM Racing (#416) is also at the sharp end of the GT European Trophy standings. Having taken a class win in Spa-Francorchamps, as well as class podiums in Mugello and Monza, the series newcomer has once again confirmed team staples Aliyyah Koloc, David Vršecký and Adam Lacko aboard the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Nearest title rival Atlas BX Motorsport (#403) is currently just four points behind Buggyra, courtesy of its class wins in both Mugello and Monza. The South Korean team, also running a Mercedes-AMG GT4, reunites its Hankook 12H MONZA driver line-up with Steven Cho, Roelof Bruins, Jongkyum Kim and Taekeun Yang joined by Donggi Noh this weekend in Portugal.
Back for only its second 24H SERIES outing with the Mercedes-AMG GT4, PCR Sport (#418) has confirmed Spanish teammates Josep Parera and Vicente Dasi will compete alongside Portugal’s José Nuñez for his home event.
· Four teams – Red Ant Racing, Buggyra ZM Racing, RD Signs - Siauliai racing team, and Atlas BX Motorsport – are split by just four points at the top of the GT European Trophy standings, with overall leaders Red Ant and Buggyra level-pegging on 108 points apiece.
· Things are similarly close in the GT3, GT3-AM and GT4 standings. Four points split the Saintéloc Junior Team and Herberth Motorsport in GT3, as it does between Buggyra ZM Racing and Atlas BX Motorsport in GT4. Only two points meanwhile separate CP Racing and E2P Racing at the top of the GT3-AM standings.
· Audi is currently three for three in the 24H SERIES so far in 2023, with Haas RT, the Saintéloc Junior Team and reigning GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX winning outright in Mugello, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza respectively with their R8 LMS GT3 EVO IIs.
· 11 different nationalities have been represented on the top step in the 24H SERIES so far in 2023, from as far afield as Antigua, South Korea, Hong Kong and the United States of America.
· The Circuito do Estoril is the 23rd different venue to host a round of the 24H SERIES since 2006, and the second in Portugal after the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Further details regarding the 2023 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE.