The Red Camel Esports Ferrari 488 GT3 (#98, Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Jorn Zoetekouw) currently leads the inaugural ESPORTS 12H MONZA after the first four hours. The Dutch team, a TCE stable that steps into the GT3 category for the first time as part of the 12-hour iRacing event dedicated to 24H SERIES powered by Hankook competitors, had completed 128 virtual laps of the 5.793km Autodromo Nazionale di Monza come the fourth hour, and pulled just under 10 seconds clear of both eTeam WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos.
The event’s second leader, eTeam WRT One (#1, Mirko Bortolotti / Kenton Koch / Marcin Skrzypczak), started on the front row of the iRacing grid, and has now pulled close to a minute ahead of the sister eTeam WRT Two (#2, Kenneth Gulbrandsen / Fabrice Cornelis / Piotr Jagodzinski) in 3rd.
After running an alternate pit stop strategy, Optimum by SIMMSA Esports (#66, Christopher Zoechling / Lewis Goodway / Nick Foster / Ramez Azzam / Peter Klawitter) has intermittently led outright during the first four hours, and is currently the last GT3 entry on the lead lap in 4th overall, a big improvement over its 13th fastest lap in qualifying.
Five-time Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Black Falcon meanwhile – entered for the ESPORTS 12H MONZA as ‘E-Sport Team Black Falcon’ (#4, Yelmer Buurman / Dirk Müller / Colin Caresani / Tijmen van der Helm / Phillip Ellis) has worked its way up to 5th overall following a solid 10th fastest time in qualifying.
Having started 19th on the grid, the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#33, Adam Morgan / Dan Rowbottom / Chaz Cleland) is now running a very strong 6th, but will need a lengthy pit stop for repairs after making heavy contact with the barriers on the exit of Ascari.
ATLASBX MOTORSPORTS (#12, Steven Cho / Jaesung Park / Sekun Park / Gyumin Kim / Jongkyum Kim) lies 7th after four hours of racing. The South Korean entrant, which claimed ‘GT4’ class victory on its maiden 24H SERIES outing earlier this year in Dubai, led most of the opening hour of the race having qualified on the outright ESPORST 12H MONZA pole position. The Ferrari 488 GT3 lapped the 5.793km Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in 1m 47.188s, just a shade under three-tenths of a second faster than fellow front row starter, eTeam WRT One. However, the South Korean team’s hardwork early on was later undone by a long first pit stop and, on the cusp of the second hour, contact with the FACH AUTO TECH Audi heading into the first chicane.
ATLASBX now runs just ahead of the Sorg Rennsport eSports GT3 Ferrari 488 GT3 (#48, Maximilian Peckel / Niklas Schneider) and the Reiter Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#78, Florian Apazeller / Louis Nahser / Jan Reif), while Fun-M Motorsport with SIMMSA Esports (#69, Simon Klemund / Fabian A Hackl / Tim Brzeske / Julian Reinhart / Luca Trunk) rounds out the overall top 10. The latter is also the highest placed BMW Z4 GT3 runner.
Having taken ‘991’ pole position with a 1m 49.251s, the MRS GT RACING Porsche 991-II Cup (#989, Jukka Honkavuori / Gosia Rdest / Niclas Laubisch) continues to lead its class, albeit by just over 90 seconds after four hours of racing. The nearest rival to the German team, which took a class win at the first 24H SERIES event of the year in Dubai, is Raceunion 12H (#987, Alex Autumn / Florian Bodin / Felipe Fernández Laser / Marvin Otterbach), the latter of which rounds out the overall top 15 in the process. The second MRS GT RACING entry (#980, Glenn van Parijs / Ruben Van Buel / Gregory Vranckx / Mathias Detige) completes the 991-class podium positions thus far.
NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#991, Loek Hartog / Boudewijn Kuster), which qualified on the category’s front row and jumped into the lead after the green flag, has since slipped to 5th in-class.
DUWO by SimRC (#476, Marcel Fassbender / Tom Vallenthini / Charlie Collins / Mathias Schoger) leads an impressively tight, all-Porsche Cayman GT4 CS class after the opening four hours. The Luxembourg team qualified just one-tenth of a second shy of the category’s pole position, and now leads the first of two Sorg Rennsport eSports GT4 entries (#434, Philipp Hagnauer / Torsten Kratz / Nils Hartmann). Ironically, the latter had qualified 7th of the 10 class runners, while the sister Porsche Cayman GT4 CS (#433, Philipp Hagnauer / Torsten Kratz / Nils Hartmann), having qualified on GT4 pole position, has already retired from the event after a hefty collision.
The Munckhof Racing powered by No Fear Energy Drink Porsche Cayman GT4 CS (#421, Maik Barten / Davy Suffeleers / Tim Claessens / Bram Reniers / Wilco Hendriks) had been leading the class after a un-dramatic opening stint. Contact with a TCR Audi however, and the necessary repairs, have since dropped the reigning SP3-class 24H SERIES Europe champion back to 3rd in-class, just ahead of Heli-ABK (#464, Maxim Van Den Hove / Anthony Beeckman / Renzo Uylenbroeck).
The second of three DUWO by SimRC entries also leads the TCR class after the Luxembourg team’s Audi RS3 LMS (#176, Jürgen Frank / Felix Luding / Diogo C. Pinto) took category pole position by a commanding 0.661s. Among its closest rivals throughout the opening four hours has been Leipert eSports Yellow (#111, Sandro Petrozziello / Tobias Pechstädt / Christopher Maier / Niclas Heide) in a rare TCR outing for the reigning 24H SERIES Continents Overall GT Teams’ champion, and Ferry Monster Esports Grey (#198, Tony Vijfschaft / Sander van Haaren / Peter Hoevenaars / Willem Meijer). Having started on the front row, Sorg Rennsport eSports TCR (#133, Moritz Pecke / Marc Danisch) has now slipped back to 6th in-class after four hours, just behind fellow early contender, Autorama Motorport by Wolf-Power (#112, Pascal Hürlimann / Yannick Mettler / Miklas Born / Marlon Menden / Constantin Kletzer).
The inaugural ESPORTS 12H MONZA is set to run uninterrupted until midnight CEST tonight. Live streaming of the race in HD quality with commentary by radiolemans.com will be available on the series’ website. The streaming will also be uploaded on the series’ Youtube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found at www.24hseries.com.