With just over five weeks left to go before the 2023 Hankook 12H MUGELLO gets underway, almost 50 entries have already been registered for the ninth edition of the event on 25-26 March.
Hosted at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the Hankook 12H MUGELLO has traditionally opened the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook’s European season since the inaugural edition in 2014. Held at one of Italy’s most historic venues – the Autodromo’s track layout has remained largely unaltered since it first opened in 1973 – and commonly boasting close on-track action across myriad categories, it’s no surprise that 48 entrants representing 16 different nationalities and 10 car brands have thrown their hats in the ring thus far.
Having confirmed a full-season entry in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook for 2023, reigning Continents GT Trophy winner CP Racing will be among the headliners at this year’s Hankook 12H MUGELLO with its Mercedes-AMG GT3. As indeed will fellow 24H SERIES staple, Herberth Motorsport. The 2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion put a tumultuous 2022 campaign behind it with two, hard-fought runners-up spots at the Hankook 24H DUBAI and the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI in January, the latter less than 10 seconds shy of overall victory. Undoubtedly, Herberth Motorsport will want to add to an already impressive win tally at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, an endurance event it has won three times overall since 2015.
2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘European’ champion Hofor-Racing made its long-awaited 24H SERIES return at last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, and is set to make its first start at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO – an event at which the Swiss team already has three A6-Am class wins – since 2019 with its Mercedes-AMG GT3. Long-time rival Car Collection Motorsport also makes its series return in Mugello after a short hiatus, doing so with its tenured Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II.
Another Audi R8 to watch at CREVENTIC’s European season opener will be that of Haas RT. The brand-new, Antiguan team caused an immediate stir on its series debut in Dubai when it came through to finish 5th from 43rd on the grid, improving yet further on this by securing 3rd overall at the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI. Tellingly, Haas RT has made no secret of its desire for victory in the 24H SERIES.
After a similarly impressive showing in Dubai, at which the American squad finished inside the overall top 10 and on the GT3-P/A class podium, Heart of Racing continues its affiliation with SPS automotive performance in Tuscany with its Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Kessel Racing makes its return to the 24H SERIES, fittingly, on Ferrari’s home turf at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO. An official customer of the Prancing Horse since 1993, the Swiss team will field a 488 GT3.
Having finished in the overall top five on each of its outings – bar one – in 2022, Lithuania’s JUTA Racing has confirmed two first-generation Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVOs for its series return. After several introductory outings in 2022, the returning SAINTéLOC Junior Team, which has also entered an Audi R8 (second generation EVO) for Tuscany, goes into the first of its scheduled 24H SERIES events in 2023 eyeing a maiden podium finish.
Spain’s E2P Racing makes the jump from the Porsche Cup class to GT3 with its new Porsche 911 GT3 R, marking the reigning 991 Teams’ ‘European’ champion’s first start in CREVENTIC’s top tier. Finally, Centri Porsche Ticino, which has also confirmed an entry for the 992 class, and the debuting AKKODIS ASP Team and LMS RACE Engineering round out the GT3 entrants thus far with a Porsche 911 GT3 R, Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II respectively.
Red Ant Racing will make its first start in the 24H SERIES since last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, an event at which it sealed the 992 Teams’ ‘European’ championship with a fourth class win of the season. Fittingly, the Belgian team, which has confirmed two 992 GT3 Cups for this year’s European season opener, makes its return at Mugello, at which it took a maiden 992-Am win one year ago.
Another team keen to emulate past successes on 25-26 March will be Centri Porsche Ticino. The Swiss squad secured GT4 and SP3 class victory respectively on its previous two outings at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO in 2021 and 2019, and will hope to secure a hattrick in 2023.
Similarly, Willi Motorpsort by Ebimotors, which took its maiden series win in Mugello en-route to the 991 Teams’ title in 2021, will want to put to bed memories of an early exit at last year’s event in 2023. The Romanian-Italian team will be joined in the garage by a sister, standalone Ebimotors entrant. The 991 Teams’ champion of 2018 took a commanding 1-2 finish in ‘992’ at its home event last year, as well as a GT4-class podium in 2020.
24H SERIES stalwarts HRT Performance and Speed Lover are set to run two Porsche 992 GT3 Cups apiece at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO. The former, a multi-time Hankook 24H DUBAI class winner, recently completed an encouraging run in the Middle East with the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, while Speed Lover will hope for a successful weekend at the Autodromo, six years on from the Belgian team’s first 24H SERIES class win at the same venue.
The eponymous entry of Italy’s Enrico Fulgenzi is set to make only its second start with CREVENTIC – and its first since the COPPA FLORIO 12H SICILY in 2020 – at the Autodromo. The series returnee is set to be joined by the debuting Porsche Baltic, and Neuhofer Rennsport, the namesake team of Neuhofer father-and-son Markus and Felix, both of whom raced to 2nd in Abu Dhabi with Herberth Motorsport.
Finally, EST 1 Racing, rounds out the 922 class thus far on its long-awaited return to the 24H SERIES. The Estonian team last competed with CREVENTIC at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2017, less than a year after taking an SP3-GT4 class podium on its maiden outing at the Hankook 24H BRNO in 2016.
GT4 and GTX
Newly-crowned GTX Middle East Trophy winner Razoon–more than racing will look to continue its momentum into the European season with its KTM X-BOW GTX, the Austrian team having taken GTX class victory at both Dubai and Abu Dhabi back in January. Competition doesn’t get much tougher than 9und11 Racing, however. The German team, which has registered a Porsche 991.2 GT3 Cup MR for the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, took GTX class victory on each of its 24H SERIES outings to-date at Spa-Francorchamps in 2022 and the Hockenheimring in 2021.
Having fought tooth and nail for last year’s GTX Teams’ ‘European’ title, Vortex V8 and RD Signs – Sialiai racing team are set to continue their rivalry in Tuscany. The French independent has once again entered two of its bespoke, Vortex 1.0 lightweight sports cars, while its Lithuanian opponent will run a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo as it looks to secure its first class win since the 2021 Hankook 12H HUNGARY.
Across in GT4, Buggyra ZM Racing, which has confirmed a full European season entry with CREVENTIC, will hope to emulate its recent Hankook 6H ABU DHABI class win with its Mercedes-AMG GT4, while Abu Dhabi rival Simpson Motorsport will look to demonstrate the full potential of its new, second-generation BMW M4 GT4.
Alongside its GT3 entry, Car Collection Motorsport makes its return to CREVENTIC’s GT4 category with one of two new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MRs the German team acquired for the 2023 season. The German team last year ran a ‘Lionspeed’ Audi R8 LMS GT4 for three-time European Rallycross champion Andreas Bakkerud on his 24H SERIES debut.
Back in the 24H SERIES after a three-year hiatus, Britain’s Newbridge Motorsport rounds out the GT4 field thus far with an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4. Eclectic as ever, the GT4 category already represents four different car manufacturers across the four entrants confirmed so far.
Former Overall TCE Teams’ champion Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport, which took division honours in 2018, has once again confirmed two BMW M2 CS Racings for the TC class. Tellingly, the Swiss/German team will also be gunning for TCR honours at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO with a standalone Audi RS3 LMS TCR, marking the first time that ‘Bonk Motorsport’ has contested CREVENTIC’s TCR class since the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2020.
Among Bonk Motorsport’s nearest TCR rivals will be Denmark’s Holmgaard Motorsport, last year’s TCE division winner at the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS having confirmed its CUPRA León Competición TCR for the event.
Across in TCX, Sweden’s Primus Racing, which will run a BMW M2 CS Racing in Mugello, is, so far, set to go head-to-head with the returning SK Racing on the former’s 24H SERIES debut. The French team took a memorable TCX-class win at last year’s Hankook 12H MUGELLO just one month removed from its series debut with the Ligier JS2 R.