More than 50 entries, including an event record holder and four outright Hankook 24H DUBAI winners, have already been registered for this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, the final European round of the 2023 24H SERIES powered by Hankook.
The Hankook 24H BARCELONA, also credited as the ‘Trofeo Fermí Vélez’ in honour of the late two-time Sebring 12 Hours winner, is the most tenured event on CREVENTIC’s calendar, having been held on all but two occasions every year since 1998. In its traditional September slot, the 24-hour endurance race will close the books on CREVENTIC’s European season as well as one of the closest fights for the overall GT championships in recent memory.
Going into the season finale, South Korea’s Atlas BX Motorsport and Lithuania’s RD Signs – Siauliai racing team are level-pegging at the top of the GT European Trophy standings, with Buggyra ZM Racing and Red Ant Racing only two and eight points further back respectively. Alongside the title fight, this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, set to be held for the 24th time, features an impressive 15-car GT3 field – among which will be four overall Hankook 24H DUBAI winners – representing five (of the event’s 11) brands, including Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Mercedes-AMG and the return of Aston Martin.
Despite its tough weekend in Estoril, Hankook 12H MUGELLO winner Haas RT (#21) goes into the European finale with its Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II at the head of the GT3 Teams’ championship standings. Nearest title rival, and reigning GT Continents Trophy winner, CP Racing (#85) will also be in action in Barcelona, having pulled to within two points of its Antiguan rival at the Hankook 12H ESTORIL with its Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Fittingly, the American team will also be vying for GT3-AM Teams’ honours in Barcelona with E2P Racing (#90). The Spanish team took the third consecutive top five finish of its maiden GT3 season with the Porsche 991.2 GT3 R in Estoril, and goes into its home event just eight points behind CP Racing. Fittingly, E2P Racing secured 991 Teams’ honours at the same event in 2022.
Reigning GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX (#1) ushered itself back into championship contention with an outright win in Monza and an overall runners-up spot last time out in Estoril. The German team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II now lies just four points adrift of Haas RT in the GT3 Teams’ standings.
Fresh from a commanding performance at the recent Hankook 12H ESTORIL, WTM by Rinaldi Racing (#22) has entered its brand-new Ferrari 296 GT3 for a second weekend of 24H SERIES competition, appropriately, at the same event at which the German team took its maiden series win last year. WTM will be joined by fellow Ferrari team Kessel Racing (#8) on the Barcelona grid. The Italian outfit, which secured an outright podium in Estoril, has also registered its own 296 GT3 for the Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
Several outright Hankook 24H DUBAI GT winners have registered entries for this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA. 2009 24H DUBAI winner Land Motorsport (#34) made its series return after a seven-year hiatus in Mugello with its Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II, and will be hoping for a return to the podium. IMSA Performance (#76) meanwhile is set to make its first start with CREVENTIC since winning the 24H DUBAI in 2010, doing so with a 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Car Collection Motorsport, winner of the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2019, will also make its return in Barcelona. The series staple took GT3-Am victory on its most recent outing at last year’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, and has entered both its tenured Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#3) and its new Porsche 992 GT3 R (#23) for the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, the latter as ‘Car Collection’ as part of the German team’s new customer deal with Porsche.
The fourth and final Hankook 24H DUBAI GT winner on the grid – Herberth Motorsport (#91) – will make its second official series start with its new Porsche 992 GT3 R. Having sealed runners-up spots in Abu Dhabi, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, the 2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion will be looking to take its first win of the season at the event it won outright in 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Like Herberth, 2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Europe’ champion Hofor-Racing (#11) also makes its 24H SERIES return in Catalonia. Winner of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA outright in 2013, the Swiss team will hope for a similarly strong run this year with its Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Juta Racing completes the Audi GT3 contingent already confirmed for Barcelona. The Lithuanian team, an outright podium finisher in Hockenheim last year, has entered first (#72) and second generation (#71) examples of the R8 LMS GT3 EVO.
Bullitt Racing (#66) completes the GT3 field thus far. The Spanish team, a long-time GT4 European Series competitor, is set to make its 24H SERIES debut on home soil, and will do so with the sole Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 on the grid.
In what has been an impressively tight fight for category honours, reigning 992 Teams’ Red Ant Racing (#903) holds a six-point advantage over Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955) in this year’s overall 992 standings. The Belgian team took its first win of the season in Monza, and has finished every other round this season on the podium. Romania-Italy’s Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors meanwhile – the 2021 991 Teams’ champion as well as CREVENTIC’s reigning 992 Middle East Trophy winner – was victorious in both Mugello and Estoril, and has form in Barcelona after taking 991-class victories in both 2021 and 2022.
To aid its championship chances in Barcelona (site of the team’s 992 Teams’ title triumph last year), Red Ant Racing has entered its sister #904 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup for the event.
Newly crowned 992-Am Teams’ champion RPM Racing (#907) will hope to secure its third class win of the season at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. Easier said than done of course, as series staple HRT Performance, which has entered two Porsche 992 GT3 Cups for the event (#928 and #967), will look to emulate its storming 992 win earlier this year at Spa-Francorchamps.
Series staple Speedlover (#978) and Switzerland’s Orchid Racing Team (#910) have also entered the 992 class for this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, an event at which, interestingly, both teams secured class wins in 2019: Belgium’s Speedlover was victorious in the 991 class, while Orchid Racing took GT4 class honours.
Fellow event class winner DUWO Racing, which took back-to-back CUP1 wins in 2016 and 2017, is back in 992 competition in a collaborative entry with SebLajoux Racing (#908 and #910). The French-Luxembourg alliance has entered two Porsche 992 GT3 Cups for, what will be, its first series start since finishing 2nd in 992-Am last year in Barcelona. Multi-time Hankook 24H DUBAI class winner MRS GT-Racing (#988) is similarly set to make its 24H SERIES return.
Porsche Almeras (#905) and Porsche Baltic (#992) round out the 992 entries thus far, the latter with two 24H SERIES finishes already to its name in 2023.
GT4 and GTX
One of the most intense fights of the season is set to go down to the wire in Catalonia as Atlas BX Motorsport and Buggyra ZM Racing vie for GT4 Teams’ honours.
Atlas BX Motorsport (#403), which also won the GT4 class at last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, took its third and fourth class wins of the season in Estoril, and now leads Buggyra ZM Racing (#416) by just two points after a phenomenally consistent run from the Emirati-entered series newcomer. Both teams will run Mercedes-AMG GT4s.
Outgoing GT4 Teams’ ‘Europe’ champion Team ACP – Tangerine Associates (#421) will be on the grid with its first-generation BMW M4 GT4, hoping to replicate its 2nd in-class earlier this year at Monza. BMW’s second gen ‘G82’ M4 meanwhile will be represented on the Barcelona grid by four other teams…
Long-time TCR competitor Lestrup Racing Team (#420) is set to make its GT4 debut in the 24H SERIES, with Britain’s Simpson Motorsport (#438) likely to be among its toughest rivals. 2018 Overall TCE Teams’ champion Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport, already a three-time class winner in Barcelona, returns to the category in which it secured GT4 honours in 2019 with two BMW M4 GT4s (#432 and #433). Finally, the Czech Republic’s Senkyr Motorsport (#444) will hope to improve upon a tough race in Barcelona last year.
Like Lestrup Racing, GSR Motorsport (#405) makes the jump from TCR to GT4 in Barcelona, the Lithuanian team doing so with the only Ginetta G56 GT4 on the grid. Spain’s PCR Sport (#418) rounds out the GT4 field thus far with its Mercedes-AMG GT4, and will hope to put a troubled weekend in Estoril behind it in Barcelona.
Class standings leader RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720) headlines the GTX field at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. After a difficult start to the season, the Lithuanian team’s Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo secured three consecutive wins across the Monza and Estoril weekends, and now leads Vortex V8 by 18 points heading into the European season finale. In a bid to close the gap, Hankook 12H MUGELLO class winner Vortex has registered two of its bespoke ‘1.0’ lightweight sports cars (#701 and #702) for the Spanish finale.
2018 SP2 Teams’ champion VDS Racing Adventures (#758) rounds out the GTX field so far with one of the grid’s most charismatic challengers, the fiery MARC II V8. Set to be among the frontrunners, the Belgian team got its 24H SERIES return off to a flying start earlier this year with a class win at the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS.
TCR and TCX
Three-time Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing (#121) is set to make its 24H SERIES return at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – at which the Swiss team secured TCE pole last year and won in-class in 2021 – for its first start since Spa with the Audi RS 3 LMS TCR. Long-time rival, and fellow Audi runner, AC Motorsport (#188) similarly returns to the 24H SERIES grid in Catalonia. Apt, as the Belgian team made its first start with CREVENTIC at the same event in 2017.
TCR Teams’ standings leader Holmgaard Motorsport (#102) will make its return at Barcelona, and hopes to put the title out of reach with a third class win of 2023 with its CUPRA Leon Competición TCR.
Two former Hankook 24H BARCELONA class winners round out the TCR field so far. Bas Koeten Racing (#125), together with TOPCAR Sport, took overall TCE victory at the event in 2019, and looks to do so again with its CUPRA TCR DSG in September. Similarly, Monlau Motorsport (#159), the 24H SERIES’ 2017 TCR Teams’ champion, guided Thailand’s BBR to victory last year and collaborated with CUPRA Racing’s official (and victorious) TCR entry in 2018. The Spanish team will hope to secure its event hattrick in 2023 with a CUPRA Leon Competición TCR.
TCX could be a two-way battle between Sorg Rennsport (#227) and Roma Racing by BMW Team Van Der Horst (#245). The former, the Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion of 2020, has entered a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS for its series return, while Italy’s Roma Racing and BMW customer outfit Team Van Der Horst will team up for only their second 24H SERIES outing for the BMW M2 CS Racing.