IMSA LS GROUP PERFORMANCE seals Hankook 24H BARCELONA win over Haas RT; Atlas BX Motorsport takes overall GT title

IMSA LS GROUP PERFORMANCE has secured overall victory at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA on its endurance racing return, overcoming a race-long scrap with new GT3 Teams’ champion Haas RT and three-time event winner Herberth Motorsport to do so.

Atlas BX Motorsport meanwhile has sealed overall GT European Trophy honours in Catalunya, in its first full 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season no less, after a faultless run in GT4.

The pole-sitting IMSA LS GROUP PERFORMANCE Porsche 911 GT3 R (#76, Julien Andlauer / Grégory Guilvert / Simon Tirman / Laurent Hurgon), which made its first start with CREVENTIC since 2017 this weekend, repeatedly swapped the overall lead with both the Haas RT Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#21, Miika Panu / Mathieu Detry / Max Hofer / Gavin Pickering / Kris Cools) and Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Ralf Bohn / Daniel Allemann / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer / Patrick Kolb) throughout the course of the event, but eventually stealing a march during the night. Even so, and despite leading 479 laps in total, 2010 24H DUBAI winner IMSA Performance was unable to rest on its laurels on Sunday morning, and collected the chequered flag just 97 seconds clear of Haas RT.

Such was the pace of the GT frontrunners, IMSA LS GROUP PERFORMANCE demolished the CREVENTIC-era distance record at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. Julien Andlauer completed the 725th lap of the 4.657km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the flag, 29 laps more than WTM by Rinaldi Racing managed en-route to overall victory last year.

“It’s been great, but it was a tough race,” Julien Andlauer explained to’s Diana Binks. “All the other teams were pushing so much during the whole race, so no mistakes were allowed! We were pretty strong during the night, but it was tough in the beginning, and at the end, the [Haas RT] Audi was very, very quick and we were not sure, with the strategy, where we would end up for the last stint. A lot happened during the last Code 60s too, so we really had to push for the last couple of hours to be safe. But it was a fantastic job by the whole crew. Everyone did great, and [the result] couldn’t be better.

“I have to say it’s a great achievement for the team, back in endurance racing after so many years. We made no mistakes, the pace was pretty good and for two of us, this was the first time at a 24-hour race, so this will be quite special for them. The whole team did great and it’s what they deserve.”

The overall runners-up spot for Haas RT was enough to secure the Antiguan team the GT3 Teams’ title in its first full season of motor racing.

A seemingly innocuous spin into the turn three gravel trap shortly before half-distance – while leading, no less – ended up causing significant problems for Herberth Motorsport when gravel blocked the Porsche’s vent pipe. Unable to take on fuel, the 991.2 GT3 R had to pit several times before the issue was cleared, by which point Herberth had lost three laps and dropped to 5th. Impressive pace during the night however meant the three-time Hankook 24H BARCELONA winner was able to recover and the final spot on the overall podium.
Outgoing GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX (#1, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Christer Jöns / Swen Herberger) overcame a puncture and an earlier moment in the gravel to finish 4th overall. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II led home the Car Collection Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 R (#23, Hash Patel / Ivan Jacoma / Alex Fontana / Yannick Mettler) on the road by just 14.9 seconds, although the latter was later docked one lap for failing fulfil the minimum ‘Am’ driving time.

CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis / Philip Quaife) had looked on course to finish 4th overall and claim GT3-Am class victory, but ended up retiring just 90 minutes from home when the Mercedes’ propshaft failed. Despite the disappointment, the American team was still able to secure the GT3-AM Teams’ title ahead of the E2P Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R (#90, Javier Morcillo / Pablo Burguera / Antonio Sainero), the Spanish team having lost several hours during the night to a drivetrain issue.

The Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#34, Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff / Ingo Vogler / Tim Vogler / Max Edelhoff / Wiggo Dalmo) was the beneficiary of CP Racing’s misfortune, securing its first GT3-AM class win of the season – and 6th overall in Barcelona – after a quiet run.

Despite several on-track spins, Juta Racing (#72, Aurimas Jablonskis / Vytenis Gulbinas / Audrius Navickas / Leonardas Dirzys / Algirdas Gelžinis) finished 2nd in GT3-Am – the Lithuanian team’s sister Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#71, Jonas Gelžinis / Jonas Karklys / Arunas Geciauskas / Yevgen Sokolovskiy / Bas Schouten) ended up finishing 9th overall after a delay in the turn five gravel. In a brutal bit of bad luck, CP Racing lost the final spot on the GT3-Am class podium on the very last lap to the Hofor-Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#11, Michael Kroll / Chantal Prinz / Alexander Prinz / Carsten Tilke / Manuel Rubow), the latter having survived its own trip into the turn 11 gravel during the night.

Early event leader WTM by Rinaldi Racing (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Torsten Kratz / Isaac Tutumlu Lopez) was sadly forced to retire during the 11th hour. Having already survived a collision with the NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT2, the Ferrari 296 GT3 was eventually felled by an electrical gremlin in the gearbox.
A sensational, race-long fight for 992 victory between Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Yannick Redant / Kobe de Breucker / Huub van Eijndhoven) and Red (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz) went down to the wire in Catalunya, with the latter eventually coming out on top by just 26.7 seconds after 24 full hours of racing. Barely half a second covered a sensational dice between Huub van Eijndhoven and Rik Breukers during the last 15 minutes, interrupted only, ironically, by a brief Code 60 caution period when Red Ant Racing’s sister Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#904, Brent Verheyen / Jimmy de Breucker / Marc Goossens Charles Dawson) had to be recovered at turn 13. Breukers eventually got the job done around the outside of turn 12.

Having escaped an early collision with Hofor Racing with only a broken steering arm, Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro / Papi Cosimo) remained well in the hunt for 992 victory throughout the night only to lose ground to its rivals during two Code 60 caution periods on Sunday morning. The Romanian-Italian team nevertheless banked a well-earned 3rd in-class.

The HRT Performance Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#967, Mauro Calamia / Amedeo Pampanini / Stefano Monaco / Nicolas Stürzinger) salvaged a tough weekend for the German team by finishing 4th in-class in Barcelona, its three sister entries having all retired during the night with engine-related issues.

Newly-crowned 992-Am Teams’ champion RPM Racing (#907, Tracy Krohn / Niclas Jönsson / Philip Hamprecht / Patrick Huisman) bounced back from an accident in Free Practice to take its third class win of the season in Catalunya. Having survived a collision with the CP Racing Mercedes earlier in the event, MRS GT-Racing (#988, Antti Rammo / Rolando Saca / Alex Herbst / Patrick Luciano Bay) had a similarly bizarre moment with the Herberth Motorsport Porsche in the closing three minutes of the event, but managed to hold on to 2nd in 992-Am. The Orchid Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#917, Laurent Misbach / Fabio Spirgi / Antonio Garzon / Alexandre Mottet) meanwhile managed to salvage 3rd in 992-Am after losing an hour to a failed wheel bracket during the night, and, more bizarrely, its front right wheel on-track on Sunday morning.

Having overcome “technical difficulties” during the first five hours of the event, which caused the British team to lose up to five seconds of pace per lap, Richardson Racing (#906, David Waddington / James Littlejohn / Ali Al-khalifa / Charles Hollings) battled through to finish 4th in 992-Am, a performance that earned the series debutant’s ‘Spirit of the Race’ award.
The Razoon – More Than Racing KTM GTX Bow (#714, Daniel Drexel / Christian Loimayr / Artur Chwist / Dominik Olbert) took a closely fought win in GTX, despite being ordered to pit when its rear wing started to collapse on Sunday morning. The Austrian team was followed over the line by the returning VDS Racing Adventures MARC II V8 (#758, Raphaël van der Straten Ponthoz / Nathan Vanspringel / José Close / Nicolas Hermans), which also hit trouble when its right rear wheel detached itself on-track.

Spain’s NM Racing Team (#715, Jörg Viebahn / Stéphane Perrin / Manel Lao Cornago / Viacheslav Gutak / Lluc Ibáñez), the outright winner of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2017, had fought back from an early collision with the WTM Racing Ferrari to be running 3rd in GTX on Sunday morning only to lose more time when the Mercedes-AMG GT2’s front right suspension failed with just 40 minutes left on the clock.

GTX title contender Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Miguel Moiola / Lucas Sugliano) thus secured the final step of the GTX podium, but was unable to overhaul the RD Signs – Siauliai racing team Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius / Jocius Deividas) for the GTX Teams’ title. The latter, an early class leader, ended up finishing 5th in-class when a gearbox sensor issue struck the Lamborghini early on Sunday morning.

Though bested in the championship standings, Vortex V8 could at least celebrate the unveil of its brand new ‘2.0’ lightweight sports car at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalinya this weekend.
Atlas BX Motorsports (#403, Steven Cho / Roelof Bruins / Jongkyum Kim / Taekeun Yang / Donggi Noh) sealed its fourth event win of 2023 in GT4, and its second Hankook 24H BARCELONA class win in succession, after an untroubled run for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Indeed, the South Korean team had extended its lead to 22 laps at the chequered flag after fuel pump issues struck the BMW M4 GT4 of its nearest its category rival – 2018 Overall TCE Teams’ champion Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#431, Martin Kroll / Maximilian Partl / Michael Mayer / Michael Bonk / Felix Partl) – shortly before half-distance.

One broken tie rod aside, Atlas BX’s nearest championship rival Buggyra Racing (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / David Vršecký / Adam Lacko / Jaroslav Janis / Jaromir Jirik) put a torrid start to the race – during which the Mercedes-AMG GT4 was plagued with fuel pump problems – aside to finish 3rd in-class. Impressively, in its first full season, the Czech-based, Emirati-entered team has finished every 24H SERIES event it has entered on the GT4 class podium.

Beset by overheating issues, the returning GSR Motorsport (#405, Ernesta Globytė / Rokas Kvedaras / Rolandas Salys / Mindaugas Liatukas / Aras Kvedaras) managed to go the distance and finish 4th in-class on its first series outing with the Ginetta G56 GT4.