24H Series

IMSA LS Group Performance wins on endurance return

24H Series
17 Sep. 2023 • 15:50
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.
Photo : 24H Series

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 radiolemans.com’sDiana 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 11thhour. 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.




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