Another season of European endurance racing action kicks off for the first time in Monza on 27-28 March, so we figured we’d walk you through some facts and stats about the 24H SERIES Europe that you might not know.
Also, just a heads up, the below facts focus exclusively on the 24H SERIES Europe, and do not include results from the ‘Continents’ exclusive Hankook 24H DUBAI or Hankook 24H COTA USA. So, no angry letters please.
1. For the first time, one country hosts both the first and last round of the 24H SERIES Europe.
While the Dubai Autodrome and the Circuit of the Americas have bookended the 24H SERIES Continents every year since 2017, and Italy has hosted the season opener of the 24H SERIES Europe since 2014, the season finale has proven less of a staple, with four nations sharing the honours thus far.
Hitherto, and if you include the truncated three-race seasons in 2011 and 2013, Barcelona is the most ‘prolific’ season closer of the European season (said with all the quotation marks in the world) given that this has happened on three occasions in 2011, 2013 and 2019.
Discount seasons with three or less races though, and Brno and Spa-Francorchamps are level-pegging, both having held the 24H SERIES Europe season finale twice in 2015 and 2016, and 2017 and 2018 respectively. This leaves only Hungary (2014) in their rear view mirrors.
This year, it’s the turn of the returning Hankook 12H IMOLA, back on the calendar after a two-year hiatus. Interestingly, with the European season kicking off with the Hankook 12H MONZA, that means Italy is the first nation in 24H SERIES history to host not only the season opener AND the season finale, but the first to do so in the same calendar year.
2. In theory, more than 60,000 trees could be planted following this year’s 24H SERIES Europe.
Just a casual reminder that, in 2020, CREVENTIC has entered into a new partnership with Trees for the Future, the charitable organisation dating back to the late 1970 and whose ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ (BHAG) is to plant 500 million trees in 125,000 Forest Gardens by 2025. The team is off to a good start, having already planted over 170 million trees in more than 60 nations across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. You can read more about that HERE
In 2020, Trees will plant one tree for every lap completed by each competitor during the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook. Want that in context? Last year, 62,566 laps were completed by all competitors in the 24H SERIES Europe alone, including 10,276 laps in Mugello, 4,725 at Spa-Francorchamps, 6,587 in Brno, 16,491 in Portimão, and 24,487 in Barcelona.
Not a bad BHAG to try and surpass, is it?
3.Last year’s 24H SERIES Europe was statistically the closest yet in the GT division.
Don’t let Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha’s amazing run last year fool you: the 24H SERIES Europe championship fight in the GT division was actually a lot closer in 2019 than you might think.
In fact, even though Scuderia Praha scored an unprecedented four class wins on the bounce in A6 – now GT3 – the Czech team struggled with turbo issues in Barcelona, and could only finish 10th. With its nearest championship rival – the #93 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R – claiming the class win and finishing 4th overall, the difference between them in the 24H SERIES Europe standings was just ONE point in the end, 84 to 83. Even with the requisite pinch of salt that is ‘dropped results’, that’s the closest title chase we’ve seen in the 24H SERIES since the championship standings were introduced for 2015.
Before that, the previous closest title fight in the 24H SERIES Europe’s GT division was the two points difference that separated Hofor-Racing (120) from PROsport Performance (118) in 2017.
For completionists, three points split PROsport (106) and Car Collection Motorsport (103), and Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing (120) and Hofor-Kuepperracing (117) in 2018 and 2015 respectively, but only once has the championship fight been separated by more than that. In 2016, Leipert Motorsport beat Porsche Lorient Racing by a sizeable 12 points, 119 to 107.
4. MARC Cars Australia is the most successful GTX competitor in the 24H SERIES Europe…but only just.
Impressively, when thumbing through the records for ‘SPX’ and ‘SP2’, two teams are top of the pile when it comes to category wins in the new ‘GTX’ class in the 24H SERIES Europe.
The first, unsurprisingly, is Leipert Motorsport, the reigning SPX class champion in the 24H SERIES Continents. The German team has taken four SPX class wins in Europe since the category was introduced, including Barcelona and Brno in 2015, Barcelona again in 2018, and Portimão last year. That’s the same number as former 24H SERIES championship runner-up, MARC Cars Australia, the latter taking three wins on the bounce in 2015 in Mugello, Zandvoort and Paul Ricard, plus a win the year prior in Barcelona.
If we take this to count back though, MARC Cars Australia gets the nod, its cars having finished on either the SPX or SP2 class podium a whopping 13 times since 2014, compared with six for Leipert Motorsport (four wins plus a 2nd in-class at Portimão in 2018 and 3rd in-class at Mugello in 2016).
Interestingly, when it comes to ‘GTX’ – or equivalent – podiums, MARC Cars Australia’s closest challengers are SP2-class 24H SERIES Europe champion VDS Racing Adventures (11) and Speed Lover (10), which have claimed three and two class wins respectively.
Adds a whole new level of intrigue to this year’s 24H SERIES Europe, doesn’t it?!
5. Expect at least one ‘991’ team to win more than one race in 2020.
Did you know that, every year since 2014, the ultra competitive ‘991’ class has had at least one repeat winner during the course of the year?
Ruffier Racing, now IDEC SPORT RACING, got the ball rolling in 2014 with victories in Mugello and Barcelona. One year later, the French team went one better, repeating its wins at Mugello and Barcelona and adding one more, fittingly, at Paul Ricard. Despite missing both Zandvoort and Brno, Ruffier Racing nevertheless collected that year’s ‘997’ crown.
In 2016, it was the turn of HRT Performance, which scored back-to-back wins at Zandvoort and Paul Ricard, and pipped German contemporaries MRS GT-Racing to the ‘991’ class Teams’ Championship. Few have done better than PROsport Performance though, Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster taking four wins on the bounce at Mugello, the Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard (with Andy Pilgrim) and Imola before securing the ‘991’ class 24H SERIES Europe crowns for the team and drivers. So impressive was the run that PROsport finished just two points adrift of eventual champion Hofor-Racing in the overall standings.
In 2018, EBIMOTORS got its maiden 24H SERIES campaign off to a great start with class victory first time out in Navarra, equalling that ‘991’ class win in Imola (how apropos) and Spa-Francorchamps. Bad luck at both Portimão and Barcelona though meant the Italian team fell just short of Porsche Lorient Racing in the standings.
Finally, Speed Lover last year took ‘991’ class wins at both Brno and Barcelona, though ironically, Porsche Lorient Racing once again came out on top in the category’s standings in the 24H SERIES Europe.
Basically, expect another multi-winner in 2020.
6. Across 20 races, there has only been three repeat GT4 winners in the 24H SERIES Europe.
In 2018, after a year spent as part of the collaborative ‘SP3-GT4’ category, ‘GT4’ was established as a stand-alone class for the 2018 24H SERIES in the GT division. And it’s no hyperbole to say the competition couldn’t have been closer.
Across those three seasons – yes, we are including ‘SP3-GT4’ in this, and yes, that does include the five-round TCE-only series run in 2017 – only Fox Motorsport, Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport and NM Racing Team have taken more than one win in the category.
The former, during its maiden 24H SERIES Europe campaign no less, secured wins at both Portimão and Barcelona, while the latter also won at Portimão, plus Mugello, one year later. NM Racing Team meanwhile has two wins at Barcelona to its name in 2018 and the TCE-only event in 2017.
If you’re curious to know who the remaining ‘(SP3-)GT4’ winners have been since 2017, they include – deep breath – Nova Race (Mugello ’17), Besalast Racing (Red Bull Ring ’17), track-club (Paul Ricard ‘17), JR Motorsport (Imola ‘17), Parkalgar Racing Team (Portimão ’17), QSR Racingschool (Navarra ‘18), Allied Racing (Imola ‘18), RTR Projects (Brno ‘19) and Orchid Racing Team (Barcelona ‘19).
For the completionists out there, Moss Motorsport, CWS, Semspeed, and the UweAlzen Automotive-run Mercedes-AMG Testteam also took SP3-GT4 wins in the TCE-only 24H SERIES run in 2017 at Silverstone, Magny-Cours, Misano, and Spa-Francorchamps.
7. Every year, at least one TCR team has taken back-to-back wins in the 24H SERIES Europe.
We head across to the TCE division now, and while Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing enjoyed a commanding performance last year, securing four wins from seven outings in the 24H SERIES. On top of that, the new Overall TCE Teams’ champion also became only the third TCR team to record consecutive wins in the 24H SERIES Europe since the category arrived four years ago, doing so in Brno and Portimão.
One year earlier, Bas Koeten Racing put an unusual dry-spell to bed with victory at Imola, following that up with another TCR win one round later at Portimão. Okay, yes, ‘LMS Racing’ and ‘Kawasaki Racing’ had their names over the garage doors alongside Koeten’s, but the same team was working behind the scenes on both occasions, so it counts!
Prior to that, MONLAU COMPETICION took TCR honours in the TCE-only Hankook 12H MAGNY-COURS and Hankook 24H MISANO in 2017 en-route to the TCR-class championship, and one year earlier, Lebanon’s Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing also took back-to-back wins at Paul Ricard and Barcelona in 2016, ending the year with the Overall Teams’ championship in the 24H SERIES.
Again, be on the look out for more of the same in 2020.
8. TCX – 2019 was the second time in three seasons that no manufacturer won more than once in ‘TCX’ in the 24H SERIES Europe.
Okay, strap in, this one gets a little complicated.
When Amag First Centri Porsche Ticino took its first class win in only its second event entry in the 24H SERIES in 2019, the Italian team probably didn’t know that its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport would be the first in an unusual chain. One round after that win in Mugello, Portimão’s new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 [LINK. https://www.24hseries.com/news/2019/24h-on-the-grid-with-aston-martin-vantage-gt4] also took its first class win in Spa-Francorchamps, a result swiftly followed by Team ABBA Racing’s BMW M3 V8 GTR in Brno and RTR Project’s KTM X-BOW in Barcelona.
Four races. Four teams. Four manufacturers.
That’s a run we haven’t seen in the TCE division in Europe since 2017, when Nova Race’s Ginetta G55 won in Mugello, a result emulated soon after by Besaplast Racing’s Audi TT RS (Red Bull Ring), track-club’s Lotus Evora GT4 (Paul Ricard), JR Motorsport’s BMW 320si E90 WTCC (Imola), and Parkalgar Racing Team’s Honda Civic Type-R (Portimão).
Team ABBA Racing’s class win in Brno proved especially important for BMW. Since TCE’s introduction for 2016, the German marque has scored at least one win in ‘TCX’ – formerly SP3 – and also holds the record for most class wins at five. Ginetta though isn’t far behind, the G55 boasting four wins in the 24H SERIES Europe.
*You can check out the full 24H SERIES Europe standings from 2019 HERE
and the calendar for 2020 HERE