Herberth Motorsport has become the first three-time winner of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO after a flawless run, the team’s #91 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Ralf Bohn / Daniel Allemann / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer started ‘part two’ of the 12-hour event from pole position, and though the Porsche dropped to 4th during the opening pit stop scramble on Saturday morning, the team played its pit strategy to perfection to eke out a three-lap lead at the chequered flag. Robert Renauer drove the Porsche across the line, completing 335 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Following outright wins in 2015 and 2020, Herberth Motorsport’s victory marks the first time a GT team has taken more than two wins at the Hankook 12H Mugello.
“We had built enough of a gap to the cars behind that it was easy to bring [the Porsche] home, and it was fun to do the burnout in the pitlane! It was a brilliant race for us: brilliant pit stops; no mistakes; really good teamwork; and we were confident we had enough fuel for another 10 minutes. I want to thank all of my guys. This is a great result!”
In a thrilling end to the race, the returning MiddleCap racing with Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Josef Kral / Miroslav Výboh / Matúš Výboh) secured 2nd place in the closing 30 minutes when Matúš Výboh made an audacious move around the outside of Ivan Jacoma in the Dinamic Porsche 991 GT3 R (#7, Roberto Pampanini / Mauro Calamia / Ivan Jacoma) at turn one. In the end, Scuderia Praha, a two-time winner of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, secured its first 24H Series podium finish since 2019 by just 10 seconds.
In an equally close battle, Pierre Kaffer in the Rutronik Racing by TECE Audi R8 LMS GT3 (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) and Manuel Lauck in the Haegeli by T2 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#66, Pieder Decurtins / Manuel Lauck / Marc Basseng) went nose-to-nose in the closing stages. The Porsche managed to hold on to 5th place, and the pair were split by less than five seconds at the flag. Up ahead, the second Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#92, Jürgen Häring / ”Bobby Gonzales” / Stefan Aust / Marco Seefried) finished 4th.
Despite making contact with the GTX-entered Vortex 1.0 early on, the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) completed a solid run to finish 7th overall at Mugello, just ahead of the Hella Pagid – racing one Ferrari 488 GT3 (#30, Axel Sartingen / Daniel Schwerfeld / Francesco Lopez / Daniele Di Amato). The Equipe Verschuur Renault RS01 meanwhile (#9, Harrie Kolen / Erik van Loon / Mike Verschuur) secured a commanding pole position on Friday, but could only salvage 9th at the flag after losing time to an ABS sensor failure and a trip into the gravel trap at half-distance.
The Reiter Engineering KTM X-BOW GTX (#724, Eike Angermayr / Nicolai Elghanayan / Horst Felbermayr Jr. / Mads Siljehaug) finished 10th overall on the road and took a commanding win in what proved to be a troubled GTX category.
The Siauliai – RD Signs racing team Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Egidijus Gutaravicius / Ramunas Capkauskas / Paulius Paskevicius) spent close to an hour in the pits after losing drive on the start-finish straight, ironically just a few metres up from where the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Ray Calvin / Gabriele Rindone / Matthias Hoffsümmer) ended its race against the tyre wall. Work also began on a full engine change for the Lotus PB Racing Lotus Exige V6 Cup R (#726, Stefano D’Aste / Vito Utzieri / Daniel Grimaldi / Massimo Abbati) before the team formally retired the entry.
Consequently, and despite handling issues hindering both 1.0 sports cars, Vortex V8 rounded out the GTX podium with its #712 (Philippe Bonnel / Pierre Fontaine / Nicolas Nobs) and #701 entries (Lionel Amrouche / Karen Gaillard / Boris Gimond).
The Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911-II Cup (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) eventually came out on top of an afternoon-long battle with JUTA Racing (#910, Julius Adomavičius / Andrius Gelžinis / Jonas Gelžinis) for the 991-class win. Willi Motorsport had been in control of the class before a trip into the gravel brought its rival back into play at half-distance. Slick pit work and consistently fast lap times meant the Romanian team later re-extended its advantage to three laps.
Broken steering eliminated former Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Stadler Motorsport (#920, Paul Kasper / Ramon Werner / Marc Arn / Jan Klingelnberg), allowing PROFILDOORS by Huber Racing (#924, Merabi Mekvabishvili / Nikolai Gadetskii / Andreas Corradina) to take the final class podium spot after a clean run.
The Centri Porsche Ticino Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR (#412, Christian de Kant / Thomas Herbst / Antonio Spavone / Valerio Presezzi / Alessandro Fogliani) took a comfortable win in the GT4 class after problems struck the ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#438, Samantha Tan / Chandler Hull / Jon Miller). The Canadian team lost time early on Friday to a puncture, and was forced to work overnight to repair damage caused by a failed wheel hub.
Despite its difficult race, 2nd in-class was still enough to vault ST Racing to the top of the GT Division standings, five points clear of Vortex V8.
The Team Zakspeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#13, Sergey Stolyarov / Evgeny Kireev / Victor Shaytar) and the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhof / Gustav Edelhof / Elmar Grimm) were the most high-profile retirements in the GT3 field. The pair made heavy contact during the opening laps on Friday, and the resultant suspension and chassis damage led to the Audis’ retirement shortly afterwards. The Zakspeed Mercedes managed just 49 laps on Saturday before it too was retired.
Red Camel-Jordans.nl emerged victorious at the Hankook 12H Mugello after a race-long battle with seasoned TCE rivals NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing and AC Motorsport.
All three began ‘part two’ of the 12-hour event on the same lap on Saturday morning, and the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers) was quickly on a charge going door handle-to-door handle with both the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry) and the NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#175, Harry Hilders / Gijs Bessem) throughout the opening hour. Having played its pit strategy to perfection during multiple Code 60 caution periods, the CUPRA eventually pulled two laps clear of its rivals en-route to its first TCE win in the 24H Series since last year’s Hankook 12H MONZA.
Rik Breukers completed 310 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello en-route to the chequered flag.
“I think the Code 60s were quite lucky for us,” Rik Breukers explains to radiolemans.com’s Ben Constanduros. “In the first half of the race, everyone had exactly the same strategy and the top three were always within 20 seconds of each other. So it was a really exciting race and in the end, our strategy worked out really well. We got a nice lead, and we just had to bring it home. TCR in general is very competitive in the 24H SERIES, so it’s fun to really fight for the victory. If you make one mistake, you’re immediately done!”
An unluckily timed Code 60 caution period ultimately meant NKPP Racing leapfrogged AC Motorsport for 2nd place during the final TCR pit stops, though the pair were still split by just 17 seconds at the chequered flag.
The Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#1, Marcus Menden / Walter Reho / Emil Heyerdahl / Constantin Kletzer) had looked set to secure 4th overall in TCE after a tough weekend, only for the Volkswagen to suffer a broken suspension strut inside the final 15 minutes. The delay thus handed 4th to the RC2 Junior Team by Cabra Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR (#108, Rubén Fernández / Victor Fernández / Felipe Fernández), a solid result on the car’s maiden series outing.
Reigning 991-class champion Speed Lover (#206, Kurt Hensen / Philippe Wils) took a well-deserved win on its maiden run in TCX with the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS, a faultless showing also netting the Belgian team 6th overall in the TCE division just ahead of the JUTA Racing junior CUPRA TCR (#121, Audrius Navickas / Aurimas Jablonskis / Nerijus Baliunas / Algirdas Gelžinis / Ignas Gelžinis).
Despite multiple issues throughout the weekend, the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Jean-Francois Brunot / James Kell) secured 2nd in-class ahead of the equally luckless JR Motorsport BMW E46 GTR (#202, Bas Schouten / Coos Schouten / Dirk Schouten), the latter of which was plagued with suspension and handling issues for most of Friday.
Coupled with its 2nd place in class at January’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, this result now puts CWS Engineering at the head of the TCE division standings, albeit just one point clear of AC Motorsport.
The sister JR Motorsport BMW M3 F80 (#203, Ted van Vliet / Ward Sluys / Sandra van der Sloot) retired in dramatic fashion when its carbon fibre bonnet split in half on the run down into turn one, the Lotus PB Racing Lotus Elise Cup PB-R (#205, Denis Bonvini / Luca Flaccadori / Franco Nespoli / Maurizio Fortina / Alberto Grisi) following the BMW into retirement a few laps later after a race-long battle with suspected engine and electrical problems.
After a difficult race that also included a collision with the Equipe Verschuur Renault, the Elite Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR DSG (#147, Simone Patrinicola / Pierluigi Alessandri / Gianvito Rossi) eventually rounded out the top 10 in TCE on the Italian team’s series debut.