Next week (30 August-1 September), the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya will be the venue for the 21st running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – Trofeu Fermí Velez. The race will be the fifth and final round of the 24H SERIES Europe and will therefore bring the decision in the battle for the various titles. Moreover, the event at the famous Spanish Grand Prix circuit counts towards the 24H SERIES Continents. Excitement is guaranteed with a packed field of 31 cars for the GT SERIES and 18 cars for the TCE SERIES. Each division will have a separate starting group and its own prize-giving ceremony.
Opened in 1991, the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya has hosted many prestigious international events, from the cycling competitions for the 1992 Summer Olympics up to Formula 1 and MotoGP world championship rounds. The 24-hour race is locally also known as Trofeu Fermí Velez, named after Fermin Velez, a successful Spanish endurance race driver who succumbed to cancer in 2003. The event started as a touring car race, but since 2011, as Dutch agency CREVENTIC came on board to help the circuit and the RACC with the promotion, GT cars have been admitted as well and its international profile was raised significantly. The Spanish event is now considered as one of the leading international 24-hour races.
This year’s race again promises to be a thrilling one. The big question is whether Czech Ferrari team Bohemia Energy Racing with Scuderia Praha can continue its winning streak, with four wins from the four rounds held in the 24H SERIES Europe so far. To do so, the team will be facing tough competition in the A6 class. German Porsche team Herberth Motorsport, last year’s race winners in Barcelona and also successful in 2016, will be aiming for its first victory of the year. Expectations are also high for UAE-based team GPX Racing, highly motivated after its overall win in the 24-hour race at Spa. A newcomer in the 24H SERIES is German team Frikadelli Racing, also with a Porsche, a well-known quantity at the Nürburgring, but now at a different venue. Other entries in the A6 class are representing Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Renault.
In the SPX class, the new KTM GTX will be making its debut with two entries by Austrian team True Racing. They will be up against a Vortex, a MARC II V8 and a Porsche 911 Cup MR. The Ligier JS2 R will also be making its endurance racing debut, French team Nordschleife Racing will be running it in the SP4 class. The Porsche 991 Cup class has seven entries. The GT4 class with an Aston Martin, two BMWs and a Porsche rounds out the GT SERIES field.
Twelve TCR cars lead the TCE segment. Here, Audi, CUPRA, Peugeot, SEAT and Volkswagen are all represented by customer teams. Of course, the race has particular prestige for CUPRA and SEAT teams as the circuit is really close to the brand’s headquarters in Martorell. Here, Swiss Volkswagen team Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing has already racked up four wins in the TCE SERIES this year and will be aiming at further success in Barcelona following its most recent win in the Portimao 24 Hours last month. The SP3 class includes a BMW, a Ginetta and a Porsche. Two BMWs and a Honda in the A3 class round out the TCE SERIES field.
There are opportunities for optional private testing on Thursday, 29 August and on Friday morning, 30 August. Free practice is scheduled from 13.00-14.00 hrs, followed by qualifying for the TCE SERIES from 16.45-17.30 hrs and for the GT SERIES from 17.45-18.30 hrs. Night practice runs from 21.00-22.30 hrs. The starting grid procedure for the Hankook 24H BARCELONA gets underway on Saturday, 31 August, at 11.15 hrs. The race starts at noon and ends at the same time on Sunday, 1 September, followed by the prize-giving ceremony. After the race, there will be a championship party where all the title winners of the 24H SERIES Europe will be honoured.
The GT4 South European Series is the official support category for the event with two races of 50 minutes each, one on Friday evening and one on Saturday morning. There will be plenty of activities for the public as well with a DJ and a chill-out zone in the paddock as well as a 24-hour sim race running at the same time as the race at the circuit.
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba