NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing has secured an historic win at the inaugural Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING by becoming the first-ever Porsche 911 Cup competitor to win a 24H SERIES race outright.
The NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing Porsche 911-II Cup (#991, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Marcel van Berlo) emerged as one of two 911 Cup cars in contention for overall victory after myriad issues struck both GT3 runners. After a spirited battle with its nearest rival – the DUWO Racing Porsche 991-II Cup (#909, Andrey Mukovoz / Sergey Peregudov / Stanislav Sidoruk) – Harry Hilders eventually brought the NKPP Porsche home to collect both the 991-class win and outright victory at the Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING.
The race winner completed 470 laps of the 4.574km Hockenheimring en-route to the chequered flag, one more than 2nd placed DUWO Racing, which needed a splash-and-dash for fuel on the penultimate lap.
The result marks the first time a Porsche Cup car has ever taken an outright win in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook. The previous best result was 2nd overall, which Motorsport Services managed with its Porsche 997 Cup at the Hankook 12H HUNGARY in 2013.
The Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING took a dramatic turn shortly before three-quarter distance when long-time race leader CP Racing went off at Sachs corner. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) had already pulled six laps clear of the chasing pack by this point, but lost more than 45 minutes in the pits with front end damage. Though the Mercedes eventually re-joined in 3rd place, and was catching the leaders by more than 4s per lap, issues with the radiator meant CP Racing lost another 35 minutes in the pits later on. This ultimately dropped the GT3 class winner to 7th overall at the flag and 4th in the GT division.
Issues similarly befell the Equipe Verschuur Renault R.S.01 GT3 (#9, Harrie Kolen / Erik van Loon / Mike Verschuur), which took outright pole position for the event on Friday, led for much of the opening four hours on Saturday, and was setting the pace after half distance as well. Two suspected driveshaft failures though – one on Saturday, one today – meant the Dutch team eventually retired from the event.
The final 991-class entrant – the Speed Lover Porsche 991-II Cup (#978, Eric Mouez / Jeroen Kreeft / Rolf Lietart / Dominique Bastien) – also suffered problems, losing much of its pace after making heavy contact with the barriers on Saturday afternoon. That, plus a lengthy pit stop for repairs on Friday, meant the Belgian team could do no better than 3rd in-class. The teams’ third category podium in succession though means Speed Lover does move to the top of the 24H SERIES Europe Overall GT Teams’ standings, four points clear of nearest rival Herberth Motorsport.
After a solid run, the Team Avia Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 (#451, Olaf Meyer / Björn Simon / Heiko Eichenberg / José Manuel de los Milagros) came home 6th overall at the Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING. The result netted the German team not only 3rd in the GT division but also a win in the GT4 class, its first of the season.
Its nearest rival – the PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#401, Nico Verdonck / Rodrigue Gillion / Tom Heeren) – had good pace earlier in the day but lost almost an hour in the pits when its right rear assembly collapsed, causing a puncture and a spin on the exit of Sachs. The Aston nevertheless collected 2nd in-class and 5th in the GT division.