Germany’s Herberth Motorsport has won the first edition of the 24 Hours of COTA. Driven by twins Robert and Alfred Renauer, Daniel Allemann and Ralf Bohn, the Porsche 991 GT3 R led at the conclusion of the first part of the two-segment race, and was never headed over the final 10 hours. In doing so the team won Continents Cup of the International Endurance Series.
Indeed, the Porsche’s performance was so perfect that in a case of making one’s own luck, they managed to time their one long stop to replace brake pads to coincide with the day’s only Code 60 neutralization. That came as a result of a fire in the Audi R8 LMS of Car Collection Motorsport. It was the only incident of note. Second overall was the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, Luca Stolz and Abdulaziz Al Faisal. Keating was both the highest-placed American and Texan among the 200-plus drivers in the field. The semi-works Porsche team Manthey Racing was third, also a 991 GT3 R. A highlight of that team was a strong performance by young Norwegian phenom Dennis Olsen.
American teams did especially well in the class reserved for Porsche Cup cars. Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster won the category from sixth overall while second in class was the Long Beach-based Freem USA with a brand new Gen II Porsche 991 Cup car that had not turned a wheel before the meeting.
The race was part of the Dutch based Creventic organization’s 24 Hour Series, which frequently showcases new models. A pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4s were present but neither did well. One had turbo problems and the other didn’t start the second segment, its electrics having failed.
Dallas-based Classic BMW, regulars in the Pirelli World Challenge, stepped into endurance racing in the best way possible. Drivers Mike Vess, Jason Hart, Matt Travis, Max Fedler and John Capestro-Dubets won the very competitive M235i Racing Cup spec class. The Honda employee-run THR-W team persevered with their pair of Civic Si-R types, but finished well down the order. Among the many other American drivers in the mix, veteran privateer Jim Briody enjoyed his 90th start in a 24-hour race.
The second edition of this unique blend of GT and Touring car endurance racing is scheduled for November 16-18, 2018.