It only took two races for Samantha Tan Racing to score the first victory for the new BMW M4 GT3 worldwide, as the team won overall at the 24H Series 12 Hour race at the Mugello circuit in Italy. The team gave the M4 GT3 its competitive debut in mid-January at the 24-hour race at Dubai and finished fifth in the GT3 Pro-Am class. They not only won their class at Mugello this past weekend, but also finished first overall among all GT3 entries, with drivers Samantha Tan, Nick Wittmer, and Bryson Morris at the controls.
The Mugello race was unique in that the twelve hours of racing was split between 5.5 hours of racing on Saturday and 6.5 hours on Sunday. The team started the M4 GT3 second overall after posting the second-fastest times in each of three qualifying sessions, just behind the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. The team kept the M4 GT3 at the front of the field in the race on Saturday and finished the first 5.5-hour segment in first position overall.
Nick Wittmer started the M4 GT3 in first position for the final 6.5 hours of racing on Sunday (since he had finished in that position on Saturday) but had to come in for a fuel stop after just a few laps, which dropped him to fifth. There was some questioning by the commentators if the fuel strategy would come back to bite them, but Wittmer quickly worked his way back up into second and eventually first, and the team had a trouble-free run to first place and the victory. “To be the first M4 GT3 in history to win overall, I’m speechless,” said Samantha Tan on social media after the race. “I’m so incredibly proud of everyone on this team – this was such a well-deserved win!”
Another BMW won the GT4 class, with the Team ACP-Tangerine Associates by Veidec JJ Motorsport M4 GT4 with drivers Catesby Jones and Wim Spinoy securing the class victory. There were only two cars in the GT4 class but it’s still impressive for a team to finish twelve hours of racing with a win. An M6 GT3 entered in the GT3 class by JR Motorsport had to retire due to gearbox issues. There were also two M2 CS Racing entries in the TC class by Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport, the only two cars in the class.
The next event of the 24H series will be another twelve-hour race at Spa-Franchorchamps in Belgium on the weekend of April 23–24. For more information on the 24H series, visit the series website.—David Haueter
[Photos courtesy 24H Series.]