The 24H Series is an endurance racing series with events in Europe and the Middle East and held the last race of 2023 in Kuwait with a twelve-hour race. Despite the “24H” name, there are only two 24-hour races on the schedule, in Dubai and Barcelona. The rest are mostly twelve-hour races with a six-hour race also in the mix. BMW teams compete sporadically in the races depending on the event, but there were two British BMW teams that had success in the finale in Kuwait.
The Century Motorsport team won the British GT Championship with their M4 GT3 this season and also won the GT4 team and Pro-Am championships in the same series with the M4 GT4. They had both cars entered for the Kuwait race, with two of the drivers in the M4 GT3 coming from the teams GT4 program this past season. The Simpson Motorsport team, which also competed in the GT4 class in the British GT championship in 2023, had one M4 GT4 entered.
The Century Motorsport trio of Carl Cavers, Lewis Plato and Jack Barlow performed well in qualifying, putting the #22 M4 GT3 second on the overall grid, just a half-second behind the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Though they were second overall, they were on the Pro-Am class pole, as the Mercedes was an Am entry. As the race played out, the #22 BMW looked like it would be in a fight for the overall victory at the end but were handed a ten-second penalty for inadvertently using the high beams during a pit stop for refueling (never heard of that one before!).
The Century Motorsport #22 M4 GT3 ultimately finished third, with the victory going to the CP Racing Mercedes that started from pole. The race finish was the closest ever in a 24H Series race, with the Mercedes finishing just 0.537 seconds over the Manamauri Energy by Ebimotors Porsche. Charles Espenlaub, Shane Lewis, Charles Putman, and Joe Foster drove the winning Mercedes and are all American drivers. Espenlaub and Putman won the 2010 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship in an E92 M3 entered by Fall-Line Motorsport.
The two BMW teams dominated the GT4 class at Kuwait. The Century Motorsport and AGMC Racing Team by Simpson Motorsport teams were one-two in qualifying, but the Simpson team got the upper hand during the race, getting the win with driver’s Fabian Duffieux, Andrey Solukovtsev and Yasily Vladkin in the #438 M4 GT4. The Century Motorsport trio of Ravi Ramyead, Charlie Robertson, David Holloway, and Nathan Freke were on track for the win but finished second after being delayed with a tie-rod issue.
The 24H Series opens its 2024 season with its most popular race, the 24 Hours of Dubai in the UAE on January 12th-14th. The series will also race in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Mugello (Italy), Spa (Belgium), Portimao (Spain), Misano (Italy), and Kuwait. —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy 24H Series]