Rutronik Racing by TECE has broken Porsche’s dominance in this year’s 24H Series season with victory in the inaugural Hankook 24H Sebring.
Swen Herberger drove the team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to a 1 minute and 44-second win over the No. 91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R of Ralf Bohn following a race-long battle between the two German entries.
The deciding factor came in the final four hours when a two-minute time penalty was assessed to Herberth for not respecting the pit signal for exiting the pits while under the red flag.
It gave Rutronik a clear lead in the twice-around-the-clock enduro, which started in wet conditions.
Competitors overcame a second bout of much heavier rain that halted running for more than one hour in the final quarter of the race.
Herberger shared the winning Audi with Michael Doppelmayr, Elia Erhart and Audi factory driver Markus Winkelhock, denying Porsche a a sweep of overall victories in this year’s 24H Series season.
Winkelhock was a last-minute substitute for Pierre Kaffer, who was ruled out of the event.
The No. 955 Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Fabrizio Broggi, Sergiu Nicolae and Sabino de Castro scored a third place overall finish and victory in the 991 class.
It finished ten laps ahead of the RPM Motorsport Porsche featuring Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Patrick Huisman and late addition Andy Lally, which finished second in class.
Three of the five GT3 cars entered made it to the finish, with the No. 92 Herberth Porsche classified 10th overall after battling gearbox issues early on.
Both the No. 85 CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and No. 10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo entries crashed out, meanwhile.
Leipert’s Lamborghini Hurcan Super Trofeo entry, however, picked up GTX class honors with a fifth place overall finish for the all-American lineup of Gregg Gorski, Gerhard Watzinger, Lance Bergstein, Indy Al Miller and Kenton Koch.
Newly crowned Pirelli GT4 America Pro-Am class champions Nolasport claimed the GT4 class win with its Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Matt Travis, Jason Hart, Anthony Noble, Alex Mayer and Zac Anderson.
It came after gearbox issues sent the then class-leading The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Roman De Angelis behind the wall and into retirement with less than three hours remaining.
24H Series class champions ST Racing took over second with its BMW M4 GT4 driven by Samantha Tan, Chandler Hull, Jon Miller, Nick Wittmer and Bryson Morris.
TCE class honors went to the AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS TCR DSG of Stephane Perrin, Mathieu Detry, Rik Breukers and Matthew Taskinen despite a late-race scare for the Belgian squad’s entry, which briefly stopped on track.
The North American debut of the BMW M4 GT3, which ran as an unclassified entrant, came with multiple trips to the garage, initially for damage from contact on-track but later for electrical gremlins.
Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, James Clay and BMW Juniors Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse finished 16th overall out of the 23 starters.
RESULTS: 24H Sebring