The pole-sitting No. 4 Scuderia Praha Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 leads the Barcelona 24 Hours at the 8-hour mark.
The team built up a one-plus lap lead during the past several hours. This represents something of a recovery since the driving rotation had left them behind earlier on.
Both the No. 1 Hofor Racing Mercedes and the No. 24 Walkenhorst BMW have lost ground. Nevertheless, all three remain close with the pair of Car Collection SLS AMGs keeping station a bit further back.
Class leaders at eight hours include the No. 12 GC in SP2 (Patrick Brochier aboard) and the No. 16 Nova Race Ginetta in SP3 (Luis Scarpaccio taking it to the 8-hour point).
The all-Porsche 997 group sees the No. 9 Team Werner Sport 997 GT3 Cup in front.
The opening hours featured a close battle for the overall lead between the defending champions, the No. 1 Hofor Racing Mercedes and the No. 24 Walkenhorst BMW Z4 GT3.
Kenneth Heyer ran a very fast stint, having relieved the starting driver Christiaan Frankenhout—who also produced a stellar stint. Heyer’s sheer pace kept the gullwing SLS at the top while the BMW, started by Ralf Oeverhaus and then taken over by Jens Richter, kept a steady sharp pace to alternately lead and then hound the Hofor team.
On the opening lap Frankenhout jumped the pole-sitting Ferrari which was started by Peter Kox. The first few laps featured an amazingly tight gaggle at the top of more than ten cars, representing the finest from the A6, 997, and SP2 classes.
Kox had passed Frankenhout for the lead. It was somewhat unchallenged by Frankenhout since stops were soon due. Indeed Christian Bracke (No. 2 Car Collection Mercedes) slipped into second place.
The third placed car, the Walkenhorst BMW, continued on a steady and almost anonymous pace. Raymond was in fourth with the No. 11 GC, under challenge by Elmar Grimm’s No. 3 Car Collection Mercedes.
Kox stopped to hand over to Jiri Pisarik and the No. 4 Ferrari slipped down the order. Ferrari hopes were dealt a further blow when Nicola Cadei’s No. 32 Kessel Racing F458 Italia GT3 came together with the No. 41 Prefa Seat and Jim Briody in the No. 65 Cor Euser Racing BMW 120d.
That brought about a 15 minute Code 60 intervention with only other very brief call being made while a disabled car was towed away.
While there are several wounded warriors, there is only one confirmed retirement, the No. 10 LD Racing Porsche which crashed early on.
The race will finish at noon local time Sunday, 5 a.m. Eastern.