This year the GPX Racing team is running a double programme comprising the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and the 24H Series Championship of the Continents. Thus, it has taken part in three 24-hour races in less than two months and has been rewarded with three podium finishes for its efforts. After the squad’s second place in Portimao and the fabulous victory in the Spa 24 Hours, the Porsche 911 GT3 R in Gulf colours finished third in Barcelona. The team managed by Pierre-Brice Mena took advantage of the visit to Catalonia to announce their projects with the legitimate aim of being at the start of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
24-hour races are right up their street
In Barcelona, GPX Racing entered Jordan Grogor, Stuart Hall and Benjamin Goethe – the trio that had taken part in the first three rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – backed up by Jean-Pierre Valentini and ex-Minardi, Jordan and Midland F1 test driver, Nicky Pastorelli.
The #24 Porsche had a steady race on its way to third without being unduly troubled by two punctures and sluggish refuelling pumps. To get a taste of the ambiance at the 24-hour Catalan race, we talked to the youngest and oldest members of the GPX Racing team: Benji Goethe and Jean-Pierre Valentini. They gave us two different takes on a team united around a common ambition.
The team principal, Pierre-Brice Mena did not hide his satisfaction. “What has to be underlined is our consistency and the quality of our preparation. Once again, we didn’t run into any problems with the car. Benji finished his first 24-hour race in GT aged 16 and he didn’t spare his efforts as he drove for five hours. With three good results in 24-hour events including a victory at Spa, GPX Racing can target the capital of endurance, Le Mans, in a serene frame of mind!”
Two years to confirm and target Le Mans
So now it’s time to talk about the future beginning with what’s next. GPX Racing will end its tour of Europe in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Barcelona on 28-29 September with the usual Silver Cup line-up. With its sky blue and orange livery the team’s colours will be in the style of the Gulf 12 Hours (14th December) in which it will run two cars as will be the case in the Dubai 24 Hours a month later.
The 24H Series Continents will again be on the programme in 2020 in parallel with an assault on SRO Motorsports’ GT World Challenge Europe. This time the team will have a full programme including the five sprint events in addition to the five endurance races with the Spa 24 Hours being the highlight. One car will be entered for the Silver Cup and a Pro squad is being discussed to try and repeat this year’s exploit in the Ardennes.
With so much experience in GT3, the challenge represented by the move to the GTE category and a first outing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans can become reality.
“I learned a lot during my first 24-hour race in GT3 starting with driving at night time, judging the braking points and how to find my marks in the darkness. And overall, one of the main difficulties is knowing how to overtake quickly so as not to lose time while making the right decisions when it comes to taking risks. I think that finishing third overall is pretty good for a first.”
Jean-Pierre Valentini: “As an amateur gentleman driver I very much appreciated being able to count on advice from the Pros, in particular Nicky Pastorelli and Jordan Grogor with whom I am used to working on the data to make progress. I’m very impressed by everything the GPX Racing team has achieved since it got hold of the Porsche GT3s. It’s a team where it feels good to live and to succeed.”
Source. future racing/Photo. The Editor