Samantha Tan enters final round of 24H Series as overall GT leader
With 24 intense hours left on the 24H Series season, Samantha Tan enters the final race of 2021 in the overall championship lead - and with the GT4 class title already in the bag.
When the 24 Hours of Sebring will get underway on Saturday, Canadian team Samantha Tan Racing - at its first international campaign - will tackle the final race of the 2021 24H Series as the overall championship leaders. A long day and night awaits all the members of the team led by driver-owner Samantha Tan, protagonist of a remarkable season in the CREVENTIC's series. The calendar year started off with a victory at Dubai, in one of the most prestigious endurance races in GT racing. Often the first big international event in January, the race attracts some of the biggest names in the sport and, at their second attempt after the unfortunate cancellation for weather conditions in 2020, Samantha Tan and her teammates conquered the race in the GT4 class. A few days later, they gained momentum with another class victory at the non-championship race in Abu Dhabi - a 6 Hour race that nevertheless confirmed the Canadian squad's speed and reliability. All was looking good for a third win in a row at the 12H of Mugello in March, but a wheel hub failure in the final minutes of the first part of the race demoted the team to second place. A similar issue at Paul Ricard resulted in the only DNF of the season to date, but Samantha, Jon Miller and Chandler Hull bounced back at Hockenheim, where they returned to the podium with a second place. The second part of the season was a real success, with two stunning runs in Barcelona and Hungaroring that brought ST Racing back in the overall championship title and gained Samantha Tan and co-drivers the GT4 title.
Despite a differential issue following a hit on a kerb, the tireless crew of the #438 BMW M4 GT4 managed to send the car back out on track in time to take victory in class and seal the championship. “We are now in the lead for the Overall GT Teams’ standings and have clinched the GT4 championship after another successful weekend for ST Racing" - commented Samantha after the race-winning effort in Hungary. "It was everyone’s first time at the Hungaroring, but as always, our team put together an amazing car and all the drivers showed exceptional pace." "Throughout the weekend we worked on perfecting our pit stops and consistency on track, and are now preparing for our last race of the season at the Sebring International Raceway. See you there!” With one race left on the calendar - the only North American round on the schedule - Samantha Tan has in fact her eyes on the big prize. She will have to defend a 11-point advantage over the second-placed #701 Vortex V8 in the team's standings and a 11-point gap from Alfred Renauer (Herberth Motorsport) in the drivers' championship. With 4 wins out of 6 races, the German team is also a strong contender, which has been hampered by a DNF at the season opener at Dubai and a non-start at Hockenheim. Having started her racing career in touring cars on home soil in Canada, Samantha Tan moved to TCA Pirelli World Challenge in 2015. At the wheel of her own team's BMW M4 GT4, she switched to the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX; in the SRO-promoted series, she went on to finish second in the 2019 GT4 America Pro-Am class and third in the Silver class in 2020. With the aim of expanding her presence at the top of world's endurance racing, Tan and ST Racing embarked on the CREVENTIC journey in 2021, in her first international season in 24H Series. The 23-year old driver has already committed to another year in the series, having announced a move to GT3 machinery in the 24H Series. The series has historically been filled with talented female drivers: eighth women have in fact entered at least one round of the 2021 season. And, at Sebring, another female racer will be on the hunt for glory, as Swiss Jasmin Preisig will have to defend a 8-point advantage in the TCE teams' standings. Preisig was runner-up in TCR at the Dubai 24H in the #112 Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing VW Golf, before a practice crash by one of her teammates took them out of the Mugello weekend. Preisig would miss the Paul Ricard race, before returning to the #1 sister car at Hockenheim. With some really solid runs, Jasmin - who has also competed in this year's NLS at Nurburgring - took class victories at Hockenheim and Hungaroring, and added a second place at Barcelona to her point's tally. At Sebring, Preisig will share the #1 Golf TCR with Constantin Kletzer, Emil Heyerdahl and Fabian Danz.
With a slightly altered weekend schedule due to logistical issues, caused by freight delays, the much anticipated inaugural edition of the race is set to get underway from Saturday 20th to Sunday 21st November.
A 30-minute qualifying session for both TCE and GTE fields will set the grid, and should be followed by a night practice session before the green flag drops on the 24-hour race at the 6.02 km racetrack.