The final Endurance Cup round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe season always delivers the drama and this year’s race in Barcelona was no exception. The Sky Tempesta McLaren crew of Eddie Cheever, Chris Froggatt and Jonathan Hui, took sixth place in class in the race, which was enough to secure the Bronze Endurance Cup title. In the #188 McLaren, Miguel Ramos, Henrique Chaves and Louis Prette grabbed their first Bronze class Endurance Cup race win of 2023, despite being sent spinning to the back of the field just a few laps into the race. Completing a fine set of results, Benjamin Goethe, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Nicolai Kjærgaard brought the #159 McLaren home in eighth place overall, their best Endurance Cup finish of the season.
During Qualifying on Sunday morning, the #159 drivers took a very strong 10th place overall. In the Bronze Cup, the #188 drivers grabbed second in class with the championship-hunting #93 Sky Tempesta squad taking fourth in class.
When the three-hour race got underway, Goethe, Chaves and Froggatt all made good starts. Goethe moved up two places to eighth overall in the #159 McLaren, while Chaves and Froggatt immediately moved up to first and second places respectively in the Bronze Cup battle.
Unfortunately for Chaves his lead didn’t last as he was spun around by Valentino Rossi in the #46 BMW; the Italian holding his hands up and accepting a penalty for the collision. Although the #188 McLaren dropped right to the back, by the end of the first hour, it was back in the class lead after an incredible comeback drive by Henrique.
The second hour of the race was running smoothly for Garage 59, with the #159 running well in eighth in the hands of Kjærgaard, #188 holding the lead in Bronze Cup with Ramos and #93 not far behind in third place. The peace didn’t last, of course, and this time it was Hui in the #93 on the receiving end when he was hit not just once but twice, dropping all the way back to 11th in class and critically with a predicted second place in the Championship.
The final hour of the race never really got going. A long full course yellow meant that the race only went green with 25 minutes left on the clock, then it stalled again with another full course yellow, which stuck around until 10 minutes before the chequered flag.
Crossing the line in sixth place in class was enough to seal the deal for the Sky Tempesta McLaren and the title was theirs! Louis did a great job to hold onto the Bronze Cup lead and took the flag as the class winner, while Marvin went out with a flourish by taking the fastest lap of the race on his way to eighth place overall.
Everyone at Garage 59 would like to congratulate the Sky Tempesta drivers on their Championship victory!
Eddie Cheever - #93 McLaren
It was tough but I was thinking about last year and the bad season we had so to become Champions this year, when there are so many good drivers in our category, is amazing. It’s a dream come true and to do it with Jonathan and Chris, I couldn’t ask for more.
Jonathan Hui - #93 McLaren
I knew it would go down to the wire. This is what battling is all about. With such a high-quality grid, with such fierce competitors, I’m glad we managed to hold on until the end. I’m absolutely delighted. We’ve raced together for five seasons so winning this championship means the world to me.
Marvin Kirchhöfer - #159 McLaren
After all the bad luck we had this year, finishing the season with a P8 is a decent result. I’m happy with that but even happier to see the Sky Tempesta guys win the Bronze Cup Championship and the #188 guys win their class in the race. It’s a really good result for the team and something that they all deserved. On a personal level to also take fastest race lap is a very good way to finish the season!
Henrique Chaves - #188 McLaren
It was an amazing race today. We had a good start, taking the lead in Bronze Cup straight away. I made a pass on (Valentino) Rossi but when he came back at me, he hit me, so I spun at Turn 10 and fell all the way to the back of the field. I then had a fun fightback and made it all the way up to P5 before there was a full course yellow. We went for an aggressive strategy and managed to undercut the others during the pit stop and get back into the lead. We finally got our win and it was a tasty one for sure after coming from last! Big thanks to the team and congratulations to the Sky Tempesta guys and the #159 crew who also had a great result!