RAM Racing will return to the Creventic 24 Hour Series next month, this time though fielding a Mercedes-AMG in the GT4 category of the Hankook 24 Hours of Portimão.
Prolific classic car collector and historic racing star Katarina Kyvalova will be joined by British GT Championship duo Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen, as well as RAM Racing regular Ian Loggie for the twice-around-the-clock event in Portugal on July 17/18, as RAM prepares for its first-ever entry into the GT4 division.
Kyvalova is no stranger to success in historic racing, having competed at world-class events such as the Monaco Historique and Goodwood Revival. She regularly campaigns both a Cooper-Jaguar T33 sports racer and a pre-war 4.5-litre Bentley between outings in modern GT machinery.
Minshaw and Keen were regular title challengers in British GT aboard both Porsche and Lamborghini machinery, taking a best finish of second place in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 overall standings. Minshaw has also enjoyed several Creventic rounds alongside Kyvalova in recent years, including two starts in the Dubai 24 Hours. Keen has also previously worked with Kyvalova, having shared her Cooper-Jaguar at Goodwood.
That trio will be joined by Scotsman Loggie, who forms one half of RAM’s full-season British GT title challenge. He regularly shares a Mercedes-AMG GT3 with AMG factory driver Yelmer Buurman but has also made multiple starts in Creventic events across recent years.
While this may be RAM’s maiden GT4 entry, the team is already familiar with the Mercedes-AMG, having recently completed a full rebuild and technical update on Kyvalova’s AMG GT4 in order to prepare it for Portimão.
Katarina Kyvalova said: “I’m really excited to be joining RAM Racing for the 24 Hours of Portimão, and to have such a great team around me. I’ve done two Dubai 24-hour races alongside Jon Minshaw before, and shared my Cooper-Jaguar T33 at the Goodwood Revival with Phil Keen, so I know them both well already. Ian is the only new face to me, but I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun during the race. I love the sense of speed and the thrill of modern GT racing – it’s so different from the classic cars. Racing historic cars takes so much concentration and effort, timing gear changes and being mechanically sympathetic. You can relax a bit more with modern GTs as they’re a lot tougher – that does remove a lot of the excuses book though! I’m really looking forward to Portimão and I think we can go there and get a good result. I’d love to do more, but we’ll see how we go at Portimão first.”
Jon Minshaw said: “I took a few years out of full-time GT racing but have dipped in and out of races since, and I’m really excited for this one. I’m great friends with Kat and we’ve done a lot in historics together. I’ve raced against Ian for a few years, so I know how good he is, and to get Phil back onboard is great. He’s such a superb mentor and unquestionably one of Britain’s best GT drivers. Both Kat and I had a test with RAM at Silverstone recently and I was really impressed with the team and how it operates, so with the team we’ve put together I think we have a superb chance of going out there with eyes on the GT4 class win.”
Ian Loggie said: “I can’t wait for the race at Portimão. It’s on my home turf these days and it’s one of my favourite tracks, too. As usual I know RAM will give us a perfectly prepared car to fight with and it’s clear that we have a very strong driver line-up to go with it. I’m really looking forward to getting into the fight alongside Katarina, Jon and Phil.”
Phil Keen said: “It’s a bit odd, while this will be my first race with RAM I know the team so well through racing against them in British GT that I already feel like a part of the furniture in the garage! It will be great fun competing at Portimão with them. They’re a top team and the car will no doubt be on the money. This will also be my first-ever race in a GT4 car. I’ve tested them a few times, but never actually raced one. They’re good fun. Everything happens a bit slower than in a GT3, but I really enjoy the challenge of them. It’s great to be back sharing with Jon and we’ve had some great success together. Katarina will get on the pace really quickly and then only improve from there and I’m looking forward to sharing with Ian for the first time as he’s been one of the standout bronze drivers in recent seasons. We’re certainly not going into this one just looking to make up the numbers.”
RAM Racing team principal Dan Shufflebottom added: “I’m really pleased that we’ve brought this GT4 project together, and I don’t think we could wish for a better driver line-up for our debut in the class. We’ve been talking to Katarina for a while and it’s been a pleasure working on the Mercedes-AMG GT4, so we’re now all excited to be able to push the car’s limits together in Portimão. It will be great having both Jon and Phil with us instead of racing against us for once, and Ian is well known to the entire team already. Together I think they’ll make a super crew and we’ll definitely be ones to watch in the GT4 class.”
Pics Jakob Ebrey/ Greystone