• Team RaceArt fields two cars at the start of Porsche Sprint Challenge Southern Europe
  • Senna van Soelen rewarded for strong progression with podium in Estoril
  • Pair of victories and second places for Jules Grouwels in Pro-Am class


Maastricht, Feb. 5, 2024 - Team RaceArt enjoyed an excellent start to the new season and its new chapter in Porsche racing with two strong weekends in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Southern Europe. The team completed valuable mileage on the Portuguese circuits of Portimao and Estoril and recorded five podium finishes across five races.


The championship on the Iberian Peninsula, spread over four weekends in Portugal and Spain, serves as a good opportunity for strong preparation for the 2024 motorsport season. Team RaceArt, participating in the full championship, first headed to Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve where the series kicked off on Jan. 27 and 28. There, the Maastricht-based squad entered a pair of Porsche 992 GT3 Cups. Senna van Soelen piloted car number 12 in the stacked and competitive Pro class, while Jules Grouwels got behind the wheel of Porsche number 77 in Pro-Am. In addition, the team had a special guest in the garage on both weekends. Sam Jongejan, who will participate with RaceArt in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux later this year, watched from the sidelines in Portugal to get to know the team in advance of his own season of Porsche racing.



The Sprint Challenge Southern Europe weekends were characterized by a compact but intensive schedule, with free practice, qualifying and both races completed in a single day. Fortunately, this was accompanied by plenty of testing opportunities on the preceding days. This offered the drivers valuable track time to familiarize themselves with both the circuit as well as the car. This came in especially handy for RaceArt newcomer Van Soelen, as he had never driven the 992 GT3 Cup before.


In qualifying, consisting of two consecutive sessions of fifteen minutes each, Van Soelen showed an upward trend in terms of progress. The young driver, hailing from Oostvoorne, qualified fifteenth for his first race, but made a big leap forward by setting the tenth fastest time for Race 2. Grouwels, meanwhile, hit the ground running and recorded second place in Pro-Am for both races. Unfortunately for Van Soelen, his debut behind the wheel of the Porsche did not last long. Contact in the opening exchanges of Race 1 resulted in damage to the Porsche's rear suspension. He was forced to park his car while Grouwels held his own in the Pro-Am and finished second.


After the team managed to repair the damage to the suspension of Van Soelen's car in time, both drivers were able to line up for the second and final race of the weekend. In the chaotic opening laps, both drivers kept their noses clean, with Grouwels even managing to get past Alexander Reimann to take the lead in Pro-Am. Van Soelen, meanwhile, was alert at the restart after an early Code 60 and gained several places to climb to eighth position. He then fell back slightly, but after Horst Felix Felbermayr and Alexander Tauscher both received a five-second time penalty for violating track limits, Van Soelen was ultimately classified ninth. Grouwels, meanwhile, kept his cool and took his first win in the Pro-Am category.



After a break of a few days, the team moved some three hundred kilometers northwest towards the Circuito Estoril. This track, which like Portimao played host to Formula One in the past, is a half-hour drive from the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon. This time, free practice, qualifying and the races took place on Saturday, but that did not stop Van Soelen and Grouwels from continuing the strong progress from Portimao. Grouwels recorded two second places in Pro-Am qualifying just like a weekend earlier, while Van Soelen showed his strongest performance so far in Q1 by qualifying fifth.


In the first of two races on Saturday, Van Soelen showed himself to be a shrewd racer as part of an enthralling battle with the likes of Sebastian Freymuth, Felbermayr, Robin Knutsson and Hugo Ellis. With just under ten minutes to go, the gold-liveried RaceArt Porsche fought its way past Felbermayr's blue car, mere seconds before a Code 60 for liquids on the track went into effect. Once this was cleared, Van Soelen again showed his keen sense of race conditions on the restart by immediately passing Knutsson and taking over fourth place. Although this is where he crossed the line, he would later be promoted to third position due to a time penalty for Huub van Eijndhoven.


Grouwels, meanwhile, crowned an already superb Portuguese outing by winning for the second time. The Limburger stayed on the trail of Pro-Am leader Reimann throughout the race and was able to take full advantage when his rival skidded off the track. He took over the lead of the race and maintained it until the finish for his second Pro-Am win in a row. He added another trophy later that afternoon by finishing second in the final race. Van Soelen unfortunately did not make it to the finish line in the closing contest: a strong opening phase went unrewarded due to retirement after contact with Louis Rousset.


Drivers' comments:

Jules Grouwels: "For me, both weekends mainly provided a lot of experience. I got to know the car better on two challenging circuits. I learned to adapt to braking without ABS, which was new for me. Besides nice podium finishes, the most important thing for me was getting to know the car, improving my pace and finishing races. This all worked out, so two very positive weekends for me!”


Senna van Soelen: "These past two weekends allowed me to get to know the Porsche 992 GT3, as I only drove this car once at the Red Bull Ring before this. The first weekend in Portimao was mainly a learning weekend for me and I see the whole championship as a similar opportunity. I had never driven at Portimao before, so everything took some getting used to. A cool circuit, so much undulation and to drive a Porsche around this track is super cool! I made a lot of progress and learned a lot.


"I had also never driven at Estoril before, so that was once again a nice challenge. We quickly learned that the pace was good that weekend. We were able to put in a strong showing during qualifying and started the first race from fifth place. Eventually I ended up on the podium. Very happy with that, because we learned so much in these two weeks. We now have two more weekends left to go, so let's see what we can make of that!"


With two wins and three further podium finishes, Team RaceArt can look back on a successful opening of the season and a good start to its reunion with Porsche. The team now sets its sights on the second half of the Sprint Challenge Southern Europe season, which will see the team visit Spain. Van Soelen and Grouwels will first travel to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia (Feb. 23-24), followed by the finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (March 1-2).


© 2024
Created by