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Team manager dies in paddock incident in Barcelona

The team Manager of Proton Huber Competition has died following an accident in Barcelona ahead of this weekend’s Michelin Le Mans Cup race.

Paddock

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Amid preparations for the opening round of the season, Gerhard Freundorfer was involved in a fatal incident with one of the Proton Huber trucks in the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya paddock on Tuesday.

Although the circuit medical staff were quickly able to attend to Freundorfer, he succumbed to the injuries and was declared dead.

No further information has been made available by the Le Mans Cup, Barcelona or the European Le Mans Series, which is also holding its first race of 2024 at the Spanish venue this weekend.

"On behalf of the Circuit we deeply regret this accident and would like to extend our deepest condolences to Gerhard's family, friends and the entire paddock of the European Le Mans Series," said Josep Lluís Santamaría, the managing director of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, added: “This morning we woke to the news of the death of Gerhard Freundorfer, which has saddened everyone involved in endurance racing. 

Frédéric Lequien, CEO of Le Mans Endurance Management, added: “On behalf of the whole endurance family I would like to extend all of our deepest condolences to the family of Gerhard Freundorfer, especially to his wife Karola, and the Proton Huber Competition team. This is a very sad day for the endurance family.”

“Gerhard was a member of the endurance family, and he will be sadly missed by all. I wish to extend the condolences of everyone at the ACO to Gerhard’s family and friends.”

#93 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Michael Fassbender, Martin Rump, Richard Lietz

#93 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Michael Fassbender, Martin Rump, Richard Lietz

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Proton Huber had entered a single Porsche 911 GT3 R for Jorg Dreiso and Manuel Lauck in the GT3 class for the 2024 Le Mans Cup.

A joint venture between the eponymous teams of long-time World Endurance Championship driver/team owner Christian Ried and veteran team boss Christopher Huber, the German-based operation was launched at the start of this year to compete in Porsche one-make series.

The collaboration was eventually extended to other series including the Michelin-backed Le Mans Cup, which runs most of its six rounds as part of the support bill for the ELMS.

The series also hosts a pair of 55-minute races on the undercard for the Le Mans 24 Hours at the Circuit de la Sarthe every year.

No changes are expected to be made to the programme for this weekend's 4 Hours of Barcelona, which also includes races in the Le Mans Cup, Ligier Euro Series and Porsche Carrera Cup France categories.

Additional reporting by Mario Galan

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