The 24 Hours of Spa from July 25 to 28 is a GT3 event of mammoth proportions: 72 race cars from eleven manufacturers are going to battle for victory in the most important GT3 endurance race of the year. The elite of endurance racing will be assembled in Belgium, plus many drivers from the DTM, the FIA WEC and other international racing series. Audi Sport customer racing will be on the grid of the iconic race for the eleventh time and since 2011 has clinched four overall victories and won the Coupe du Roi as the best manufacturer on three occasions.
As many as eleven Audi R8 LMS cars will be on the track when the starting lights go off on July 27 at 4.30 PM. The range of customer teams extends from purely professional squads to amateur drivers and encompasses 35 race drivers from 14 nations, including eight drivers from Audi Sport customer racing and four of Audi’s DTM factory drivers. “We haven’t been represented at Spa with so many race cars as this year since 2016,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “For us, the event will be about clinching our fifth overall victory and for the teams and drivers, about scoring further good results in the championship classifications that are associated with this race.”
This year, the competition again involves the pursuit of several big aims. The teams supported by Audi Sport customer racing – WRT with two race cars and Saintéloc Racing with another Audi R8 LMS – have set their sights on overall victory. DTM drivers Robin Frijns/Nico Müller/René Rast will be at the wheel of one car from WRT while Alex Riberas will share the second one with Audi Sport drivers Frank Stippler and Dries Vanthoor, who scored victory in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in June. Vincent Vosse’s Belgian WRT team triumphed in its home round at Spa in 2011 and 2014 while Sébastien Chetail was successful there with Saintéloc Racing in 2017. Like last year, Saintéloc Racing relies on Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock – the 2017 Spa winners – and on Frédéric Vervisch, another winner of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in June. The competition, as the third of five rounds, is also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. In addition to the three race cars entered by the Audi Sport teams, Team Montaplast by Land-Motorsport has been nominated to score points for this only worldwide GT3 series. Wolfgang Land’s squad in third position was the best Audi team at Spa last year and this year relies on DTM driver Jamie Green, Audi Sport driver Christopher Mies and up-and-coming driver Ricardo Feller.
The endurance race has traditionally been part of the European Blancpain GT calendar as well. In total, Audi – with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Attempto Racing, Saintéloc Racing and Phoenix Racing – is represented in twelve classifications for drivers and teams. The best spots occupied in the standings include Attempto Racing’s second place in the Blancpain GT Silver Cup Teams and Mattia Drudi’s third place in the Blancpain GT Silver Cup Drivers, plus the fourth positions held by Dries Vanthoor in the Blancpain GT Drivers class, by Saintéloc Racing in the Blancpain GT Pro Am Teams category, by Phoenix Racing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Silver Teams and by Phoenix drivers Finlay Hutchison/Ivan Pareras/Kim-Luis Schramm in the corresponding drivers’ classifications. Saintéloc Racing and Phoenix Racing will each be on the grid at Spa with one privately fielded R8 LMS and privateer drivers. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will be fielding two race cars with privateers and Attempto Racing is preparing two Audi R8 LMS as well, in which Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi and Kelvin van der Linde are going to share the cockpits with privateer drivers.
The Audi R8 LMS racing under the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup entry is special in that four particularly successful participants of the international one-make cup from last year won an entry in the 24 Hours of Spa. This cockpit will be shared by the Indonesian Andrew Haryanto, Jeffrey Lee from Chinese Taipei, the Australian Yasser Shahin and Sun Jingzu from Mainland China.
Up to six other race cars will complete Audi Sport customer racing’s presence at Spa. The FFSA GT4 France racing series will have its fourth championship weekend as part of the 24-hour race weekend. Up to four customer teams will be fielding the Audi R8 LMS GT4 there in two races. Saintéloc Racing is the title defender in the FFSA GT4 France and is currently leading the standings with last year’s title winners Gregory Guilvert/Fabien Michal.
The Audi Sport customer racing teams at Spa:
#1 Audi Sport Team WRT
Robin Frijns/Nico Müller/René Rast
#2 Audi Sport Team WRT
Alex Riberas/Frank Stippler/Dries Vanthoor
#5 Phoenix Racing
Finlay Hutchison/Ivan Pareras/Kim-Luis Schramm
#10 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Rik Breukers/Norman Nato/Charles Weerts
#17 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Shae Davies/Alex MacDowall/Paul Petit
#25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc
Christopher Haase/Frédéric Vervisch/Markus Winkelhock
#26 Saintéloc Racing
Michael Blanchemain/Simon Gachet/Steven Palette/Pierre Yves Paque
#55 Attempto Racing
Mattia Drudi/Pieter Schothorst/Steijn Schothorst
#66 Attempto Racing
Milan Dontje/Kelvin van der Linde/Clemens Schmid
#80 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup
Andrew Haryanto/Jeffrey Lee/Yasser Shahin/Sun Jingzu
#129 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport
Ricardo Feller/Jamie Green/Christopher Mies