This weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa sees a near-record level of manufacturer involvement, including the first-ever factory effort from Lamborghini, with the new Huracán GT3 set for its highly anticipated 24-hour race debut.
The Italian manufacturer has entrusted Grasser Racing Team to run the pair of V10-powered beasts in this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series season, in what’s already proven to be a successful partnership between the two organizations.
“We’re working for Lamborghini and for us, it’s a pleasure because Lamborghini has helped us so much in the past,” team principal Gottfried Grasser told Sportscar365. “For us, it’s the same level of dedication that we want to help Lamborghini as best as we can.”
Grasser’s team has been on a metric rise through the GT ranks, all while staying loyal to the brand.
The small Austrian squad, formed less than five years ago, burst onto the Blancpain GT Series scene in 2013, finishing runner-up in the FIA GT Series Pro-Am Championship prior to a third place overall finish in the Blancpain Sprint Series last year.
While claiming numerous wins with the Reiter-developed Gallardo, the team, which also enjoyed success in Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe, caught the attention of the factory last year to be its partner in the development year of the new Huracán GT3.
It’s resulted in a increased commitment for Grasser, which is still a relatively new name to GT racing.
“We are a really young team with only three years of professional experience in that kind of racing,” Grasser said. “For us, every 24-hour race is a big thing to do.
“We’ve been working days and night preparing the cars to make sure everything runs well.
“For sure, you need to have a big spares package. When you look at the past years, everything can happen at Spa. But we are quite confident.”
The team is coming off a successful first half of the season, highlighted by a provisional win in the car’s debut race at Monza and pole by Lamborghini factory driver Mirko Bortolotti in last month’s Blancpain Endurance Series 1000.
The most recent round at Paul Ricard, however, saw the team’s No. 63 entry of Fabio Babini, Andrew Palmer and Jeroen Mul retire with mechanical issues, an issue that Grasser said has already been resoled.
“It was a complete new rebuild [of the] gearbox with more or less a working failure of building it together,” he explained.
“In the end, it was a shame it happened but this thing doesn’t worry us at all. We know what the failure was and we’re sure it will never happen again.”
Having taken part in a number of test sessions since then, including the official Spa Test Day, which saw the No. 63 car post the second quickest time, Grasser remains confident of their chances this weekend.
However, with what’s been a steep learning curve for both car and team, the driver-turned team principal heads into the toughest GT3 race of the year with realistic expectations for their maiden 24-hour voyage with the Huracán GT3.
“The goal is to bring both cars to the finish line,” Grasser said. “This is the biggest goal we have.
“Sure, when you go to race, you want to win it. This is the spirit we have. But in 24 hours, so many things can happen.
“But I think when we do a good job. If we don’t have any big trouble with incidents, then it should be good result on its own.
“We know performance-wise, the car is quite good. The durability should be nice on the car, so we’ll give it our best and hope for a good result.”