The postponement of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season start enabled Lamborghini outfit VSR to make its 24-hour race debut at Spa, according to team principal Vincenzo Sospiri.
International GT Open points leader Vincenzo Sospiri Racing is contesting the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa for the first time this weekend with a single Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the Silver Cup class.
GT Open drivers Baptiste Moulin and Yuki Nemoto are teaming up with Super Trofeo ace Glenn van Berlo and Audi Sport Asia driver Martin Rump for the Belgian enduro.
Sospiri explained that the Spa outing originated when the start of the 2021 GTWC Asia campaign, which is still yet to kick off, was delayed amid coronavirus travel restrictions.
The VSR squad had been selected to represent Lamborghini in GTWC Asia and GT Open this year, while it also races in the Italian GT Sprint Championship.
“In GT Open we are doing very well, and everything is positive there at the moment,” Sospiri told Sportscar365.
“This year we were going to do an Asian program with SRO, but that has been cut off. That’s the reason why we are doing Spa.
“Our program was GT Open and GT World Challenge Asia, but we reduced that and then checked what we are going to do, so we decided to do the hardest race in the championship!
“The drivers for Asia were moved to GT Open, because they were already signed for Asia. It was a good choice. For Spa, Giorgio [Sanna, head of Lamborghini Squadra Corse] chose the drivers in the Silver car.
“We are supported by Lamborghini, but we are not operating as FFF, Emil Frey or other teams [are]. We represent Lamborghini in GT Open, but here we are just an independent team.”
VSR has held a substantial Asian presence in recent years, basing itself at Sepang in Malaysia for past GTWC Asia and Asian Le Mans Series campaigns with Lamborghini.
However, the team stopped using its Sepang facility in March due to a lack of track activity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Although Sospiri maintains that Asia is an interesting market for his organization, there has been a shift in focus to the more active European sports car racing scene.
He suggested that next year could involve a larger Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS commitment beyond the 24 Hours of Spa, should the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on travel continue to hamper the Asian GTWC series.
“The plan for the future could be doing this championship next year, depending on what happens in Asia,” Sospiri explained.
“For the moment, my program with Lamborghini is Asia with two cars, and either GT Open or Italian GT with two or three cars. This is what Lamborghini ask. If Asia doesn’t go ahead, they might ask us if we want to be in Europe, either Endurance or Sprint.
“That is my idea. At the moment, we are in position for the championships they tell us to do. It was Italian GT last year and this year it’s GT Open.
“I like the idea of Lamborghini supporting us and making us grow as a team.
“They give us time to develop the team and the drivers, and then we will do one of the main championships when we are ready.”
Asked if VSR would consider running a Pro-class entry in GTWC Europe, Sospiri said: “It depends what Lamborghini think.
“One car has to be a Silver for sure, because we are a team that develops drivers. It could be one car with Pro drivers that Lamborghini sends to us.”
VSR “Well Prepared” for 24H Spa Debut
Sospiri reckons that his team is “well prepared” for its Spa debut, which marks a significant departure from the sprint racing in which it has specialized over recent years.
As it does for its full-season GTWC Europe teams, Lamborghini is providing VSR with engineering support at Spa.
“We have a Lamborghini engineer and telemetry,” said Sospiri.
“They send guys here to help us. We also have our own engineer, but we actually have more people than we need, because we would like to see what this race needs and doesn’t need.
“Two engineers, two on telemetry, one extra engineer, the sporting director, me… it’s very busy. Every single base is covered, plus it is to learn [about the race].
“We have done a 12-hour race, a four-hour race, but never a 24-hour race. We need to understand from people who have done it before, what it takes and what you need for the future.”
VSR’s Lamborghini for Spa is a brand-new model that the team started preparing three months ago.
It elected to use one of its GT Open cars for the two-day 24H Spa test, due to a GT Open round taking place at Spa the weekend before official testing.
“We finished preparing this car and did a nice shakedown last week,” said Sospiri.
“The car was prepared at the Lamborghini workshop, so it’s the same preparation as the No. 63 [Orange1 FFF Racing Team] car.
“There are some other Silver cars that are very, very strong. But we will see.”