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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Spa Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Total 24 Hours of Spa…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***BMW claimed its 23rd overall victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa and back-to-back wins but with different cars. Marc VDS Racing’s victory here last year was the final major endurance win for the BMW Z4 GT3, while ROWE Racing gave the BMW M6 GT3 its first major endurance triumph.

***Maxime Martin, who shared the winning BMW with Philipp Eng and Alexander Sims, continued his family’s legacy of success at Spa, joining his father Jean-Michel and uncle Philippe as race winners. Maxime’s win was the fifth victory for the Martin family in the race, with Jean-Michel and Philippe having earned two wins together as co-drivers in 1979-80, and Jean-Michel again in 1987 and 1992.

***This year’s race, however, was largely overshadowed in controversy, following Mercedes-AMG’s illegal ignition mapping found on all six of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars that took part in Super Pole on Friday. The six cars, which swept the first three rows, were moved to the back of the Top-20 and each given five-minute stop-and-hold penalties in the first 38 minutes of the race.

***Mercedes-AMG had planned to appeal the ruling but ran out of time, and claimed there’s “varying opinions about the interpretation of the [ignition mapping] homologation.” The No. 88 AMG-Team AKKA ASP entry of Felix Rosenqvist, Renger van der Zande and Tristan Vautier finished second, benefiting from the late-race downpour.

***While the race saw its share of incidents and drama, 54 of the 65 starters finished, a new record. There were a total of 16 Full Course Yellows, including three that turned into safety car periods for barrier repairs.

***Laurens Vanthoor’s No. 28 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS that finished third set the fastest lap of the race with a remarkable 2:18.793. The time was set on Sunday morning and couldn’t be matched by anyone. The only other car to even make it below the 2:20 barrier was the No. 8 M-Sport Bentley with a 2:19.917.

***Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Dave Farrell and Joe Hahn waved the Belgian flag to start the race on Saturday. The American rock band were at Spa to lend their support to the No. 00 AMG-Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG, which was carrying a livery designed by the band members.

***For the third consecutive year, Audi won Coupe du Roi. The trophy is awarded to the manufacturer that performs best in the overall, Pro-Am and Am categories. With three, two and one car scoring points in each of the respective categories, Audi ended up with 109 points, seeing off Ferrari (92) and Lamborghini (74).

***Garage 59’s Rob Bell, Shane van Gisbergen and Come Ledogar has seen their lead in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup reduced to just nine points over Sims, Eng and Martin, following a challenging race for all three McLaren 650S GT3s. Bell, who is taking part in both the Endurance and Sprint Cups this year, still has a 34-point lead in the overall Blancpain GT Series standings, heading into the next race at the Hungaroring.

***Mercedes-AMG has taken the lead of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, following second and fifth place overall finishes for the No. 88 AKKA ASP and No. 86 HTP Motorsport entries. McLaren GT had led the championship entering the weekend on the heels of its victory in the season-opener at Bathurst.

***Laurens Vanthoor, meanwhile, now leads the IGTC Drivers’ Championship, thanks to scoring second-place points at Spa for his third place finish in the race in the No. 28 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS. Thierry Cornac, meanwhile, picked up Am class honors at Spa.

***The inaugural IGTC champions will be crowned in the Sepang 12 Hours in December, which serves as the third and final round of the new-for-2016 series.

Vincent Wouters contributed to this report.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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