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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Spa Wednesday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Wednesday notebook from Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Drivers for this weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa assembled on the old pit straight Wednesday afternoon for a group photo. It was followed by the traditional parade, drivers’ meeting and autograph session in downtown Spa. Official track activity gets underway on Thursday afternoon.

***Thursday sees plenty of track action, with the 90-minute Free Practice session starting at 1:20 p.m. before an hour-long Pre-Qualifying session begins at 5:45 p.m.. The day ends with two qualifying sessions, a 75-minute one at 8 p.m. and a 120-minute one at 9:45 p.m.. The fastest 20 cars after that session will go through to the Superpole on Friday evening.

***Konrad Motorsport has finalized the driver lineup for its Pro-Am class Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with three new drivers that were not initially listed. Jules Gounon, Luca Rettenbacher and Rik Breukers have been added, joining Christopher Zoechling. Both Marc Basseng and team boss Franz Konrad will not race.

***Only a single Rinaldi Racing Ferrari is entered this weekend, as Rinat Salikhov has elected to join the Pierre Ehret-owned Ferrari 488 GT3 car instead of his usual Ferrari 458 Italia, which has not been as competitive this year. As a result, Norbert Seidler is without a drive and Silver-rated Marco Seefried is in the Am Cup entry .

***Seefried told Sportscar365 that he’s unsure of the lineup for the Endurance Cup season-finale at the Nürburgring, although Salikhov plans to buy a 488 GT3 for the 2017 season that should stabilize next year’s programs across both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Seefried, meanwhile, may miss this year’s Sprint Cup finale at Barcelona due to his commitments with Magnus Racing in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

***The Audi R8 LMS cars are running with a revised endurance headlight package, with two additional beams in the center, just below the four-rings. It’s expected to provide additional lighting around the 4.352-mile circuit at night. Other manufacturers also optimized their headlights for Spa.

***WRT is running one of the two Audi Sport supported factory cars this weekend. The No. 28 Audi of Laurens Vanthoor, René Rast and Nico Müller is the chassis that the Belgian team took to victory in Nürburgring 24 hours last year.

***There was a possibility of seeing an additional Bentley Continental GT3 at Spa this weekend. Bentley Team Abt was initially looking to a car following its factory effort in the Nürburgring 24 earlier this year.

***As revealed yesterday, the third McLaren 650S GT3 entered by Garage 59 for Pipo Derani, Bruno Senna and Duncan Tappy lost its orange base color it ran at the test day and will feature a special livery for the occasion. The red, white and green design celebrates the 50th anniversary of the last competitive outing for the original Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Team emblem. It is based based on the original logo which adorned the early racers of the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing team. The logo featured on McLaren cars between 1962 and 1966.

***Bertrand Baguette’s last-minute confirmation on the No. 4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi is just a one-off for now. The Super GT and Super Formula Honda driver told Sportscar365 there are no current plans for him to return for the Nürburgring finale in September. Baguette shares the car with season regulars Pierre Kaffer and Adrien De Leener this weekend.

***SRO was one of the first organizers to adopt the Lumirank leader lights system a couple of years. The company has fine-tuned the mechanism ever since and also made some changes to prior to Spa in order to give the fans the best trackside experience.

***The windshield display shows the overall position of the car during practice and qualifying, but the position in class during the race. At the start of the race it will show the starting position instead, while the display of the leading car will be flashing. An extra color (green) was added for the two Porsches competing in the National Group. Click here for an overview.

***Manthey Racing has developed its own homologation package for the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport which allows vehicles to compete in SRO GT4 race series. The GT4-homologated Porsche GT4 Clubsport MR will be revealed on Friday at 2 p.m. local time in the paddock at Spa. The homologation program is based on the 385 hp Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport lightweight sports car.

Laurent Mercier and John Dagys contributed to this notebook

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.


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