Marc VDS will field a third BMW Z4 GT3 at the 24 Hours of Spa. The Belgian outfit team up with Pascal Witmeur, a long term friend of Marc VDS and Belgian motorsport, for Marc VDS and Friends Racing Against Cancer.
Witmeur will drive, alongside fellow Belgians Marc Duez, Eric Van De Poele and Jean-Michel Martin, father of Maxime, who will also drive for Marc VDS.
The format of their race will be a little different to that of the rest of the field. Each driver will drive a single 24-minute stint during the race, one at the start, one on Saturday evening, one on Sunday at noon and the final 24 minutes of the race.
The shorter running time will equate to less running cost, and more proceeds from the appeal going directly to charity – the Belgian Foundation against Cancer.
“I’ve known Pascal for a very long time,” team principal Bas Leinders said. “He is a fantastic character, and his determination and drive showed through when he beat this illness.
“As soon as I heard about his idea for this car, I knew we had to make it happen. This is an extremely important cause, and I’m glad we found a way that would maximize the funds that go directly to the Belgian Foundation against Cancer.
“I know this is going to be a well-liked effort. All four drivers are extremely popular here, and I hope the fans show their support through the weekend.”
Witmeur has made 26 starts at the race, but retired rom racing after the 24 Hours of Spa in 2000 after the death of his young wife, from cancer.
Then, at the 2014 edition, he was advised of signs of his own cancer. He was diagnosed with two separate cancers, and beat them both. This will be his first return to the driving seat in 15 years.
“I have done this race 26 times, been on the podium, but then I stopped racing in 2000 when my wife died,” Witmeur said. “Last year I was working at the race, and I had a funny feeling in my neck. Three doctors told me to get checked, and I was found to have two cancers.
“Thankfully I beat it! I wanted to bring my Never Give Up attitude to racing, and help as many people as possible, and raise plenty of money and awareness for the Belgian Foundation against Cancer.
“Eric, Marc, Jean-Michel and me are old friends, with a lot of stories together – now I’d like to make some more, and help people along the way.”