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Spa Post-Race Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ post-race notebook from 24H Spa…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Even though Audi didn’t win their fourth Total 24 Hours of Spa in five years, it did claim the Coupe du Roi (‘King’s Cup’) for best manufacturer. The prize rewards the brand that scores the highest number of points, with the top three finishing cars from each manufacturer in Pro Cup, the top two in Pro-Am Cup and the best-placed Am Cup entry also getting points, an additional point will be given for pole in each class. In the end Audi beat Ferrari by four points, with Team Parker Racing’s Am Cup win also playing a vital role.

***Despite missing out on the Pro Am Cup win, it was all smiles for the drivers in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari. With the help of Francisco Guedes and Davide Rigon, Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron not only took second in class, but also managed to wrap up the Pro Am Cup drivers title of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series with one race to spare. 

***Only one of the four Bentley Continental GT3s made it to the end, with the No. 7 factory M-Sport entry recording its first-ever retirement after an accident by Andy Meyrick that sent the British driver to the hospital for observation overnight.

***The race was marred by several neutralizations, especially during the wet and busy opening hours. The safety cars intervened ten times, while the Full Course Yellow procedure was also used on a couple of occasions. More than four hours of the race were ran at reduced speed.

***Respecting the track limits proved to be a particular issue in 67th running of the race, especially as the stewards clamped down on the issue this year. More than 200 track limit decisions were taken during the week, not including verbal warnings and warning flags.

***Track conditions changed dramatically over the course of the race. Following the rain-soaked opening hours, the track dried and fog started to build up in the forest during the night, which hindered visibility in the early hours. Temperatures also dropped to only 4 degrees C at sunrise, with teams experiencing difficulties keeping heat in the car.

***Of the 57 starters, 32 cars were provisionally classified, even though a couple of them weren’t running anymore. Twenty seven GT3s crossed the finish line and made it to Parc Fermé on the old start-finish straight.

***The winning No. 46 BMW Z4 GT3 of Nick Catsburg, Markus Palttala and Lucas Luhr will not return to the Marc VDS Racing workshop. Chassis No. 1049 will instead head to the BMW museum, the car secured overall victory number 22 for the manufacturer at the Belgian endurance classic, 50 years after the first.

***Ferrari’s new 488 GTB GT3 car is expected to begin testing shortly, ahead of a 2016 race debut. The new-generation Italian sports car will not take part in any end-of-season races this year, unlike the path taken by Audi and Mercedes. The 488 GTE, meanwhile, is understood to have already begun its testing and development program.

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


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