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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Spa Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Thursday notebook from the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa paddock…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

***SRO Motorsports Group has revised its spectator policy for a third time, announcing on Thursday the formation of two bubbles after initial plans for three controlled spectator zones were scratched in favor of a single bubble earlier this week.

***Bubble 1 will now have access from La Source to the Kemmel Straight, while Bubble 2 covers the run from Les Combes to Pouhon. Anyone who purchased a ticket for Bubble 1 under the original plan will have access to the new Bubble 1. Those holding tickets to the original Bubble 2 or 3 will now have access to the new Bubble 2.

***Additionally, proof of a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be required for fans attending. Each bubble will have a maximum capacity of 5,000 spectators.

***SRO’s annual press conference, which typically confirms the following year’s calendars and other announcements, will not take place this year, per an SRO spokesperson. It was originally scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. local time.

***Herberth Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R carried out a ‘hardship lap’ at 7:25 p.m. on Thursday after suffering damage in a high-speed right-rear puncture and spin for Robert Renauer in Pre-Qualifying. Renauer told Sportscar365 that he heard a “big explosion” just after the Blanchimont apex and noted that some electrical lines had been severed. The team suspected that contact resulting in a spin for Daniel Allemann at Campus was the puncture’s root cause.

***Renauer has a busy weekend lined up, with the German driver tomorrow taking delivery of Herberth’s Porsche 911 RSR-19 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He will collect the car from Frikadelli Racing’s facility in Barweiler, Germany, where it is being wrapped. 

***Alessio Rovera and John Wartique have replaced James Calado and Lorenzo Bontempelli in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020. The changes were made earlier this week ahead of Thursday’s track activities.

***Rovera, who currently sits second in the FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am points standings, and Bronze-rated Wartique will team up with Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini in the Pro-Am class entry. Calado was rendered unavailable due to the fact that two Platinum-rated drivers cannot share a Pro-Am car with a Bronze (Louis Machiels) and a Bronze* (Wartique). Bertolini, the other Platinum, is a full-season pilot.

***Frederic Vervisch is on standby as a reserve driver in the Audi camp this weekend following the postponement of the FIA WTCR round at Adria Raceway that initially was set to clash with Spa.

***While “heartbroken” that the Belgian looks set to miss his home race, Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke told Sportscar365 that it would have been “disrespectful” to change its already announced lineups after Vervisch’s availability opened up.

***Former Lamborghini factory driver Dennis Lind is making his second start in a WRT-entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo after a one-off outing in the recent ADAC GT Masters round at the Red Bull Ring while filling in for Charles Weerts, who was taking his university exams at the time.

***Reinke indicated that his placement with one of its “strategic” entries is not by coincidence. “If he wouldn’t be an interesting driver he wouldn’t be in our lineup,” he told Sportscar365. “We saw his performance in the past and had a chance to contract him here for this race so we did.”

***Kelvin van der Linde is likely to be pulled from WRT’s lineup in the final two Endurance Cup races due to clashes with DTM. The latest comes following the rescheduling of the Norisring round to Oct. 8-10, the same weekend as the Endurance Cup season finale in Barcelona.

“The DTM calendar is quite packed towards the end of the year,” he told Sportscar365. “We got screwed a little bit with Norisring now coming in. If Norising stays, which we have to wait and see a bit with the COVID situation, then I’ll drop out of Nürburgring and Barcelona.”

***Van der Linde revealed that he was in line for potential LMP2 and GTE Pro drives in the 24 Hours of Le Mans prior to the rescheduling of the race to August, which also falls on a DTM weekend.

***The South African, who has been linked to Audi’s LMDh program, said a full season of LMP2 next year is “not realistic” due to the amount of date clashes but could look to again contest the Asian Le Mans Series next February.

***Track limits are being strictly enforced at Spa, in contrast to last year’s event where cars repeatedly ran off-circuit during the build-up sessions due to a shortage of judges posted around the track. Nine ‘judges of fact’ were used in 2020 until a further 11 judges were introduced in time for the race. This year’s edition has 18 track limits judges from the start.

***The Indianapolis 8 Hour has been confirmed for 2022 according to SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill, who told Sportscar365 that the event is on a multi-year contract.

***Questions into the race’s future were cast into doubt amid IMSA’s exploration of a long-distance endurance event at the Brickyard for as early as next year.

***Gill said that the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS calendar has been finalized but will likely be announced alongside the other SRO-run championships at a to-be-determined date.

***The new Ozarks International Raceway in Gravois Mills, Missouri is understood to be under consideration pending its homologation. It is believed to potentially replace Circuit of The Americas on the schedule.

***Orange1 FFF Racing Team is set to contest the remaining three-hour Endurance Cup rounds at the Nürburgring and Barcelona with two drivers, repeating its strategy for the first two races of the season. “The plan was to do the first round and see,” said team principal Andrea Caldarelli. “I said to Hiroshi [Hamaguchi] that he should try it one time, and then decide. I think he’s quite happy to do it.”

***Minichamps has produced a special 1:43 scale model of the No. 3 Schnabl Engineering Porsche 911 GT3 R, with all proceeds going to the victims of the recent German floods.

***The Michael Christensen, Dennis Olsen and Fred Makowiecki-driven entry has been a last-minute addition to the grid, replacing one of the two Frikadelli Racing entries that were withdrawn due to the impacts of the catastrophic floods.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.

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

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