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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Spa Wednesday Notebook

Sportscar365’s first notebook from the Total 24 Hours of Spa paddock…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***No on-track action was held for Total 24 Hours of Spa competitors today, although the traditional parade to Spa town center was held this evening. Cars left the circuit at around 6 p.m. local time and an autograph session took place between 7-8 p.m. ahead of the drivers’ briefing.

***Michael Meadows, who is surprisingly absent from AKKA ASP’s No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, will be back with the team for the Endurance Cup finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He’s been replaced by Fabian Schiller alongside Raffaele Marciello and Vincent Abril for this weekend, although an exact reason why is still unclear.

***Christina Nielsen is running as a Bronze-rated driver this weekend, having received special dispensation to be downgraded from her usual Silver ranking. The two-time IMSA GT Daytona champion is sharing a Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Jack Hawksworth, David Fumanelli and Richard Heistand.

***Grasser Racing Team has a brand new chassis for its No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo after a heavy crash for Mirko Bortolotti during the test days. The incident, which was one of a number to occur at Raidillon over the two days, is believed to have been caused by a mechanical issue.

***Audi Sport Team Sainteloc’s No. 25 chassis is the same car used by Montaplast by Land Motorsport in the Nürburgring 24. 2017 winners Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock are joined by last month’s N24 winner Fred Vervisch in the Sainteloc entry.

***Ezequiel Perez Companc’s absence from Spa is understood not to be as a result of his crash in the Paul Ricard 1000 km, with the Argentinian driver having made a recovery to return to racing at Zandvoort two weeks ago. He was left out of WRT’s lineup for the race and has failed to find another seat.

***WRT scored its best DTM results yet at Assen last weekend, with Jonathan Aberdein finishing fourth and sixth and Pietro Fittipaldi also registering a points-scoring finish in Race 2. It comes after a difficult start for the Belgian team’s maiden DTM campaign with a pair of customer Audi RS5 DTMs.

***Zak Brown is expected to attend the race this weekend. As reported by Sportscar365 last month, Brown’s United Autosports team has been evaluating a future GT3 program, most likely in the Blancpain GT Series.

***An all-Belgian driver lineup has been revealed for the special ‘Juliet’ car. Stephane Lemeret, Angelique Detavernier, Marc Duez and Loic Deman will share driving duties of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR, which is halfway between a GT3 and Cup car. All three regions of Belgium – Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia – are represented amongst the drivers.

***The CAMS Australian GT Championship is set to introduce SRO-style classes for different driver classifications next year, including Pro-Am, Silver and Am categories. SRO isn’t directly involved in Australian GT, although the series is one of many to use its BoP system, in a similar relationship to what SRO has with ADAC GT Masters.

***The Porsche 911 GT3 R that won February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has been purchased by Sydney-based Porsche racer Paul Tresidder. The EBM-run car, which was driven by Dennis Olsen, Dirk Werner and Matt Campbell, was previously on display in the Porsche Museum.

***KCMG has won the tender for the Formula 4 category in the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games later this year. The Hong Kong-based team will launch its car on Thursday at Hotel de l’Eau Rouge. KCMG has a pair of Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s competing for IGTC points this weekend.

***Further details of the inaugural TCR Spa 500 have been confirmed through the release of the supplementary regulations. The race, solely reserved for TCR cars, will last 500 laps or a maximum of 23 hours, whichever comes first. The Creventic-organized event is scheduled for Oct. 3-6.

***While ARC Bratislava isn’t present at Spa this year, the team finished second in last weekend’s Aurum 1006 km race at Palanga, Lithuania.

***On-track action at Spa resumes with Free Practice 1 at 11:10 a.m. (5:10 a.m. EDT) on Thursday. A Pre-Qualifying session will be held in the afternoon ahead of qualifying in the evening and a final Night Practice session.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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