After a festive parade in the streets of Spa on Wednesday evening the racing action for the Total 24 Hours of Spa started this morning, with free practice. All 66 cars immediately took to the track and the 7-kilometre long Ardennes circuit was very busy throughout the session.
In the Pro Cup category, the BMW Z4 #4 of the Marc VDS Racing Team, the Porsche 997 GT3 R #150 of Manthey Racing and the Audi R8 LMS Ultra #6 of Phoenix Racing were immediately on a good pace.
Each team went through an accurate preparation programme, so setting quick times was not a priority this morning. Halfway through the session, the fastest car on track was the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of HTP Motorsport, in 2’22’’118.
When the session was red-flagged five minutes prior to the end – after the McLaren #15 of Boutsen Ginion came to a premature stop – Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider were still on top of the rankings. They finished the session ahead of the BMW Z4 driven by Markus Palttala, Henri Moser and Nicky Catsburg and the Porsche of Olivier Pla, Nicolas Armindo, Eric Clément and Robert Renauer, quickest in the PRO-AM Cup.
Three Ferrari 458 Italia dominated the Gentlemen Trophy, with Pablo Paladino, Paolo Andreasi, Gaetano Ardagna Perez and Giuseppe Ciro (Ferrari 458 Italia Kessel Racing #111) leading the cars entered by Sport Garage (#53) and SOFREV ASP (#20).
An engine blew on the Porsche 997 GT3 R #911 of Prospeed Competition. However, the car should be ready for pre-qualifying at 18:15.