Preparations are well underway ahead of this week’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, the 65th edition of the event, with a number of important changes to the entry list, live online streaming times and additional information for the week ahead being announced by SRO Motorsports Group today.
Since late last night teams have been setting up and preparing garages and awnings and tending to the cars that will do battle this weekend in the World’s biggest race dedicated exclusively to GT cars. Teams continue to work through the heat, close to 30°C today, as the Ardennes becomes a hive of activity before the cars take to the track on Thursday morning.
Entry List Updates:
Seven cars have withdrawn from the event for a mix of reasons, including: the #124 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini LP560-4 (PRO CUP), the #8 Haribo Racing Team Porsche 997 GT3 R (PRO-AM CUP), the #78 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini LP560-4 (PRO-AM CUP), both the #40 and #42 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS ultras and two entrants from the Gentlemen Trophy, the #54 Mtech Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and the #76 MRS GT Racing entered McLaren MP4-12C.
Further revisions to the entry list see the inclusion of double FIA GT Champion, Matteo Bobbi, in the #70 SMP Ferrari 458 Italia (PRO-AM CUP). The Team Principal of Vita4One Racing Team Italy joins Russian pair Alexey Basov and Alexander Skyrabin and fellow Italian, Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The Black Falcon team has amended its drivers for the weekend; Andrii Lebed remains in the #19 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 (PRO-AM CUP), Brits Oliver Morley and Duncan Tappy are out, replaced by the FIA GT HTP Gravity Charouz Pro-Am pairing of Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen. They will be joined by Francesco Castellacci.
There are changes afoot at Marc VDS too; Jörg Müller will be replaced by unrelated fellow BMW factory racer, Dirk Müller in the #14 Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 (PRO CUP).
Dutch driver Jos Menten and Belgian driver Henk Haane will join the established duo of Marc A. Hayek, Blancpain President and CEO, and Peter Kox in the #24 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini LP560-4. The continental foursome have their sights firmly fixed on taking home class honours in the Blancpain Endurance Series’ blue-riband event on this the team’s debut in the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Elsewhere, Mikhail Aleshin, the 2010 World Series by Renault Champion who was due to drive the #71 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia (PRO CUP) has moved into the vacant seat of the sister car #73 to complete an all-Russian driver line-up alongside Devi Markozov, Daniil Move, and Alexander Frolov. The #71 Ferrari now becomes a PRO-AM CUP entry with Maurizio Mediani and Mika Salo joining Russian duo Victor Shaitar and Kirill Ladygin.
Italian team, ROAL Motorsport have announced an entirely Italian driver roster, with Luca Rangoni joining Michele Cerruti and Stefano Comandini in the team’s BMW Z4 GT3. The highly experienced Rangoni has competed several times in GT racing during his career, and arrives fresh after almost a month since his last WTCC event.
Attendees of the Total 24 Hours of Spa will be able to witness a fascinating challenge between a Marc VDS Racing Car and the Moto 2 bike of Scott Redding, the youngest motorcycle GP winner in history and a leading contender for the Moto2 World Championship title.
In addition, and a first for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, SRO and Endurance-Info are creating a public access viewpoint via garage #25 in the F1 pit lane to enable fans to get an understanding of the pit action during the race. SRO continues to try to bring fans closer to the sport they love.
While the field take to the track for the first time on Thursday, Wednesday afternoon (16:00 CET) welcomes the annual parade, which culminates in the Place Royale in the centre of Spa. This event gives the public their first glimpses of the drivers and cars that will take on the 24-hour challenge later in the week, building excitement and anticipation for even the most seasoned motorsport fan. This year the parade will also include cars from the BRCC and Lamborghini support series too.
As usual, a fantastic array of events aimed at the motoring enthusiast will take place off track during the weekend. From Saturday morning the Lotto Village throws open its doors and welcomes the public to a number of manufacturer displays, the Pirelli Experiment, and the now legendary Bikini Car Wash Show. Near the famous Raidillon corner a variety of entertainment can be found for the younger members of the audience in the Kids Village, the highlight arguably being a buggy circuit created just for children.
A special exhibition will also be on display over the course of the weekend as the ROFGO Museum collection of race cars is displayed the circuit. For just 15€ per person, race goers can see a beautiful selection of eighteen iconic race cars. The collection ranges from a rare example of the Ford GT40, through to a rare selection of Mirage racers (M1, M2, GR7, GR8), to Formula 1 cars, the McLaren M14 and M19a and the Brabham BT26 as driven by Belgian star, Jacky Ickx.
Also included are a number of iconic sportscars, the McLaren F1 GTR and GTR Longtail, the Porsche 908/3, a delightful 917-k, a Porsche Kremer K8, the venerable Aston Martin DBR9 GT1, right up to recent LMP cars that competed at Le Mans, the Lola Aston Martin LMP1 and the Audi R8 LMP1. Finishing the exhibition are the fearsome 1972 McLaren M20 Can Am entry and the extraordinary 1968 Howmet TX prototype, the world’s only turbine engine powered race winner. The collection is located on the second floor of the Formula 1 pit building via staircase four.
An important part of the Total 24 Hours of Spa weekend is the musical entertainment that provides fans with the energy to keep up with the track action at night. Headlining the event on Saturday is everyone’s favourite Party Rocker, REDFOO from LMFAO, and Ice Kream will be back following his success last year to whip the crowd into a frenzy; DJ ND, Davy D and MC Flex will all perform throughout the event, helping to build the atmosphere that makes the Total 24 Hours of Spa so enjoyable and successful.
Ticket News and Streaming Information:
Tickets are still available for the event and are on sale from www.ticketnet.be and general entry tickets can also be won at Total petrol stations across Belgium in the ‘Scratch and Win’ competition; prices range from 15 € - 65 €. Fans unable to attend the event in person can follow all of the action via Facebook and Twitter, with live streaming also available in French and Dutch on www.total24hours.com and in English on www.blancpain-endurance-series.com. Friday’s Superpole will be the first televised session running from 18:15-18:35 CET, then the race build-up on Saturday begins at 16:00, running until 23:00 with only a 60-minute break at 20:00. Action then resumes on Sunday morning at 08:00 CET and runs until 17:00 with a 90-minute break in transmission at 12:00.
Blancpain Endurance Series - Total 24 Hours of Spa
Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, 4.35-mile, 20-turn race circuit, Francorchamps, Belgium
July 25th – July 28th, 2013
Blancpain Endurance Series: Round #4 of 5
Race Duration: 1 x 24 hours
Total 24 Hours of Spa - Online Broadcast:
Streams available in French and Dutch on www.total24hours.com and in English on www.blancpain-endurance-series.com.
Streaming Schedule (All times CET):
Friday 26th July 2013: 18:15 – 18:35 CET
Saturday 27th July 2013: 16:00 – 20:00 & 21:00 – 23:00 CET
Sunday 28th July 2013: 08:00 – 12:00 & 13:30 – 17:00 CET
Event Schedule (All times CET):
Wednesday 24th July 2013:
Parade Spa: 16:00 – 19:25
Thursday July 25th 2013:
Free Practice: 09:45 – 11:15
Pre-Qualifying: 18:15 – 19:15
Qualifying: 20:10 – 21:25
Night Qualifying: 21:55 – 23:10
Friday 26th July 2013:
Superpole: 18:15 – 18:35
Saturday 27 July 2013:
Warm-up: 09:05 – 09:25
Race start: 16:30
Sunday, 28th July 2013:
Race finish: 16:30