A mere two weeks separate us from the biggest as also the longest GT race in the world: the 24 Hours of Spa. The endurance race takes place on 27th and 28th July on one of the world’s most mythical circuits and taking into account the presence of all the most prestigious GT makes, Aston Martin celebrating its 100th year will also be strongly represented. Aston Martin Brussels by GPR Racing will be entering two Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3, one in the Pro class and the other in the Pro/Am class. Both cars have one sole ambition: to battle it out through to the last meters for victory. In the car boasting the symbolic #100 start number we find the red-hot winner of the LM P2 class of Le Mans, Bertrand Baguette, teamed up with the highly experienced British official Aston Martin drivers Darren Turner and Jamie Campbell-Walter. In the car with start number #89, in fact the only car present at Spa with a full Belgian crew, we find Pierre Grivegnée, Sarah Bovy, Bert Redant and Michael Schmetz. This car will also come into its own in another way, seeing the Aston Martin Vantage V12 is a true Art Car.
The 24 Hours of Spa has now reached its 65th edition, 65 editions that were not always reserved solely for GT cars. For many years the so-called Touring Cars battled it out for victory in the Belgian Ardennes, until back in 2001 Stéphane Ratel and his SRO company took over the organisation within the FIA GT framework, making it a championship solely reserved for GT cars. In the meanwhile the event has for the third time been incorporated in the Blancpain Endurance Series calendar, the equally successful brainchild of SRO for GTs and the outcome is an entry list of more than 70 cars, all in the same GT3 class, which is something quite unique in the history of motorsport. It goes without saying that Aston Martin, especially in this jubilee year, definitely needed to be present at such a prestigious event. This British make took the laurels once back in 1948 at Spa, thanks to the British drivers Jock Horsfall and Leslie Johnson. On the legendary Spa circuit, some 15 kilometres long, they drove their Aston Martin DB1 2 litre to victory. On 27th and 28th July the drivers will be racing on the modern circuit, today 7 kilometres long, but after 65 years following the last victory there will be great hunger to finish up front once again….
#100 Pro category – Bertrand Baguette (B) / Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB) / Darren Turner (GB)
Bertrand Baguette: “This is my second participation with the team in Spa, the first in the Pro category, in fact a category with nothing but potential winners. It goes without saying that the battle will be extremely tough, right from the first few meters through to the chequered flag, and this during 24 hours. At the end of last season I had the opportunity to compete with the team and the car in another European GT championship and there we were successful. So why should we not repeat that performance once again?”
#89 Pro/Am category – Sara Bovy (B / Pierre Grivegnée / Bert Redant (B) / Michael Schmetz (B)
Sarah Bovy: “For Aston Martin Brussels by GPR Racing I compete with Michael Schmetz, Pierre Grivegnée and Bert Redant. The aim is to finish as high as possible in our category, namely the Pro/Am. Notwithstanding the difficult climatic conditions the first meters covered with the Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 during the test day turned out pretty well.”
The 24 Hours of Spa starts in the late afternoon on Wednesday 24th July, with the parade from the circuit to the centre of Spa. Timed laps are on the programme throughout the whole of Thursday and Friday evening will determine who will be first to take the start on Saturday at 16.30hrs. See you then!