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Belgian Team : Ambitious Red Devils

18 July 2014

There might be fewer Belgian drivers at the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa than usual, but their ambitions remain very high. Ambitions that are shared by a number of Belgian squads.

In Pro Cup four ‘Red Devils’ will defend their chances, at the wheel of four different cars. Nico Verdonck played his trump card long before the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, by joining HTP Motorsport at the start of the season. Verdonck is sharing a Mercedes SLS with Swiss driver Harold Primat and German Bernd Schneider. Last year, the latter was one of the drivers on the winning SLS.

Laurens Vanthoor and Maxime Martin will feel well at ease during the race weekend in the Ardennes, since they are competing for teams they know like the back of their hands. Whether in sprint or endurance, Laurens Vanthoor is one of the pillars of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. Thanks to its excellent performances, the squad enjoys the support of Audi Sport and sees its driver line-up strengthened by a couple of factory drivers.

The same goes for BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS and BMW Motorsport. Marc van der Straten’s team has developed a strong relationship with the sports department of the Munich constructor, which is why the team from Charleroi can count on the services of several factory drivers. Maxime Martin is spearheading the team, for Bas Leinders has decided not to drive one of the team’s BMW Z4. That way he can fully focus on his role of team manager.

The fourth Belgian musketeer in Pro Cup is relatively new to the world of endurance racing. Jérôme D'Ambrosio, M-Sport Bentley might not have the most experience in the matter, but that will not stop him in aiming for a podium finish at least. Furthermore, his Bentley Continental GT3 was developed by a Belgian engineer, Christian Loriaux.

Belgium is well represented in Pro Cup then, and the same goes for the Pro-Am Cup. Seven Belgian drivers and two Belgian teams hope to carry the black-yellow and red colours to the podium. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT joins this category for the first time this year, since Gentlemen Trophy-drivers Jean-Luc Blanchemain and Christian Kelders are joined by Fred Bouvy and Vincent Radermecker, moving their Audi R8 LMS ultra to the Pro-Am Cup.

Wolfgang Reip will try to improve on his third place finish of last year, again at the wheel of a powerful Nissan GT-R from the British workshops of RJN. Louis Machiels, a regular frontrunner in the category and former winner in Pro-Am, is again joined by his Dutch comrade Niek Hommerson and two italians, Andrea Bertolini and Marco Cioci. Local boy Michael Albert is also driving a Ferrari, entered by Sport Garage. And last but not least there is Frédéric Vervisch, aiming to shine at the wheel of a McLaren MP4-12C of Boutsen Ginion Racing, the Belgian squad led by Olivier and Olivia Lainé.

Finally, in Gentlemen Trophy two drivers carry the Belgian flag. The quick and experienced Stéphane Lemeret shares a Delahaye Racing Porsche 997 GT3 R with Pierre-Etienne Bordet and Alexandre Viron, while Bernard Delhez is aiming for the win at the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia of Sport Garage.

Nico Verdonck (#84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3): “I think that together with Harold Primat and Bernd Schneider we are one of the most homogenous teams on the starting grid. That is a major asset in an endurance race, just like it is very important that the team makes the right calls concerning the pit stops and driver changes. I think HTP Motorsport has proven last year that it is up to the task.

Maxime Martin (#66 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3): “I have been racing at the Total 24 Hours of Spa since 2006, so it is definitely my home race. I think I have a good chance alongside my team-mates Augusto Farfus and Jörg Müller, as they have both experience and speed – everything you need to be successful in an endurance race.

Wolfgang Reip (#80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan): “I am really looking forward to the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Not only is it my home race, but I also performed well in a recent British GT round at the Belgian track. If our car is as reliable as it was in 2013, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will be, we should be able to do at least as good as last year. Our Am drivers are excellent, so we should aim for at least a podium finish in the Pro-Am Cup. If we can add a top-10 overall to that result, that would be magnificent.”

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Practical information - Total 24 Hours of Spa

When: 23 - 27 July 2014

Tickets: from 15 euros, 4-days pass : 30 euro general entry, 60 euro paddock entry
Children of 12 years old or younger, accompanied by an adult, will have free entry to the track.

New this year: a Family Pack, consisting out of four general entries and paddock for two adults and two adolescents (12-18 yrs.). One ticket for four persons, age will be checked at the entry gates.

Race Week

Wednesday 23 July : Parade, 16:00

Thursday 24 July :  Pre qualifying, 18:40
                               Qualifying, 20:45
                               Night Qualifying , 22:30

Friday 25 July : Super Pole, 18:45

Saturday 26 July : Start of the Total 24 hours of Spa,16:30

Information and reservation: www.total24hours.com / www.blancpain-gt-series.com

Facebook : Total 24 hours of Spa / Twitter : @24hoursofspa / @blancpaingt

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Blancpain

Over 275 years of tradition in motion :

Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the watch brand bearing his name is the oldest in the world. Blancpain is currently engaged to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking and to passing on exceptional expertise from one generation to the next through constant investment in human resources, production facilities and research. This approach is its strength and the expression of our long-term vision, even though it goes against the tide of a certain tendency to seek immediate profit. From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Over the past nine years, the Manufacture has indeed developed no less than 32 new calibres.

Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the sportive L-evolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection, the high complication from Le Brassus collection and the Women models.

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Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier

Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.

Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past.The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.

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Total

With operations in more than 130 countries, Total is a top-tier international oil company and a world-class natural gas operator, refiner and petrochemical producer. Our 97,000 employees leverage their acknowledged expertise to discover, produce, refine and convert oil and gas to provide products and services for customers worldwide. We are also broadening our offer by developing energies that can partner oil and gas — today, solar energy and tomorrow, biomass.

In Belgium, our Group possesses a long history as an energy supplier and is mainly active in the chemical and refining sectors, together with marketing and service activities, employing some 4500 people. As the market leader, Total Belgium is known to respond to its clients’ needs, and brings innovative solutions through its products and services. Total helps its clients to reduce consumption in a better and more efficient way, through a varied range of products like the Excellium fuel, the Fuel Economy lubricants, fuel oil and wood pellets for heating, aviation fuel, super, diesel, LPG, asphalt, lubricants…

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SRO Motorsports Group

SRO Motorsports Group was founded by Stephane Ratel and has specialised in the promotion, support and organisation of many national and international motorsport series since 1995.

In 2014, SRO promotes several championships and series, such as the Blancpain GT Series with the Blancpain Sprint Series and the Blancpain Endurance Series, including the iconic Total 24 hours of Spa, the Cooper Tires British F3 Championship, the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and has various franchise agreements including the GT4 European Series.

SRO has offices in London, Paris and Liège.
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