24 hours of action on the Ardennes rollercoaster is what Orange1 Team GRT will have to face as they contest the 71st edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The fourth race meet of the season in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will be held at the 7.0-km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes, Belgium, 25th-28th July.
Since the start of the GT era at Spa’s 24-hour race in 2001, the field has never been this large with no less than 73 cars, which are practically identical from a technical point of view, fighting for victory. The division into classes is based only on driver classifications. Team GRT Grasser Racing will have two cars in two different classes.
The Pro class is the largest with 36 entrants. Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rolf Ineichen expect to have a tough fight for victory on their hands in their Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63 but are well prepared to do battle in view of their extensive experience, having had nine starts between them so far in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #19 is one of 13 cars contesting the Silver Cup and will be driven by Arno Santamato, Gerhard Tweraser, Lucas Mauron and Andrea Amici. While Santamato is making his third appearance at Spa’s 24 Hours, this is first time around for Tweraser, Mauron and Amici.
GRT Grasser Racing have already achieved two wins in class during the 2019 season
Team GRT Grasser Racing have already taken two wins in prestigious endurance races during the 2019 season. The crew of Team Principal Gottfried Grasser booked a win in class for the second consecutive time in the 24 Hours of Daytona. GRT Grasser Racing Team were also unbeatable in the 12 hours of Sebring.
The 24-hour race at Spa will be the fifth in a row for the team. Currently placed fourth in the team rankings of the Blancpain GT Series, the outfit will be intent on securing victory and on taking a good haul of points. After six/twelve hours of racing, points are awarded to the Top Nine from each class as follows 12, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Full points – 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 – go to the Top Ten after 24 hours of racing. In addition, the best manufacturer will be awarded points towards the ‘Coupe du Roi’ after six, twelve and 24 hours of racing.
The event will start early in the week on Wednesday, July 24th, at 6 pm with the drivers’ parade from the racetrack to the centre of Spa. There will be a 90-minute practice session at 11.10 am on Thursday July 25th. Pre-qualifying lasting 60 minutes follows at 6.05 pm. Should qualifying not take place, then results from pre-qualifying will determine the starting grid.
The four qualifying sessions – one for each driver – will take place on Thursday evening, starting at 8.10 pm and last 15 minutes each. The final qualifying time will be worked out from the average of the lap times of the three/four drivers sharing a car. After qualifying, there will be a 90-minute night practice starting at 9.50 pm, during which each driver has to post at least two timed laps.
A 30-minute warm-up session scheduled for Friday (26th July) will start at 5.40 pm to be followed by the Superpole (also 30 minutes long) at 6.30 pm. In this session, the fastest 20 cars from qualifying will fight it out to determine the order on the top ten rows of the grid. A driver has to be selected for each car and must post two timed laps. The pole-sitter gets one championship point.
Race start is on Saturday (27th July) at 4.30 pm. A livestream and live timing are available on the official website of the Blancpain GT Series https://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/. Eurosport will broadcast some of the race live.
Team Principal Gottfried Grasser: “It’s one of the biggest and most beautiful GT3 races in the world with an incredible atmosphere, and this will be our fifth time. We’ve always had a competitive car in recent years and have been among the contenders for the win on occasions. But we’ve been unlucky every year – we really pulled out all the stops. We’ve got two brand new vehicles that are extremely well prepared this year. We had good pace last time out at Zandvoort, so we’re confident. We intend to do all we can and try to find a good strategy. We’re hoping for a little bit of luck after all the misfortune of recent years and are looking forward to this European highlight of the year.”