For the fourth time, Audi was the first car across the line in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the world’s biggest GT3 race and the undisputed season highlight of the Blancpain GT Series. After 546 laps of the 7.004 kilometres long Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, German driver Christopher Haase drove the #25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc Audi R8 LMS across the finish line to secure victory for himself and team-mates Markus Winkelhock and Jules Gounon.
With second place for the #8 car, Bentley Team M-Sport made up for its misfortune in last year’s race at Spa. The #90 Akka ASP Mercedes rounded out the top three with the second consecutive podium finish at Spa for the French team. Mercedes-AMG took Pro-Am class honours with a strong performance by the #16 Black Falcon team while the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari led almost throughout to score a commanding Am class win. The Belgian Speedlover team won the national class with its #991 Porsche.
With 63 cars taking the start and no fewer than 36 of them competing for overall honours, there was no doubt that this year’s running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa had one of the strongest entries ever in the history of the Belgian endurance racing classic. Qualifying had already made it clear that a fierce battle could be expected among the teams representing the world’s most prestigious sports car brands, and the race duly delivered.
Pro-Am honours for Black Falcon
The #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin led the Pro-Am class for the opening hours of the race, but a spirited drive with consistently fast lap times resulted into good progress for the #16 Black Falcon Mercedes that then moved up into the lead of the class in the evening and held on to its class lead throughout the race. Its drivers Oliver Morley, Miguel Toril, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Maximilian Götz finished twelfth overall, one lap ahead of class-runners-up Ahmad Al Harthy, Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam and Euan Hankey with the Aston Martin. For Adam and Al Harty, the points scored at Spa were already enough to seal an early Blancpain GT Series Pro-Am drivers’ title and to rack up the title win for the Oman Racing Team with TF Sport as well. Third place in class went to the #961 Spirit of Race Ferrari with Alex Demerdjian, Nicolas Minassian, Davide Rizzo and Toni Vilander.
Am-Cup: Kessel Racing Ferrari throughout
A faultless performance by Swiss team Kessel Racing and its drivers Marco Zanuttini, Jacques Duyver, David Perel and Niki Cadei in the #888 Ferrari 488 GT3 was rewarded with a commanding class win, the team’s second Am class victory in a row in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The team led in class almost from lights to flag and won with a margin of four laps from the #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari of Pierre Ehret, Rino Mastronardi, Patrick van Glabeke and Gabriele Lancieri. German team Walkenhorst Motorsport took the final podium slot with its #36 BMW driven by David Schiwietz, Stef Vancampenhoudt, Henry Walkenhorst and Ralf Oeverhaus.