Monday 29th July 2013


MERCEDES SLS TAKES VICTORY AT SPA 24-HOUR

PH reports back from another great Spa enduro


So after 24 hours, 564 laps and 2,468 miles, the HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS GT3 took victory at Spa over the weekend. It set a fastest lap of 2:21.861 came on lap 467 and finished just a single lap ahead of the Manthey Racing Porsche 997 GT3. An Audi R8 LMS completed the podium positions, a further five laps behind.

From 65 starters, 35 cars crossed the line
From 65 starters, 35 cars crossed the line
The victorious #84 SLS, driven by Bernd Schneider, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz, had been towars the front of the field after qualifying in third. During the murky and grim night stint, it was part of a four-way battle for the lead with a pair of Z4 GT3s run by Marc VDS Racing and the Manthey GT3.

However, once the BMWs retired with electrical and engine issues, it became a battle between the Porsche and Mercedes. When the 911 was penalised with a drive-through penalty, the result was nearly guaranteed; it became secure when the Porsche went down to five cylinders for the finish.

The first British team home was the GT Academy Nissan GT-R, prepared by RJN Motorsport and featuring Jann Mardenborough as one of its drivers; they finished seventh, third in the ProAm category. The Gulf Racing McLaren 12C came 14th (7th in Pro), followed by the Von Ryan 12C.

Manthey car one of two 997s in the top ten
Manthey car one of two 997s in the top ten
The 350-mile trek home gave plenty of time for some reflection on the Spa 24-Hour. I think it's the accessibility of such an event that makes it so captivating. The freedom to walk and watch almost anywhere allows for a wealth of viewing experiences, augmented by the breathtaking scenery of Spa. Moreover, considering the event from a wider perspective, it was within easy reach from Britain, even for a total novice who hadn't driven overseas before.

The Blancpain Endurance Series now moves on to Germany for the Nurburgring 1000km. Anyone for a road trip?


A big thanks to all at McLaren GT for their invitation and hospitality over the Spa weekend.


Photography: Frozenspeed / Blancpain Endurance Series

 

Author: Matt Bird
 
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