Mercedes SLS takes victory at Spa 24-hour


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

 

Comments (10) Join the discussion on the forum

  • dinkel 29 Jul 2013

    "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?"

    >>> Good call: Spa is an experience. The Nurburgring 1000km seems to be a riot.

  • Ahonen 30 Jul 2013

    Will there be a proper report at some stage? It would be interesting to hear more about the atmosphere, crowd, live music, weather etc.

  • jeremyc 30 Jul 2013

    Ahonen said:
    Will there be a proper report at some stage? It would be interesting to hear more about the atmosphere, crowd, live music, weather etc.
    Did you read Matt's blog that covered all this (and is linked in the article)?

  • Ahonen 30 Jul 2013

    jeremyc said:
    id you read Matt's blog that covered all this (and is linked in the article)?
    Ah, that's more like it.

  • vernz 30 Jul 2013

    We have just got back from the race after missing Le Mans this year due to other commitments.

    It was a really good event but it's very different from Le Mans....

    Prior to going we looked for a camp site at the circuit and couldn't find anything and in the end found a really nice site (68 Euro's for 4 nights) about 2 miles away from the Blanchimont entrance gate. There was no normal parking allowed inside this entrance but at 10 euro's for parking elsewhere, we just parked (along with everyone else) on the quiet road outside.

    The racing was great and Spa is obviously a fantastic circuit, with good/great viewing opportunities The atmosphere is nothing like 'La Sarthe' though. Forget the 'road trip' down with loads of Brits in TVR's etc. We saw very few Brits and most were just families on holidays.

    Pros:

    1) Nice campsite away from the noise and hassle (clean showers!)
    2) Excellent race program with good support races also
    3) Brilliant circuit and short enough to see cars more frequently
    4) Great choice of GT cars on show
    5) Easy journey from Calais with no tolls
    6) Cheap tickets and camping

    Cons:

    1) Missed the 'Le Mans' type of road trip down
    2) Very hard to follow race at circuit (no broadcasts in English/no big screens)
    3) No apparent choice for onsite camping
    4) Very few Brits (not always a bad thing!!)
    5) Having to drive to the circuit each day

    Will we go again.....possibly.....but if we do, we will probably get a hotel, as there doesn't seem much point in camping, if you still need to drive to the circuit each day.

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