Spa 2003 Miles - Preview

a) The Concept
This weekend, we’ll have the fourth ‘24 hour’ race in Belgium and there is still one to come (24 hours of ‘Deux Chevaux’). Even if the race runs in good weather, it will last approximately 22 hours.

In 2001, the organizers of the original 24 Hours of Spa decided to turn a page and to become part of the FIA-GT championship. This meant that the original participants, the Touring cars (and their drivers) had nowhere to go anymore. Besides, a lot of Belgian drivers were out of the contest for a seat in this restyled 24 hours. Seats became more expensive and, let’s face it, the level also rose considerably, making it difficult for some amateurs to take part.

At the end of last year, Christian Lahaye, former organizer of the Belgian Procar series (Touring Car Championship) decided to reinstall the ‘old fashioned’ race. The 24 hours of the Nurburgring delivered inspiration, even if GTs are not allowed this weekend at Spa, and the real amateur atmosphere should now see a revival.

And this 2003 miles concept seems to be a success with between 45 and 50 cars on the grid for a first edition.

b) The Classes
The cars allowed are of course Touring Cars, but the organizers have an open mind. Group N, Group N+, Group A, Belcar TC, Silhouette, ETCC… everything is allowed.

There are two divisions and a number of sub-classes:
- Division 1 (cars with tubeframe chassis)
o Class 1A: engines from 0-3500cc
o Class 1B: engines from 3500cc and more
- Division 2 (regular race cars)
o Class 2A: 0-1400cc
o Class 2B: 1401-1600cc
o Class 2C: 1601-2000cc
o Class 2D: 2001-3500cc
o Class 2E: 3501cc and more.

c) The Competitors
If we take a look on the entry list, we see a lot of well-known, mainly Belgian names. But even some foreign teams and drivers will make it to Spa this weekend.

The favourite squad for this weekend’s race must be the German Duller Motorsport. The team runs four BMWs. The #2 Red Bull BMW M3 E46 GTR is the big gun, with Dieter Quester, Phillip Peter, Vincent Vosse and Christian Wolff behind the wheel. Image from btcseries.be

dailysportscar.com

This team should even be a worthy competitor in the GT race. The #1 is a Compac, with a new M3 engine, driven by Redhouse-Bouvy-Quester Jr-Handkammer and might be a surprise. The #33 and #34 are outsiders to me.

The main opposition should come from some Belgian teams, divided into two main groups.

First of all, some Belcar regulars will try to give Duller a hard time. Reigning TB champion Eric Qvick decided to enter his superb Mini (#71). Steve Van Bellingen will try to have his revenge for his retirement after 22 hours during the 24 hours of Zolder, so he enters his BMW 320 STW (#8). Another Belcar regular is Gino Kenis; he drives an E36 M3, but even in this older car, Gino could be the surprise, certainly in case of a wet race. The other part of the resistance should come from the Silhouette Cars. We even have a world scoop with the Jaguar X-Type Silhouette (Thiry-David ‘Lister’ Sterckx-Dermont-Heydens).

dailysportscar.comFrench driver and team owner Marc Lupant enters three BMW Silhouettes, one driven by Slaus-Radermecker-Stelandre and the boss himself: really a team to watch. And last but not least, Audi Belgium enters an Audi A4 for Hemroulle-Verbergt and Duchateau. One more car deserves some lines: the all American #38 SRR Honda Civic-R in the hands of Hein-Green-Halsmer-Schmitt.

All the rest are those who make the race a real interest. They all have a good chance finishing in the top 10, if they have a trouble free. Regular reports will follow with special attention to the little dsc Polo, of Bob Winter, Mark Van Hoof and Pascal Nelissen Grade…
Joost Custers

 

Contents Copyright © dailysportscar.com. All Rights Reserved.