Spa 2003 Miles - Preview
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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).
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
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…