Spa-Francorchamps today hosted the annual and traditional FIA-test
day before the Spa 24 hours at the end of July. No less than 43
cars drove at least a few laps, an unprecedented number for the
Fastest today was the Vitaphone Maserati of Davies/Biagi/Vosse
in 2.17.207, almost 3 seconds slower than last’s year time
set by a Larbre 550. Weather conditions though were far from
ideal: humid and hot and a shower disturbing the afternoon session.
whilst times were slower, the GT1 cars were very close together.
All cars lapped within 1.6 seconds.
Not only the pace of GT1 was slower than last year,
the low entry numbers in GT1 – 8 today and only 10 of them on the provisional
entry-list – were a surprise. There are no entries from Oreca,
Luc Alphand, Team Modena, B-Racing or Balfe Motorsport…
Two significant cars though made their public debut. The Porsche
997 GT3-RSR and the Duller BMW Z4. The Porsche already showed its
tremendous potential by going round 9th quickest and first non-GT1.
The car is actually entered in G2 (the national GT-class). A time
of 2.23.940 is good and the presence of a strong Porsche staff
could still mean some gain before the race comes around. Two of
these hugely significant new machines are due to contest the race
numbered - #911 and #997
There’s a single car entry too from the Spyker
Squadron and GT3 runners from BMS Scuderia Italia (1 DBRS9) and
Racing (all three of their Viper Competition Coupes)
There are some strong driver line-ups planned too
with David Brabham and Thomas Enge joining BMS, Kurt Mollekens
goes to GLPK,
and Fässler share the wheel of the Phoenix Aston with Piccini
and Deletraz, Belgians van de Poele and Vosse get a fair chance
to win at home, each aboard a different Vitaphone Maserati.
Other drivers did some lappery today, but still
have to be confirmed for the race including Chris Buncombe, Joël
Camathias and Porsche Supercup ace Geofffroy Horion on the SRT
Marc Duez (Duller BMW Z4): “The car still
needs lots of development, such as the gearbox, the brakes and
the engine, but
the chassis is great.”
Chris Buncombe (SRT Corvette): “This is a
fantastic car to drive, lots of torque and better aerodynamics
than I thought.
I hope to confirm my seat as soon as possible.”
Bert Longin (left) (GLPK Corvette): “The
car is far from perfect and this could be due to the jump we
Germany last weekend.
We were already faster here with our Belcar C5-R.”
Stéphane Lémeret (Phoenix Aston): (Before taking
the wheel) “I think my chance to start in this car is about
90%.” (After his stint) “Make it 99,9%…”
Van de Poele (Vitaphone Maserati): “I hope
to win again and honestly I think we have a fair chance. We have
and the car still reliable and fast.”
François Verbist (Verbist Porsche 996 GT3-RS): “We
bought this 2003 RS from A-Level where it never drove a race. Zolder
and Spa 24 hours are scheduled for this year.”