Proximus 24 Hours Test-Day

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 test day.

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. But 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 Poushelon 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, Lémeret 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 Corvette,


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 made in 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 the experience 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.”
© Joost Custers


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