Seven BMW Z4 GT3s line up at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours.
The 24 Hours of Spa is the highlight of the season in the Ardennes
Photo by: Ed Fahey
BMW will be well represented by another large contingent of customer racing teams at this year’s 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps (BE), the fourth round of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series.
Among them is Belgium’s Marc VDS Racing Team, which will send two BMW Z4 GT3s into action at the 24-hour race, with the goal of standing on the top step of the podium at the team’s home race and claiming the 22nd overall victory for BMW. The team has made a promising start to the 2012 season: Bas Leinders (BE), Markus Palttala (FI) and Maxime Martin (BE) have two wins and a second place to their name after three rounds of the Blancpain Endurance Series. The trio is determined to increase its lead in the overall standings at the 24-hour marathon. The DB Motorsport team will also line up with two BMW Z4 GT3s, while ROAL Motorsport, Vita4One Racing and Race Art will each run one car.
“The 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps is the absolute highlight of the season for many of our private BMW teams running the BMW Z4 GT3,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “There is great strength in depth in the field, so the Belgian fans can look forward to a thrilling race on a wonderful circuit. We have a few irons in the fire, and all our teams are hoping to challenge at the front of the field. However, it is always very difficult to make any predictions for a 24-hour race. Whatever happens, the BMW Z4 GT3 has already proven more than once this season that it is absolutely competitive. I am confident that will also be the case in Spa.”
The Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours is a permanent fixture on the international race calendar, and has a regular winner: BMW. To date, BMW cars have triumphed there no less than 21 times. The first overall victory came in 1965 courtesy of local favourites Pascal Ickx (BE) and Gérard Langlois (BE) at the wheel of a BMW 1800 ti. The most recent triumph was achieved in 1998 by Alain Cudini (FR), Marc Duez (BE) and Eric van de Poele (BE) with a BMW 320i. Last year, Claudia Hürtgen (DE), Edward Sandström (SE) and BMW works driver Dirk Werner (DE) finished runner-up in the Schubert Team’s BMW Z4 GT3.
From 09:45hrs local time on Thursday, the BMW drivers will leave the pit lane for the free practice session. This is followed in the evening by Pre-Qualifying and two 75-minute qualifying sessions. The positions at the front of the grid will be determined in the Super-Pole competition between 15:35 and 15:55hrs on Friday. After the warm-up on Saturday morning, the race is scheduled to start at 16:00hrs.
The BMW teams at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours:
#3 Marc VDS Racing Team
Markus Palttala (FI), Bas Leinders (BE), Maxime Martin (BE)
- 4 Marc VDS Racing Team
Bert Longin (BE), Henri Moser (CH), Mike Hezemans (NL)
- 29 ROAL Motorsport
Tom Coronel (NL), Stefano Colombo (IT), Edoardo Liberati (IT), Michela Cerruti (IT)
- 36 DB Motorsport
Jeroen den Boer (NL), Stéphane Lémeret (BE), Jeffrey van Hooydonck (NL)
- 37 DB Motorsport
Simon Knap (NL), Andrew Danyliw (CA), Jochen Habets (NL), Léon Rijnbeek (NL)
- 66 Vita4One Racing Team
Gregory Franchi (BE), Frank Kechele (DE), Mathias Lauda (AT)
- 70 Race Art
Nick Catsburg (GB), Roger Grouwels (NL), Jaap van Lagen (NL), Robert Nearn (GB)
Spa is a 24h that is worth a whole season for Davide Rigon
Enzo Ide preparing for his first 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps