Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BES: Nine Audi R8 LMS ultra on Spa 24 Hours provisional entry list

By Tarek Ramchani

The SRO (Stéphane Ratel Organisation) unveiled the provisional entry list for the upcoming Total 24 Hours of Spa today. The race itself is round four, and the stellar event, of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
An impressive full field of 72 cars in three classes. The Audi Sport customer racing squad will be represented by no less than nine Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, from four different teams. Big change this year, as all the Audi teams are privately entered and no more factory efforts.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT were the 2011 race winners, and the reigning BES champions. The Belgian squad will have four cars at Spa. The three regulars cars in the Blancpain Endurance Series will be joined by an additional car for this prestigious endurance event. All four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars are listed in the upper Pro-Cup class, with very strong driver line-ups. WRT will be among the big favourites for the race win. The team is also aiming to collect vital points for the regular BES standings.

#0 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Rahel Frey - Matt Halliday - Niki Mayr-Melnhof
#1 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Stephane Ortelli - Laurens Vanthoor - Rene Rast
#2 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Frank Stippler - Christopher Mies - André Lotterer
#13 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Edward Sandström - Matthias Ekström - Marcel Fässler

The second Audi entry in the Pro-Cup class is from Phoenix Racing. The German team are the defending race champions, after their maiden overall Audi victory in the Ardennes last year. Unlike team WRT, Phoenix Racing is entering their regular BES cars, with the same driver line-up. The team has had a mixed season so far, with ups and downs in the first three races. Since 2009 Phoenix Racing has been at all of the Spa 24 Hour races with the Audi R8 LMS / ultra.

#6 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Harold Primat - Oliver Jarvis - Christopher Haase
#16 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Enzo Ide - Anthony Kumpen - Markus Winkelhock

Sainteloc Racing from France will have a single Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Pro-Cup class. For now two drivers have been confirmed for the #40 Audi R8 LMS ultra, Gregory Guilvert and Christian Mamerow. Sainteloc Racing will have also a second car in the Pro-Am class. It is interesting to note that Sainteloc Racing (for now) will not enter an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Gentleman Trophy.

#40 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Cup): Gregory Guilvert - Christian Mamerow
#42 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Am): David Hallyday - Romain Monti - Ronnie Latinne

The fourth Audi team is a familiar one, United Autosports. The Anglo-American team will enter Spa 24 with a single Audi R8 LMS ultra (2012 spec). The car is doing very well in the British GT Championship, currently fighting for the title. The #125 car is listed in the Pro-Am class.

#125 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Pro-Am): Mark Patterson - Alain Li - Will Bratt

Photo credit: Blancpain Endurance Series / United Autosports