Audi Sport customer racing wants to continue its winning streak at the 74th edition of the Spa 24 Hours, from July 28 to 31. The goal: The R8 LMS is already aiming for its third overall 24-hour victory this year. In addition, valuable points and decisive championship positions in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS are at stake for drivers and teams in various classes. No less than twelve Audi R8 LMS entries are set to compete in the world’s biggest GT3 race in the Belgian Ardennes.
“Our endurance racing season has been excellent with two 24-hour race wins so far,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The performances of the customer team WRT in Dubai in January and Audi Sport Team Phoenix at the Nürburgring in June are already outstanding at the year’s halfway point. Now, we want to continue our success story at Spa, where we achieved overall victories in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017.” Two of the teams that were successful there – WRT and Saintéloc Racing – are back with Audi Sport. Adding to this are the teams Attempto Racing, Boutsen Racing and Tresor by Car Collection.
The endurance classic in the Ardennes, held for the first time in 1924, is a home race for two teams: Boutsen Racing comes from Wavre, about an hour and a half by car from Spa. Led by Olivia Boutsen and Olivier Lainé, the outfit has had many participations in the Spa 24 Hours. For the first time, the team is fielding an Audi for their privateers Adam Eteki, Benjamin Lessennes, Antoine Leclerc and Karim Ojjeh in the gold class.
The WRT team from Baudour, around 180 kilometers from the track, achieved Audi’s first victory at Spa in 2011 and another in 2014. And exactly 20 years ago, team principal Vincent Vosse, who was still a racing driver at the time, personally won the 24-hour race. The five driver line-ups that the Belgian and his team are relying on include two pro squads from Audi Sport Team WRT. Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts form a strong combination. At the 2021 Spa 24 Hours, the trio drove a tremendous comeback race from the back of the grid at the start to finish runner-up and they also dominated the GT World Challenge Europe season opener at Imola at the beginning of April. Nico Müller and Frédéric Vervisch are taking part with prominent support: Nine-time motorcycle world champion, Valentino Rossi, is quickly learning his new trade after switching to car racing, not least thanks to the two professionals from Audi. A respectable fifth place overall in a field of 53 participants at Le Castellet in early June was the trio’s best result so far this season. WRT is currently second in the endurance team’s standings, just one point behind the leaders.
The other three cars from the WRT team also have clear goals: Benjamin Goethe, Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer and Thomas Neubauer are second in the Silver standings, only two points behind. Their teammates Finlay Hutchison, Diego Menchaca and Lewis Proctor follow in fourth place. The brothers Arnold and Maxime Robin are fifth in the gold standings with Ryuichiro Tomita and are sharing the car with Ulysse De Pauw.
Audi Sport Team Attempto from Hanover, led by Arkin Aka, has a former Spa winner on board: Markus Winkelhock, winner in 2017, shares the car with his Audi Sport colleagues Dennis Marschall and Ricardo Feller this year. The privateers Alex Aka, Juuso Puhakka, Nicolas Schöll and Marius Zug will be driving the second Audi from Attempto Racing. They are currently ranked sixth in the Silver classification.
The French Audi Sport Team Saintéloc team, the winner of the Spa 24 Hours in 2017, is led by Sébastien Chetail and also has two Audi Sport drivers on board in Christopher Mies and Patric Niederhauser. They are entered in the Pro classification together with the young Swiss driver Lucas Légeret. Audi Sport driver from the FIA WTCR, Gilles Magnus, will share the Saintéloc team’s sister car with Nicolas Baert, César Gazeau and Aurélien Panis – they have been entered in the Silver class.
Peter Schmidt’s employees are preparing two more GT3 sports cars with the four rings. In Audi Sport Team Tresor, the team principal is trusting in two Audi Sport drivers: Mattia Drudi and Christopher Haase, who is another winner from 2017. They will be competing with Luca Ghiotto in the Pro classification, wherein they are currently ranked seventh. For their teammates from Tresor by Car Collection – Daniele Di Amato, Alberto Di Folco, Pierre Alexandre Jean and Lorenzo Patrese – it’s all about points in the Silver Cup.
The fans can look forward to an exciting race with 65 participants and nine brands. Audi will be reporting extensively about the big sports car festival in the Ardennes on its social media channels and on audi-mediacenter.com. The organizer will be broadcasting the entire spectacle live on its website: gt-world-challenge-europe.com.
The drivers and teams for Spa
Audi R8 LMS #10 Adam Eteki/Benjamin Lessennes/Antoine Leclerc/Karim Ojjeh
Tresor by Car Collection
Audi R8 LMS #11 Daniele Di Amato/Alberto Di Folco/Pierre Alexandre Jean/Lorenzo Patrese
Audi Sport Team Tresor
Audi R8 LMS #12 Mattia Drudi/Luca Ghiotto/Christopher Haase
Audi Sport Team Saintéloc
Audi R8 LMS #25 Lucas Légeret/Christopher Mies/Patric Niederhauser
Saintéloc Junior Team
Audi R8 LMS #26 Nicolas Baert/César Gazeau/Gilles Magnus/Aurélien Panis
Audi R8 LMS #30 Benjamin Goethe/Thomas Neubauer/Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer
Audi R8 LMS #31 Finlay Hutchison/Diego Menchaca/Lewis Proctor
Audi R8 LMS #33 Ulysse De Pauw/Arnold Robin/Maxime Robin/Ryuichiro Tomita
Audi Sport Team WRT
Audi R8 LMS #32 Kelvin van der Linde/Dries Vanthoor/Charles Weerts
Audi R8 LMS #46 Nico Müller/Valentino Rossi/Frédéric Vervisch
Audi Sport Team Attempto
Audi R8 LMS #66 Ricardo Feller/Dennis Marschall/Markus Winkelhock
Audi R8 LMS #99 Alex Aka/Juuso Puhakka/Nicolas Schöll/Marius Zug