Tuesday 3 May 2016

FIA 6 Hours of Spa - GTE-Pro & Am preview

Part 2 of our Spa 6 hours preview, this time with both GTE classes.


AF Corse returns with both Ferrari 488 GTE's to Belgium. After dominating the GTE field in Silverstone last month, both prancing horses are favourite for the race in the Ardennes this weekend. The #71 of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon was all over the place last month, leaping away from the competition with ease. The #51 showed the raw pace of the new 488 GTE while storming through the field after starting at the back of the grid and a 3 minute stop & go.

Chip Ganassi's Ford Racing Team also headed to Motorland Aragon in Spain after the Silverstone race for a vital endurance test ahead of Le Mans. WEC team principal George Howard-Chappel said the objective of the test was to test the Ford GT to its limit in an endurance run. Ford has completed a run that was comfortably longer than the Le Mans 24 Hours, giving them great confidence in the car. Last weekend, the Ford GT took its maiden victory in the WeatherTech Championship at Laguna Seca. After a very promising race at Silverstone, the European team will be eager to climb onto the podium on Saturday evening.

Porsche didn't really have things going their way in Silverstone. The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing 911 RSR not being able to make it to the finish due to a technical gremlin. Throughout the weekend, they did show some good pace, if they don't have any problems this time, they might be able to stay close to the Ferrari's.

Aston Martin won at Spa last year in the #99 of Fernando Rees, Alex McDowall and Richie Stanaway. Jonny Adam will join Rees & McDowall again in Spa, after missing the Silverstone race due to the calender clash with the British GT race. In Silverstone, the #95 AMR came in third, after losing second place to the charging Ferrari #51 by the end of the race. The team is still adopting to the new Dunlop rubber, so Spa will be a good test for Le Mans.


As in the GTE-Pro category, AF Corse arrives at Spa with the first win of the season under their belt. The #83 Ferrari 458 Italia of Fran├žois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas took the win at Silverstone. No doubt that they will want to do that all over again this weekend.

Patrick Long will take his seat back in the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing after missing Silverstone due to other racing commitments in the USA. After some technical glitches for both the #88 and the #78 KCMG three weeks ago, both teams will want to bounce back and show the potential of their cars again.

Good news from Gulf UK Racing as their Porsche has been rebuilt after the crash with Hartley in the 919 Hybrid. Wainwright, Carrol & Barker had a promising start in the WEC at Silverstone, let's hope they ar more fortunate in Spa.

Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Matthias Lauda took away the win in Spa last year. Their #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage looked very strong at Silverstone, so they might be in contention for the win again here. 

Last but not least it's the #50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7R, who had a strong start of the season with a third place on the podium. The long straights at Spa will help the C7R to use all of its power again. GTE-Am will be a class to watch with some fierce battles during the race !

Kristof Vermeulen.