A is for Audi, as well as Audi’s effort in the Spa 24 Hours. Since the introduction of GT3 machinery, Audi has been the most success manufacturer in the race, racking up a total of four victories. An 11-car delegation defends the quattro rings this year, with all three former race-winning teams returning with the Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Audi Sport Team WRT
Needless to say, WRT is back for a shot at its first Spa 24 Hours win since 2014. The home team has won the race two times: In 2011 and 2014. Of its winning drivers, only René Rast is still with the Vincent Vosse-led squad, the others having departed to rival manufacturers or teams, or retired from sports car racing altogether.
WRT’s cars to watch are the #2 piloted by recent Nürburgring 24 Hours champions Dries Vanthoor and Frank Stippler and #1 Audi with the never-disappointing Robin Frijns, Nico Müller and René Rast at the wheel.
#1 Audi Sport Team WRT
Robin Frijns/Nico Müller/René Rast
#2 Audi Sport Team WRT
Dries Vanthoor/Frank Stippler/Alex Riberas
#10 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Rik Breukers/Charles Weerts/Norman Nato
#17 Team WRT (Silver Cup)
Shae Davies/Paul Petit/Alex MacDowall
2012 Spa 24 Hours victor Phoenix Racing no longer enjoys Audi factory support, and it shows in drivers line-up: Despite having won the Nürburgring 24 Hours in June, the Meuspath-based team’s sole entry comes in the form of Silver Cup fighters Kim-Luis Schramm, Finlay Hutchison and Ivan Pareras. All young drivers, rather than Audi works pilots.
Phoenix’ main goal will be bringing the fight to the exceptionally strong #90 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Silver Cup entry of Nico Bastian, Timur Boguslavskiy and Felipe Fraga who are leading the championship with two wins this season.
#5 Phoenix Racing (Silver Cup)
Kim-Luis Schramm/Finlay Hutchison/Ivan Pareras
Audi Sport Team Saintéloc
French team Saintéloc Racing joined the Audi roster in 2017 and did so in style: Where others faltered, Saintéloc kept its calm and emerged in the lead on Sunday. Audi specialists Christopher Haase and Winkelhock have been a fixture in Saintéloc’s Blancpain GT line-up ever since, while then-free agent Jules Gounon went on to become a Bentley works driver.
Haase and Winkelhock are year joined by newly crowned Nürburgring 24 Hours champion Fred Vervisch in the #25 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with the #26 sister car piloted by Saintéloc regulars Pierre-Yves Paqu, Simon Gachet and Steven Palette team up with Michael Blanchemain.
Christopher Haase: “2017 will always be a special win. It was Saintéloc’s and mine first win in Spa. It was nail-biting stuff because of how tight it was during the race. Last year we were also quite successful: We were running P2 and 3 but then had a little issue at the end which put us on P4, but we have the possibility to have a great result again this time. The most important thing is to put everything together and everybody has to be on point to make this happen.”
#25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc
Fred Vervisch/Markus Winkelhock/Christopher Haase
#26 Saintéloc Racing (Pro-Am)
Pierre-Yves Paqu/Simon Gachet/Steven Palette/Michael Blanchemain
Arkin Aka’s Attempto Racing has been a solid frontrunner in the Blancpain GT Series since making the switch to Audi. The combination of Schothorst brothers Pieter and Steijn with Mattia Drudi already proved to be a serious threat for Silver Cup honours so far this season.
Team-mates Clemens Schmid, Kelvin van der Linde and Milan Dontje will have a harder time in the overall class, but neither of them lacks in speed and with Schmid and Van der Linde leading the charge for Attempto, experience will not be an issue either. What 24-year-old Milan Dontje does lack in experience, the 2018 GT4 European Series champion will more than make up for in speed.
#55 Attempto Racing (Silver Cup)
Steijn Schothorst/Pieter Schothorst/Mattia Drudi
#66 Attempto Racing
Clemens Schmid/Kelvin van der Linde/Milan Dontje
Audi Sport R8 LMS CUP
Absolute Racing will be running a one-car effort for the Am line-up of Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup drivers Andrew Haryanto, Sun Jingzu, Jeffrey Lee and Yasser Shahin. The quartet earned its Spa 24 Hours entry with their performances in last year’s Asia-based Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup.
#80 Audi Sport R8 LMS CUP (Am)
Andrew Haryanto/Sun Jingzu/Jeffrey Lee/Yasser Shahin
Montaplast by Land Motorsport
Nürburgring powerhouse Land Motorsport returns to the Spa 24 Hours with regular Christopher Mies, 19-year-old Ricardo Feller and Audi superstar Jamie Green. Out of the three drivers, Feller is the least experienced of the trio but despite his young age the Swiss is already in his fourth season of motorsports. In 2019, the youngster is competing the ADAC GT Masters and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series’ Michelin Endurance Cup with Land.
#129 Montaplast by Land Motorsport
Christopher Mies/Ricardo Feller/Jamie Green