Endurance RacingGT SeriesSportscars

GT3 Takes Centre Stage At Milestone Spa 24 Hours

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The Blancpain Endurance Series touches down in Belgium next weekend for a landmark day in GT racing as the GT3 takes centre stage at the Total 24 Hours of Spa for the first time since its inception in 1924.

The historic Belgian circuit will host Round Three of newest international GT series with sixty three cars lined up to compete for the podium on Saturday 30 July in a host of classes.

Whilst GT3 cars have always raced at the Spa 24 Hour event, the decision to give them the main focus has heralded the biggest grid for many years and represents a major achievement for the Blancpain series.

Fans will be able to watch both the prestigious and exotic contest the gruelling endurance race that carves through the heart of the Ardennes forest.

Blancpain series leaders Paolo Ruberto, Gianluca Roda and Raffaele Gianmaria in their AutOrlando Sport Porsche 997 will face off against their nearest rivals, the Team WRT Audi of Bert Longin, Filipe Albuquerque and Stephane Ortelli.

Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, Lamborghini, Corvette, Dodge and Mercedes will also compete at Spa-Francorchamps alongside the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 monster which is making its international debut after a strong showing in the British GT earlier in the month.

Elsewhere in the Pro-Am competition, the famous manufacturers are joined by famous drivers including the ever-popular Johnny Herbert, Monaco F1 race-winner Olivier Panis, Stefan Johansson, Le Mans star Mark Blundell and Eddie Cheever.

Blancpain President Marc A Hayek is delighted by the impact of the series and its ability to draw in the big names whilst still offering an affordable route into sportscar racing.

He added: “Dream cars, prestigious circuits, incredible people, GT racing has always had a slightly mythical air, and I think that the motorsport world was ready for a return to the roots of these competitions.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising to see that the Blancpain Endurance Series has rapidly become the unmissable series for GT racing in Europe.

Outdoing all expectations, not only has the public been enthralled, but so have the teams, to the point that the starting grid for our next event at Spa-Francorchamps is the most successful in the history of this legendary circuit. As CEO of Blancpain I am delighted with this success.

The illustrious event gets underway on Wednesday 27 July with a traditional race car parade in the centre of Spa where the cars and drivers will meet the public on Place Royale.

The track action begins on Thursday 28 July with the massive grid of cars for the Total 24 Hours of Spa joined by the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, the FIA Formula 3 International Trophy, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and the French F4 Championship.

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Joe is covering anything to do with motorsport for The Checkered Flag and running a British GT site for the 2011 season - http://britishgt.wordpress.com. Find him tweeting at @JWFinnerty
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