PREVIEW: 2018 Total 24 Hours of Spa – Pro Am Cup Class


start of the 2017 24 Hours of Spa
Credit: SRO Motorsports

A total of 11 cars will contest the Pro Am category at this weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa, with the return of Honda attracting particular interest. The Japanese brand will give its new NSX GT3 it’s first outing on European soil, having already found success in Asia and the U.S.

The factory-backed effort will deploy an impressive Pro Am line-up, with Honda drivers Bertrand Baguette and Esteban Guerrieri leading the squad. They will be joined by motorsport legend Riccardo Patrese, a veteran of more than 200 Formula 1 races and winner of six. The line-up is completed by Loic Depailler, whose late father Patrick was a Grand Prix star of the seventies and a contemporary of Patrese.

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Black Swan Racing (540): Timothy Pappas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Marc Lieb, Luca Stolz Bathurst, New South Wales : 12h Bathurst on February, 2, 2018, (Photo by Hoch Zwei / Juergen Tap)
Credit: Porsche A.G.

Black Swan Racing will also add an impressive one-off entry to the Pro Am class, with its #540 Porsche 911 GT3 R including 2003 winner Marc Lieb and team owner Tim Pappas. The American squad will make its first racing appearance at Spa as part of a full-season assault on the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Sun Energy 1 Team HTP Motorsport will also travel to the Belgian Ardennes as part of its Intercontinental GT Challenge programme. Fielding a Mercedes-AMG GT3, Kenny Habul and Marcel Konrad will compete as the team’s Am drivers, while Pro representation comes from Thomas Jäger and two-time Spa 24 Hours winner Bernd Schneider.

Brussels Racing will add local flavour to the Pro Am class, with its #100 Aston Martin V12 Vantage being piloted by an all-Belgian crew. Tim Verbergt will return to the 24 Hours for the first time since 2012 as the team’s Gold-graded driver.

The remaining seven Pro Am entries are competing full-time in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this season, and all have added additional driving strength for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Reigning class winner Black Falcon calls upon Adam Christodoulou to join its #5 Mercedes-AMG, while Strakka Racing adds David Fumanelli to the similar #42 machine. Ram Racing will also run Mercedes-AMG equipment, making the German marque the best-represented in Pro Am and adds highly-rated single-seater ace Felix Rosenqvist to its driving talent.

#31 Team Parker Racing GBR Bentley Continental GT3 Pro-Am Cup, Track | SRO / Dirk Bogaerts Photography

Team Parker Racing will field Andy Meyrick as an additional Gold-rated driver in its Bentley Continental GT3, where he will link up with fellow Welshman Seb Morris.

The remaining Pro Am entries will all field Ferrari 488 GT3s. Two of these come from the AF Corse stable, with long-time teammates Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin driving the #51 machine, while Niek Hommerson and Louis Machiels pair up in the #53 entry.

Finally, Rinaldi Racing will run its 488 GT3 for regular drivers Alexander Mattschull and Rinat Salikhov, who are joined for the 24 Hours by Daniel Keilwitz and 2017 Am Cup winner David Perel.