Audi Best Manufacturer at World’s Biggest GT3 Race at Spa

  • Audi wins the “Coupe du Roi” at the Spa 24 Hours
  • Scherer Sport PHX with Luca Engstler/Kelvin van der Linde/Nicki Thiim third in the race
  • Three Audi in the top ten

[source: Audi Sport]

Together with all its teams, Audi Sport customer racing left its mark on the 75th edition of the Spa 24 Hours: Two driver squads fought a thrilling battle for overall victory. And all six teams together scored so many points for the “Coupe du Roi” that Audi won the prestigious manufacturers trophy at the classic in the Ardennes for the fourth time.

“We offered the fans first-class sport at this popular endurance race,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl. “For a long time, we even fought for victory with two cars. In the end, very little was missing. Congratulations to everyone involved on the strong performances in the overall and class rankings with which Audi made the hearts of many fans beat faster in a tough competition.”

The “Coupe du Roi” has special value in this respect: It rewards the manufacturer that has delivered the best overall performance across all classes. “Thanks to our customers for this first-class team result,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “It was only due to the good individual results in the classes at different scoring times that we won this valuable award for the fourth time after 2014, 2015 and 2016.”

From the very beginning, Audi was one of the brands in the fight for overall victory this year. After just two hours of racing, Team Audi Sport Tresor Orange1 with the three Audi Sport drivers Ricardo Feller/Mattia Drudi/Dennis Marschall was already in the lead. Within a few seconds, Luca Engstler/Kelvin van der Linde/Nicki Thiim followed in second place in the number 17 car of Team Scherer Sport PHX. Over the entire course of the race, Audi engaged in a contest with numerous lead changes between the R8 LMS and its rivals from Porsche, BMW and, at times, Mercedes-AMG. The race remained unpredictable over long stretches with gaps of just a few seconds and thus exciting for the audience until the end. In the end, Audi Sport driver Luca Engstler, who is contesting only his second GT3 season, finished third with his experienced teammates. Feller/Drudi/Marschall drove to eighth place.

Audi Sport Team Saintéloc’s number 25 and Audi Sport Team Comtoyou’s number 11 forfeited time due to various sporting penalties. Audi Sport drivers Christopher Haase/Gilles Magnus/Frédéric Vervisch improved to seventh place overall in the number 11 car in the end. The number 25 car of Simon Gachet/Christopher Mies/Patric Niederhauser finished in 16th place.

In addition to the overall classification, several Audi customer teams were aiming for good class results. Comtoyou Racing recorded two podium results on its 24-hour debut with Audi in GT3 racing. Nicolas Baert, Maxime Soulet and Audi Sport driver Max Hofer celebrated third place in the Gold classification. The number 12 car of Sam Dejonghe/Loris Hezemans/Lucas Légeret/Finlay Hutchison finished second in the Silver Cup. The Saintéloc Junior Team of Erwan Bastard/Paul Evrard/Gregoire Demoustier/Antoine Doquin finished third in this class.

A class podium success was also achieved by Team CSA Racing from France which, like Comtoyou Racing, fielded an Audi R8 LMS in GT3 version in a 24-hour race for the first time. In the Pro-Am category with a strong field of twelve starters, Erwin Creed/Jean Glorieux/Casper Stevenson/Arthur Rougier finished third in the number 888 car, with the Uno Racing team finishing two positions behind. Its Asian driver squad of Adderly Fong/Xiaole He/Junlin Pan/Rio shared the cockpit of the number 16 car and were happy with their finish in the world’s biggest GT3 race.

For a long time, Team Boutsen VDS was a benchmark in its class. After Aurélien Panis qualified tenth on the grid, his car led the gold classification from the fourth to the ninth hour of racing. For this, Panis and his teammates Adam Eteki, Alberto di Folco and Thomas Laurent collected full points in the GT World Challenge after six hours of racing. In the tenth hour of racing, however, they forfeited seven laps: After contact with another race car, the Belgian team had to repair the chassis and later lost further repair time. In the end, they finished fifth in the gold classification. The sister car with the number 10 did not finish. The team had decided not to repair this race car after an accident on lap 186.

For the brand’s customer teams, top results in the championship rankings for Sprint, Endurance and the overall category of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS are still at stake in the further course of the season.