Excitement is mounting for the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the European Le Mans Series after the debut at Paul Ricard. Nine Ferraris 488 GTEs will start the weekend’s race at the Belgian track, with three more crews than the French round. For some drivers and teams, the Ardennes race is a special opportunity to prepare for the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps the following week.
WEC target. AF Corse will be there with two cars that usually compete in the world championship. Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr will be at the wheel in one, while the other will be crewed by François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard plus Harrison Newey in place of Nicklas Nielsen. The latter will be back for the WEC. Red River Sport, however, will field the usual trio of Bonamy Grimes, Johnny Mowlem and Charles Hollings.
Hunt for victory. After a convincing performance at the Paul Ricard, the 488 GTE of Kessel Racing, driven by Michael Broniszewski, Nicola Cadei and David Perel will be looking for a win, trying to maintain the same exceptional speed and cohesion. Eyes are also focused on Iron Lynx’s all-woman crew of Manuela Gostner, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey, an excellent third in the opening round, and on teammates Claudio Schiavoni, Sergio Pianezzola and Andrea Piccini who were among the stars at Le Castellet.
Seeking payback. The Spirit Of Race trio of Duncan Cameron, Matthew Griffin and Aaron Scott were forced to retire due to a technical problem after even leading for a time. JMW Motorsport is aiming to improve on the Paul Ricard result, fielding a new line up with Gunnar Jeannette and Rodrigo Sales joining Finlay Hutchison. AF Corse is aiming for a podium finish with Christoph Ulrich, Alexander West and Steffen Görig, hoping to improve on the fifth place in France, in a race that Görig also led for some laps.
Recent success augurs well. The 488 GTE has enjoyed recent success at Spa-Francorchamps. In 2017, Spirit of Race won twice with Roda/Mastronardi/Bertolini while last year Luzich Racing took the top step of the podium with Pier Guidi/Nielsen/Lavergne.
Programme. The Ardennes race, the longest on the calendar, will start on Friday with the first free practice. On Saturday, the qualifying session will begin at 2:30 pm, while the race kicks off on Sunday, at 11 am.