Blancpain invited us for an action packed weekend at the Total 24 hours of Spa. One of five rounds in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The first three were at Monza, Silverstone and Paul Ricard earlier this year. Each for the duration of 3 hours. Spa is the 4th and longest race lasting 24 hours. On september 11 the final 1000km race will be driven on the Nürnburgring in Germany. Our in-house photographer enjoyed the weekend with Blancpain and returned home with the following impression. All images in this blog post are resized and can be clicked for a high resolution photo.
After arriving at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit we were welcomed at the Blancpain stand for the Blancpain Endurance Series 24 hours of Spa. Several cars were on display around the paddocks, including the new Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4.
While exploring the paddocks the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo race starts. On our way to see the race we pass Pirelli, the official tire supplier. It takes 20 trucks and up to 80 personnel to supply the ± 9000 (!) tires that are used during this weekend. Teams are driving back and forth with new and used tires to the Pirelli workshop.
Next on the time-table and for a few lucky (and daring) Blancpain guests is the ‘VIP Laps’. One lap around in a Lamborghini at full speed, or a little slower for the faint of heart. But no matter how they enjoyed the course, it was a ‘Big smile guaranteed’ lap around the circuit. Besides street-legal cars like the yellow Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, some got to enjoy the circuit in a race-spec Lamborghini Gallardo GT3. Equipped with a second seat for this occasion.
Just before the 24 hour race all cars are parked on the circuit during the ‘grid walk’. One last chance to see the cars up close, take a ‘grid-selfie’, meet the lovely grid girls and see the drivers getting ready for the race. Minutes before the start everyone has to get to the opposing side of the grid and the cars leave for the beginning of the race. During the following hours we got to see the race from various locations around the circuit.
Darkness takes over the Blancpain Endurance Series 24 hours of Spa. All cars are equipped with lit numbers, various lights and their position on display in the front window. This makes them fairly easy to recognise, even at high speed.
We return on sunday for a behind the scenes visit. We get to see the broadcasting, timekeeping and the pits. Al camera signals from around the circuit come together in a mobile unit. Here the streams are analysed, processed and aired directly to TV-channels who report live. Summaries are created every 30 minutes. Up next is the timekeeping room where all data is collected. Every car is equipped with a transponder, including a switch for every driver. Antennas around the circuit register the actual position. All data is collected used by the teams and broadcasting team. Special statistics are available on request any time during the race. At the finish line a camera is set up in case of a photo-finish. Next stop is the Kessel Racing pitbox where the crew is watching the race or getting some extra sleep.
We expected most of these services being available at the circuit, yet we learned that pretty much everything is installed prior to the race. An immense logistic challenge when you think about all the work that goes into the organising of ‘just’ one race weekend. For all those involved, job well done! We head back to the race-track to enjoy the remaining hours of racing.
Official Race report and results.
It was an impressive weekend and we thank Blancpain for their fantastic hospitality during the entire weekend.