At his annual press conference during the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel unveiled the plans of the SRO Motorsports Group for the near future. The existing SRO Series will all continue with some minor tweaks, but several new series will be added to the existing portfolio.
Clemens Schmid, at the wheel of the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, has claimed pole position for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa, the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge. The Austrian beat his Mercedes-AMG colleague Felix Rosenqvist (#88 AMG-Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) by a mere 0.009 of a second. Fastest time in the Pro-Am Cup went to another Mercedes-AMG, the #56 Black Falcon car driven by Dani Juncadella.
The list of twelve cars competing for the manufacturers points in the Intercontinental GT Challenge during the Total 24 Hours of Spa has been known for a few weeks, and during the last couple of days, the list of drivers competing for the points in the AM Cup has been finalised as well. No fewer than 46 drivers will vie for the AM Cup points.
The #58 Garage 59 McLaren of Shane Van Gisbergen set the fastest time of the two qualifying sessions for the 2016 edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. On his first flying lap in the second session, the Kiwi improved on the time set by Maxi Götz (#86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG) during the first session, lapping a mere 0.058 of a second faster. Dani Juncadella clocked the third time overall with the #56 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG and set the fastest time in the Pro-Am Cup. With the 20 fastest cars still participating in Friday's Superpole, the pole position in the Am Cup went to the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Niki Cadei, while Grégory Paisse took the pole in the National Group at the wheel of the #230 SpeedLover Porsche.
One of the winners of the 2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa, current DTM-driver Maxi Götz, proved to be fastest during the first qualifying session of the 2016 edition of the Belgian endurance classic. At the wheel of his #86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG the German lapped the 7 km of the Ardennes rollercoaster in 2'18.532, just four tenths above last year's pole position. In second, and fastest of the Pro-Am cars, was another Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Daniel Juncadella setting the time at the wheel of the #56 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG.
Sunny conditions for the hour-long pre-qualifying session of the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa, so the lap times were notably quicker than during the semi-wet free practice session earlier today. Minutes before the session ended Felix Rosenqvist in the #88 AMG-Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG set the fastest time of the session, lapping the 7 km Ardennes track in 2'19.549. He beat Maro Engel's time in the #.00 AMG-Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG by a mere 0.065 of a second. In third was another Mercedes-AMG, from a third different team: the #85 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport car was 0.269 off the fastest time. The top-2 cars were also the quickest cars of the Intercontinental GT Challenge entrants.
The free practice session for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa started on a wet track, but with conditions improving during the second half of the 90-minute session, lap times were dropping rapidly. Eventually it was the #26 Saintéloc Racing Audi, with Christopher Haase at the wheel, that set the fastest time in 2'21.622. Second was the #6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix car of last year's polesitter Frank Stippler, and Marco Bonanomi made it an Audi 1-2-3 by putting the #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi in third (and first in the Pro-Am Cup). Fastest car in the Am Cup was the #27 Saintéloc Racing Audi, which means that the French squad topped the three categories.
Hours before the start of the free practice session (13.20 on Thursday afternoon), the entry list for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa has been finalised. There have been some changes to the list since the end of last week, the most notable being the fact that Belgian Bertrand Baguette has replaced Peter Kox on the #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8.
A huge number of enthusiastic fans attended the traditional Total 24 Hours of Spa Parade, lining both the public roads that link the circuit and Spa and the town centre itself, earlier this afternoon. The drivers of the 65 cars participating in the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge showed their gratitude by signing thousands of autographs in front of the Spa Casino.