The racetrack action at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race has begun. The free practice session, which was held on Thursday lunchtime in the best weather conditions, was all about running in and determining setups. The best times of the cars from Affalterbach were recorded by Jules Gounon (FRA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA). Her fastest lap on the seven-kilometer Ardennes course was 2:19.402 minutes. It gave the #88 of the Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP the third overall place. Also placing in the top ten were the Customer Racing cars #7 from Toksport WRT in 6th place, #57 from Winward Racing in 8th place and #69 from Ram Racing in 9th place.
For the Mercedes-AMG drivers in the field of 58 top-class GT3 cars, a full day is on the agenda. The first location determination is from the Pre-Qualifying (15:45 clock). To be expected of the four-part qualifying (from 20:50). The aim here is to qualify for the Super Pole session on Friday (20:30). The shootout will decide the starting order of the first 20 cars for the race, which starts at 16:30 on Saturday. There will also be a night practice session (10:30 p.M.) this Thursday, giving teams another opportunity to prepare for driving in the dark. There is one personnel change in the #50 Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Team HubAuto: Nicky Catsburg (NED) replaces Yelmer Buurman (NED), who has to withdraw from the race due to illness.
50 Years Legend of Spa" car exhibition
This year's Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours marks the 50th anniversary of the first sporting milestone in AMG's history. The class win and second overall place of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG established the myth of the motorsport brand in 1971. To commemorate its sensational success at the time, Mercedes-AMG will be represented at this year's race with a vehicle exhibition. In addition to the red luxury saloon in the original look of the 1971 racing car, a Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the limited special edition "50 Years Legend of Spa" is also on display. The special edition consists of a total of three exclusive GT3 one-offs -a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, its successor Mercedes-AMG GT3 (model year 2016) and the current evolution stage of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. All three cars impress with unique special features. A striking reinterpretation of the iconic 300 SEL 6 design.8 AMG.8 AMG.
Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: "The free practice went very well for us. We paid particular attention to keeping well within the track limits, which are very strict here. The car already works very well. I am optimistic for pre-qualifying. But we still have a long weekend ahead of us, so we have to keep working cleanly."
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4: "The first free practice was not easy for us. The track conditions have changed significantly compared to the test, so we had to adjust to that at first. But we completed our laps anyway. All drivers got through the first free practice session without any problems. Now we try to improve the balance further, for qualifying tonight."
Maximilian Götz, HubAuto #50: "We are delighted to be flying the flag for the history of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport at the race in Spa with our Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the red anniversary design. Unfortunately, we weren't there at the test, so it's hard for us to keep up with the pace at the front. But we in the team are doing everything we can to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying."
Nico Bastian, GetSpeed Performance #2: "Now it is important to start the weekend well and not to risk too much. There's not much to be gained yet, but all the more to lose.