Pirelli all set for the Total 24 Hours of Spa where over 1,200 tyre changes are expected over the course of the race
Today at 19.30 the super pole of the biggest race of the Blancpain GT Series gets underway The Total 24 Hours of Spa gets underway at 16.30 tomorrow and with a 63-car entry list it’s the biggest race on the Blancpain GT Series calendar. Yesterday the AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Edoardo Mortara, Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello topped the second night qualifying session after setting a fastest lap of 2m18.562s. The top 20 cars from this session, which were within half a second of each other, will go through to the super pole session this evening to determine the front end of the starting grid for the 24-hour race. Pirelli has set up its unique tyre fitting village, the biggest of the season, housing around 13,000 tyres, 24 trucks and 112 personnel for the Blancpain GT Series, at Paddock Bleu. For the supporting Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Blancpain GT Sports Club races, an additional 3,000 tyres, three trucks and 10 personnel are at the Belgian circuit. What's the circuit like? Spa-Francorchamps, better known simply as Spa, is a favourite with drivers and fans alike. It is one of the most challenging circuits in the world due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature, and also home to the Belgian Grand Prix. Measuring 7.004 kilometres in length, with 21 corners, Eau Rouge is certainly the most famous and spectacular part of the track, where drivers have to negotiate a sweeping left-right-left set of corners with a blind summit over a crest. The bravest try not to lift off the power… Which tyres is Pirelli bringing? Pirelli has brought its P Zero DHD tyre for the Blancpain GT grid of 63 cars and Blancpain GT Sports Club grid of 24 cars. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo grid will use the P Zero DH, specifically designed for the series. All championships will use the WH tyre should conditions be wet. With 10 manufacturers (including Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Jaguar, BMW, Aston Martin and Porsche) represented at Spa the DHD tyre has been designed to work effectively with every car on the grid, just as Pirelli’s road car tyres bring out the best in every road car. What are the most likely race strategies? Strategy is key to the Spa 24 Hours. As the reliability of GT cars have improved, 24-hour races have become less of an endurance test and more of a sprint. The regulations dictate that the stints must be less than 65 minutes in length, so unlike a decade ago there is no incentive to save fuel to try to reduce the number of pit stops during the race. This means that the race is now run at a rapid pace, with teams completely confident that their cars can sustain a whole day and night of running at full speed. Safety Car periods can also lead to some strategy experiments. Quote: Matteo Braga, circuit activity manager: “Spa is the ultimate challenge in GT racing: 24 hours on the most demanding circuit on the calendar, with a strong possibility of changeable weather conditions. From our perspective, it showcases the adaptability of the P Zero tyre, which is able to provide the right compromise between performance and durability on many different types of car, in varying race circumstances. At other races, teams can afford to be strategic, but Spa is where everyone can see the true relative performance of all the cars. As a result, teams will be looking to get the most out of the tyres in order to extract every possible advantage.” Timings: Super pole is today (Friday 28 July) at 19.30 with the Total 24 Hours of Spa starting tomorrow (Saturday 29 July) at 16.30. Lamborghini Super Trofeo race two is at 11.20 tomorrow (Saturday 29 July). The main race for the Blancpain GT Sports Club takes tomorrow (Saturday 29 July) at 09.15.
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