LEONID MACHITSKI PREPARES FOR BATTLE AT THE TOTAL 24 HOURS OF SPA
This year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa promises to be more competitive than ever before, with a 73-car entry list establishing a new record for the GT era. Some of the world’s most accomplished competitors will be on the grid, confirming the event’s significance at the highest level of the sport.
Vimetco Extrusion and Renaissance Construction backed #77 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO with Leonid Machitski, Adrian Amstutz, Patrick Kujala and Richard Abra are ready to repeat its thrilling podium success.
The Am Cup completes the class structure at this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, with its 13-car grid the biggest outside the top-tier.
Track activity begins on Tuesday with a three-hour Bronze test. As the name suggests, this is reserved for Bronze-graded drivers and allows them to re-familiarise themselves with the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Silver drivers who have not previously competed at Spa are also eligible to take part.
Wednesday is dedicated to off-track activities in Spa town, including the always-popular parade and driver autograph session. The next action on the circuit follows on Thursday – and it is a busy one.
A 90-minute free practice run will be the first chance for every competitor to sample the track, followed later in the day by a 60-minute pre-qualifying session. While similar to free practice, this serves a dual purpose: if qualifying cannot take place, the results from pre-qualifying will be used to decide the grid. As such, drivers have added incentive to bank a representative time.
Qualifying proper takes place on Thursday evening. There will be four 15-minute sessions, one for each driver (three-driver crews will bypass Q1). The final qualifying time will be the average of the fastest laps set by each driver in their respective session, with the same criteria applied to three and four-driver crews. Should one driver fail to set a time, their car will start behind all of the cars that have set a full complement of times. Later that evening, night practice gets underway at 21.50. In this session, each driver must set at least two timed laps in night conditions to prepare for the race.
On Friday there will be a 30-minute warm-up session open to the entire field. Then attention shifts to the fiercely contested Superpole, where the fastest 20 cars from qualifying battle to establish the first 10 rows of the grid. Each team must choose just one driver, who will complete two full laps. The final classification will set the top 20 starters, while the pole-winning driver also earns the ultimate bragging rights.
And, on Saturday, the main event finally arrives: at 16.30 local time the Total 24 Hours will begin its 71strunning – and the biggest since GT rules were adopted in 2001.
Leonid Machitski: “Spa-Francorchamps is the highlight of the season and it’s one of my favorite circuits in the world! What can I say, it’s a very challenging circuit. It has many fast corners and the difference in altitude is truly enormous.Of course, the track itself is highly unforgiving because of the configuration and the high-speed corners – you’re always right on the limit without much margin for error. The atmosphere here is always fulfilling and gives you so much energy. It’s a fantastic vibe! Without a doubt, I’m very much looking forward to drive at this track again.”