AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Audi beat out BMW and Mercedes-Benz at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, running the legendary Spa-Francorchamps course in an R8 LMS.
The V10-engined R8 beat out 57 teams in the GT3 category, leading 22 out of the 24 hours. Audi Sport Team WRT took the lead as well as 4th place in cars #33 and #32, respectively. Its drivers consisted of two DTM champions Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, as well as endurance racing veteran Greg Franchi.
By midnight, the top three cars were all Audis. But an hour later, the #99 R8 fielded by Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler slid off from a wet patch and retired. Its #98 teammate lost second gear in an accident and spent an hour getting a new transmission, but managed to claw its way back up from 36th to 14th—and with Mike Rockenfeller behind the wheel, it even managed the fastest race lap at 2m 20.286s.
The #32 car driven by Stéphane Ortelli made a spectacular comeback: after qualifying down in 41st, she drove to 2nd place within the first 90 minutes. After a penalty and a suspension swap sent it back to 42nd place, but skilled driving allowed it to finish fourth.
“This is without doubt the most important victory for the Audi R8 LMS and our still relatively young customer racing program,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the man in charge of Audi’s motorsport program. “After just a few hours we only had one iron still in the fire – but we won with this car. This shows our strong nerves and team spirit because everybody helped to take the win with the only remaining car.”
McLaren hasn’t competed in endurance sports car racing since the F1 GTR ran at Le Mans back in 1995. That, however, will all change on July 30th with the storied British marque announcing a three car team of MP4-12C GT3 race cars will attempt to endure the 24 Hours of Spa.
Two teams will compete in the GT class, while a third will hit the track in the Pro-Am Cup class, with a total of 10 drivers.
Earlier this year McLaren did run the MP4-12C GT3 in the British GT Championship, but this marks the first 24 hour race for the vehicles.
“I’m delighted with the quality of the drivers we have enlisted as we take the 12C GT3 to its first 24 hour race,” said McLaren Automotive Chief Test driver Chris Goodwin. “This level of endurance racing is a crucial test for the car technically, and we need the best possible team working with us to ensure we receive intelligent, objective feedback on the 12C GT3 driving experience. We will use this feedback as we continue to develop the car in readiness for customers to go racing next year.”
In total, McLaren is planning to deliver 20 MP4-12C GT3 race cars to customer teams to compete in motorsports in 2012.
GALLERY: McLaren MP4-12C GT3
Hit the jump for a run-down of the cars and drivers for the 24 Hours of Spa.
This past weekend the Lamborghini Super Trofeo racing series was in Belgium, running during the same weekend a the famous 24 Hours of Spa. Lamborghini race car manufacturer Reiter Engineering used this opportunity to debut its full carbon-bodied version of the new LP670-4 SV.
Dubbed the LP670 R-SV, the racing version is powered by the same 6.5-liter V12 engine as the street car with 670hp and 487 ft-lbs. Incredibly, as the SV is already a lighter version of the LP640, this race-ready version weighs even less, tipping the scales at just 2,535 lbs.
The LP670 R-SV is the followup the carbon-fiber Murciélago R-GT by Reiter and features a new suspension setup and improved steering thanks to an even wider track. The braking system has also been upgraded with carbon discs and pads and better air ducting to keep the brakes cool over long periods of time.
Reiter Engineering has built the car to meet FIA regulations so that it can qualify to race in the GT World Championship
GALLEY: Reiter Engineering LP67- R-SV
Official release after the jump: