Total 24 Hours of Spa
25th to 30th July 2017
A sprint of two clock rounds! That's what has consisted the 69th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa! A fight with knives fired that allowed six cars to conclude the double round of clock in the same time. Soon it became clear that strategy was going to make a difference, forcing observers to wait until the final pitstop to get an idea of the possible outcome.

With 63 cars taking the start and no fewer than 36 of them competing for overall honours, there was no doubt that this year's running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa had one of the strongest entries ever in the history of the Belgian endurance racing classic. Qualifying had already made it clear that a fierce battle could be expected among the teams representing the world's most prestigious sports cars brands, and the race duly delivered.

Once the field was released after one formation lap, it was ex-Fomula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella who made the best use of the pole position and took the lead with the No.55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari, ahead of compatriot Mirko Bortolotti in the No.63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini and Kévin Estre in the No.117 KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche.

While the Ferrari and the Lamborghini shone at the front of the field throughout the first hours of the race, the second hour saw the first of several Full Course Yellows and a subsequent safety car intervention due to a severe crash by Thai driver Pasin Lathouras, who lost control of his No.50 AF Corse Ferrari at the top of the Raidillon. Luckily, the driver walked away unscathed.
Several teams used the neutralisation to come in for pitstops with the different pitstop strategies applied by the teams leading to frequent position changes throughout the field. Meanwhile, it was also clear that the Race Control was watching drivers' antics closely as there were penalties galore, particularly for track limit infringements.

During the night, however, the rain shower that so many had expected finally arrived, spicing up the action even more whilst also making it more challenging for the drivers, as if the Spa-Francorchamps circuit wasn't challenging enough in itself. Most drivers opted for rain tyres, but some gambled and stayed out with slicks. There were incidents, too, including a collision that put two Mercedes cars out at once, the No.00 Good Smile Racing & Team UKYO car and the No.18 Black Falcon Mercedes. Earlier on, the No.88 AKKA ASP Mercedes had already retired after a crash.

In the 14th hour, the No.77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini and the No.11 Kessel Racing Ferrari collided at Stavelot corner, after which the Lamborghini caught fire.
A little bit later, Kaspersky Motorsport team that had led the race for many hours saw its hopes of a possible victory evaporate as Marco Cioci came off track at the Raidillon with damaged steering, the result of contact with the No.90 AKKA ASP Mercedes at La Source. About two hours later, the other Italian GT car that shone for a long time, the No.63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, retired when Christian Engelhart crashed out at Les Combes with brake issues.

This effectively turned the battle for the lead into an almost entirely German affair with the Porsche, several Audis, the No.98 Rowe Racing BMW and a number of Mercedes-AMG cars in contention, while the No.8 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley defended British honours. Suspension issues then put to an end Rowe Racing's amitions of a repeat win after their 2016 succes.

For the 4th time, after earlier succes in 2011, 2012 and 2014, an Audi was the first car across the line in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the world's biggest GT3 race and the undisputed season highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After 546 laps of the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, German driver Christopher Haase drove the No.25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc Audi R8 LMS across the finish line to secure victory for himself and team-mates Markus Winkelhock and Jules Gounon.
With second place for the No.8 car, Bentley Team M-Sport made up for its misfortune in last year's race at Spa. The No.90 AKKA ASP Mercedes rounded out the top three with the second consecutive podium finish at Spa for the French team.
Pos. No. Driver / Co-driver Car Team
1 25 Haase / Gounon / Winkelhock
Audi R8 LMS Audi Sport Team Saintéloc
2 8 Soulet / Abril / Soucek Bentley Continental GT3 Bentley Team M-Sport
3 90 Mortara / Meadows / Marciello Mercedes-AMG GT3 AKKA ASP
4 117 Estre / Christensen / Vanthoor Porsche 991 GT3 R KÜS Team75 Bernhard
5 2 de Philippi / Mies / Vervisch Audi R8 LMS Audi Sport Team WRT
6 1 Garcia / Müller / Rast Audi R8 LMS Audi Sport Team WRT
7 85 Sandström / Schiller / Baumann Mercedes-AMG GT3 HTP Motorsport
8 4 Stolz / Christodoulou / Buurman Mercedes-AMG GT3 Black Falcon
9 76 Kaffer / Stippler / van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Audi Sport Team ISR
10 98 Blomqvist / Catsburg / Spengler BMW M6 GT3 Rowe Racing