With a late start as it is usual here in Belgium, once the Race in underway you start preparing for the night. While in other 24hour races you attend the night often marks the middle of the race, here it's clearly in the first half. The Drivers settle into their stints, the mechanics and pitcrew are fresh and the stops go flawlessly.. Once the night hits the biorythm of everybody goes haywire, weather you are a seasoned Person with a couple of years of experience or a freshmen.. everybody gets tired and caffeine is one of the most used drug througout.
Personally once i see the sun rise I am good, but the times around 3-5 am are harsh. Luckily I could lay down and nobody woke me.. not bad for my 3rd 24hours this year. Once with Light again it was clear that the second half would be crucial... Distances on the Track and differences in laptimes were minimal, but the pace was relentless. In the end I couldn't help myself and analyse the times and especially the pitstops.. when you are used to sitting on the pitwall you read the monitors quite differently..
One thing that bothered me this race was the sheer numbers of penalties that teams could have avoided... Driving times, pitstop times etc etc.. The M Sport Bentley crew should have had this victory in the bag, but with hindsight it's always easy to say. So after our classwin together in 2015 on the nürburgring I could cheer for Philip Eng for his epic BMW Victory.
The Z4 GT3 only managed one overall Win in his career in one of the major endurance races, let's hope that this M6 1st Place is the first of many more.
It was a Mercedes AMG Celebration. Like earlier this Year during the 24hours of the Nürburgring the cars from Affalterbach have proven that they did their homework the best. The first 2,5 rows on the Grid will be under the Sign of the Star and only Audi's #1 Car with local Hero Laurens Vanthoor managed to get close. If the AMG GT's are as reliant and efficient as in the Eifel then Maybe we get a showdown in the last lap too ? I just hope that during the Race other Manufacturers show that they can be serious contenders to break this phalanx .... this was what i wrote on thursday, before I made my way back on Friday night ..
AAAaaand Boy.. did they brake it.. Lamborghini protested and due to the Mapping being out of the Totlerances the AMG GT's are all stripped of their Superpole Times, starting from 15th to 20th thus... and have to serve a 5 min Stop& Go penalty.
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Here are some Pictures from the Days before, Driver Parade and Grid