Bright and safe future for Total 24 Hours of Spa

23 March 2015 Bright and safe future for Total 24 Hours of Spa
(Paul Mannes, Stephane Ratel, François Cornelis, Jean-Paul Phillipot) 


SRO Motorsports Group is proud to announce that the RACB, Total and RTBF have all expressed their wish to continue their partnership for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. To give the flagship event of the Blancpain GT Series an even brighter future, SRO Motorsports Group has implemented a number of measures to increase safety during the event.


Today, at the offices of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium in Brussels, SRO Motorsports Group and the RACB announced that the cooperation between the two organisations for the Total 24 Hours of Spa will continue until at least 2018. The partnership between the RACB and SRO Motorsports Group started well over a decade ago, and translates into various forms of collaboration. The Belgian federation is not only the sporting authority for the Blancpain GT Series, but over half of the permanent officials in the Series are RACB license holders as well.

At the same time, title sponsor Total and Belgian national broadcaster RTBF confirmed their extended support to the blue riband event of the Blancpain GT Series. Besides being the official fuel supplier for the Belgian 24-hour race, Total traditionally launches an extensive promotion campaign for their customers in the weeks leading up to the event, considerably increasing attendance by fans during race weekend. Due to the partnership with the RTBF the whole of Belgium can enjoy the event through an exciting mix of live reports and extensive highlights, not only on the RTBF’s television channel, but also through its radio and internet outlets.

Exactly three months before entries close for the Belgian classic the participation of some 60 cars has already been confirmed, a number that will probably increase significantly in the course of the coming weeks and months. The number of teams entered in Pro Cup is at an unprecedented high level, and with new cars from Audi, Lamborghini and McLaren, the Belgian round of the Blancpain Endurance Series is sure to attract the interest of numerous race fans. Competition in the Pro-Am Cup and Am Cup promises to be fierce as well, with several teams adding the Belgian classic to their 2015 programme. And that is not all, since Alex Zanardi has decided that completing the Total 24 Hours of Spa will be his next great challenge. The Italian superman will surely be a popular presence on the starting grid.

To ensure that the whole of the Blancpain GT Series, and the Total 24 Hours of Spa in particular, can be organised in the safest circumstances possible, SRO Motorsports Group and RACB are implementing a strongly reinforced package of measures for the 2015 season. This will principally concern three major areas.

The first concerns amateur and rookie drivers. As previously announced as part of SRO’s collaboration with the Sean Edwards Foundation, all Bronze and young Silver drivers will need to take and pass a computer-based test which will gauge their knowledge of basic motorsport rules and regulations.

The usual Bronze test session has been extended and made mandatory for all Bronze and Silver drivers intending to take part in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, as well as for any Gold or Platinum drivers with no experience of the Circuit. This three-hour session, taking place on the Tuesday afternoon of the race week, will include a mandatory briefing and track walk. During the session, driver performance will be examined and supervised. SRO is delighted to announce that former Spa-winner Vincent Vosse and experienced GT-racer Bas Leinders will be joining the team to oversee this innovative training session. It should also be mentioned that the night qualifying session on the Thursday evening will be extended by 30 minutes to allow drivers more time to get used to the conditions.

A slight change in the calendar means that the Paul Ricard round will more than ever be the preparatory race for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, due to the new 1000 km race format, held on the Saturday afternoon and evening, with at least one hour taking place in full darkness. This will give teams and drivers the opportunity to test before the season highlight at Spa.

In collaboration with RACB, the sporting environment will be strongly reinforced in terms of both technical facilities and the personnel in charge of them. This includes race control, the stewards of the meeting, the pit lane officials and all those concerned with the sporting framework for the meeting. Improvements to timekeeping, internal messaging, additional radios and video camera supervision of the pit lane will all help to increase sporting equity and the smooth running of the event. A new team of safety car drivers, with suitable high-speed experience, will allow the field to be brought up to speed after yellow flag periods. Also, safety car exercises will take place during free practice to allow for proper training for both the safety car and the teams. A new control system for the pit exit lights will give greater control to the Race Director, while the Driver Advisor, former F1 and long-term GT3 Balance of Performance test driver Jean-Marc Gounon, will be working in close collaboration with the Officials of the meeting.

In terms of the sporting regulations of the Blancpain Endurance Series, a number of measures should also increase safety. This includes a new Full Course Yellow procedure, bringing all cars down to 80 km/h with no overtaking. Revised procedures for eventual red flag situations during the 24-hour race have also been added. Telemetry is now authorized from car to pits, giving teams the possibility for additional information on the state of their car. Last but not least, the Blancpain GT Series will be adopting Accident Data Recorder units in all full-season cars, as part of the FIA Institute programme, to allow data from any incidents to be fully examined and help to prevent accidents and increase safety in the future.

In short, everything is in place to make the 67th running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa an edition to remember for years to come. You know where you have to be during the last weekend of July…

 

François Cornelis (President Royal Automobile Club of Belgium): “The Total 24 Hours of Spa are part of our national sporting heritage. Together with the Formula 1 Grand Prix this event forms the highlight of the Belgian motorsports season, and is always attended by a large crowd of passionate fans. During this race, some of the most heroic pages of the history of Spa-Francorchamps have been written, both on the old and the new circuit. The race has adapted itself to modern times and it is still a must on the international calendar. After 15 years, our cooperation with SRO, and Stéphane Ratel in particular, is still a joy. Together we were able to let the event and the Blancpain Endurance Series evolve. We at the RACB are very happy to renew our confidence in this partner, who was able to revive the race and find the right formula to please fans, drivers and teams. We are convinced that the coming years will see even greater success for our organisations and for motorsports in general. I would also like to thank the people of Total, who has taken over from Proximus to promote endurance racing, sportsmanship and motorsports.

Paul Mannes (CEO of Total Belgium): “Total and motorsports is a story about passion and performance. It also a unique test lab, allowing us to improve our consumer market products. That will be the case again this year, during the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Motorsports are the best possible laboratory to test our fuels and lubricants. It is the best possible way to question ourselves and to adapt our products to the new rules in motorsports, whether it is in Formula 1 or endurance racing. The information gathered will allow us to improve our products destined for the consumer markets. The best possible example is the launch of our Total Excellium New Generation range.

Jean-Paul Phillipot (CEO of RTBF): “The link between the RTBF and the Total 24 Hours of Spa is a bit special, to say the least. The event is one of the highlights on the Belgian motorsports calendar, and this for two reasons. First, it is part of the motorsports history in our country, and the performances on this legendary track almost get mythical status. The Total 24 Hours of Spa are also an essential part of the sporting calendar covered by the RTBF. A very diverse calendar, but a calendar which includes all important sporting events on Belgian soil. We are very proud to be affiliated with the Spa event, which is why its coverage is of utmost importance to us. So whether it is on television, radio or internet, we will bring it all on July 25th-26th."


Stephane Ratel (Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group): “I would like to thank the people of the RACB, Total and the RTBF for their continued support in making the Total 24 Hours of Spa one of the highlights on the international motorsports calendar. Motorsports is and always has been a team effort and SRO cannot imagine better partners to organise this great event. We all want to entertain the fans and give the teams and drivers the opportunity to fully exploit their talents in the safest of conditions. To make sure that this epic race fully realises its enormous potential, it was paramount to implement the necessary safety measures. I think that, together with the Sean Edwards Foundation, we have made a lot of progress in this area and I am already looking forward to what promises to be a historic edition of the Belgian classic.
 

Practical information - Total 24 Hours of Spa

When: 21-26 July 2015

Tickets: from 15 €
General Entrance : 30 € (includes free entrance on Thursday and Friday)
General Entrance + paddock : 60 € (includes free entrance on Thursday and Friday)
VIP packages : from 180 €

Children aged 12 or under, accompanied by an adult, enter for free
Sales on : www.ticketmaster.be

Test Day: Wednesday June 24th

Race Week

Tuesday July 21st 
Bronze test 15:00 – 18:00

Wednesday July 22nd 
Parade Spa 16:00
Autograph session 17:00-18 :00

Thursday July 23rd 
Free Practice 12:00-13:30
Pre-Qualifying 18:10-19:10
Qualifying 20:30-21:45
Night Qualifying 22:15-23:45

Friday July 24th 
Super Pole 15:30-15:55

Saturday July 25th 
Warm Up 09:05-09:25
Starting procedure & Grid walk 15:45-16:30
Start of the Total 24 hours of Spa 16:30

Information and reservation: www.total24hours.com / www.blancpain-gt-series.com
Facebook : Total 24 hours of Spa / Twitter : @24hoursofspa / @blancpaingt

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Blancpain - Innovation is our Tradition

Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the watch brand bearing his name is the oldest in the world. Blancpain is currently engaged to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking and to passing on exceptional expertise from one generation to the next through constant investment in human resources, production facilities and research. This approach is its strength and the expression of our long-term vision, even though it goes against the tide of a certain tendency to seek immediate profit. From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Over the past ten years, the Manufacture has indeed developed no less than 35 new calibres.

Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the sportive L-evolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection, the high complication from Le Brassus collection and the Women models.

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Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier

Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.

Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past.The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.

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Total - Official Sponsor of the Total 24 Hours of Spa

Energy is vital to economic development and improved standards of living.
Wherever it is available, energy is helping to drive progress, but sustainability requires changes in the
way that it is used and managed.

This is the environment in which we conduct our business.
With operations in more than 130 countries, Total is a top-tier international oil company and a
world-class natural gas operator, refiner, petrochemical producer, and fuel and lubricant retailer.

Our nearly 99,000 employees leverage their globally acknowledged expertise so that together they
can discover, produce, refine and distribute oil and gas to provide products and services for
customers worldwide.

We are also broadening our offering by developing energies that can partner oil and gas — today,
solar energy and tomorrow, biomass.

As a responsible corporate citizen, we focus on ensuring that our operations consistently deliver
economic, social and environmental benefits.
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SRO Motorsports Group - The architect of modern GT Racing

SRO Motorsports Group was founded by Stephane Ratel and has specialised in the promotion, support and organisation of many national and international motorsport series since 1995.

In 2015, SRO promotes several championships and series, such as the Blancpain GT Series (with the Blancpain Sprint Series and the Blancpain Endurance Series, including the iconic Total 24 hours of Spa), the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the newly-created GT Sports Club and Ultracar Sports Club. SRO Motorsports Group has various franchise agreements, including the GT4 European Series.

SRO Motorsports Group runs also the SRO Race Centre by MMC, a high-level technical centre at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France.

SRO has offices in London, Paris and Liège.
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credits Patrick Heck Photography