He is the last-minute stellar guest of the Total 24 Hours of Spa! Shortly ahead the start of the first practice sessions, André Lotterer got the proposal from Vincent Vosse, the Team Principal of Team WRT, to join Marcel Fässler and Dries Vanthoor at the wheel of the Belgian squad’s Audi R8 LMS #5. The German star, who has very strong personal ties with Belgium, has accepted without hesitation and will be aiming at his first win in the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge.
So, André, you will be at the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa…
« Oh, yes ! It’s a nice surprise and I am very happy. When Vincent called me to check if the challenge could interest me, the answer has been immediate! To be in a line-up that aims at winning the Spa 24 Hours, and to be part of Team WRT and the Belgian Audi Club, is an offer you cannot refuse. On top, I will be again associated with my friend Marcel Fässler, and Benoit Tréluyer will also be in the team, although on another car. I am very motivated and want to thank Porsche, my employer, for giving its go-ahead to this one-off with for a sister brand of the Volkswagen family. »
The Total 24 Hours of Spa is a race still missing in your victory toll…
« True ! I finished on the podium, as third, in 2013 with Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler, and this is my best result so far. Everybody knows how much Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Heures de Spa mean to me. This year, I wasn’t very lucky at the Le Mans 24 Hours, as a technical issue prevented me bidding for victory, so to clinch Spa would really be nice. Not many drivers have been able to win both races. I hope to be able to be part of this very special club! »
Still, the challenge is huge…
« Yes, and that is why it is so exciting ! A driver always wants to win, whatever the race he is entering, but it is true that when are you racing at very high level and in the same championship for a long while, you appreciate new challenges. Trying to win at Spa is one of those big challenges: it is certainly the endurance race where the number of potential winners is the highest.»
Will you have the right pace with a GT car?
«It’s true that I haven’t driven an Audi R8 LMS since 2015… At the beginning of the week, I’ll be in Barcelona for tests with the Porsche LMP1. I will arrive at Francorchamps on Wednesday only, but I am not worried. It is not like starting from nothing: I know well the track, I know well the team and I have already driven the car… I know I will be involved and committed 100%, especially in analyzing all the data, in order to be fast as soon as possible. And I can rely on Marcel’s and Dries’ support. »
Precisely, how do you see the driver line-up you are part of?
«Obviously, I know Marcel very well. Together with Benoit Tréluyer, we have won Le Mans three times and been World Endurance Champions. As for Dries, Vincent Vosse has told me there is no worry to have with regard to his ability to go fast. As he knows the car better than I do, he will probably help me to go faster… With Marcel, we’ll try to make him benefit from our greater experience in 24-hour races and help him build greater confidence. The faster he can go, the better it will be for our trio. Marcel and I don’t have anything special to prove and will therefore have no ego issues. Team spirit is above everything and I hope this will lead us to success. »