24H: GPX Racing Porsche wins battle of the heavyweights to conquer 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa

24H: GPX Racing Porsche wins battle of the heavyweights to conquer 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa

Sunday 28th July 2019 – Porsche won a battle of the heavyweights to clinch victory at the 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa. The German marque beat fierce rivals Mercedes-AMG and Audi to climb the top step of the podium for the first time since 2010 and capture a one-two finish in the world’s toughest GT race. Provisional Results Here

It came in a year that has seen Porsche place significant emphasis on conquering the Belgian endurance classic, with six 911 GT3 R machines contesting the Pro class at this season’s race. Five of of those would finish among the top 10, but ultimately it was the GPX Racing squad that secured the win with a full-factory line-up of Kevin Estre, Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen at the wheel.

The #20 Porsche was the star of Saturday’s opening stages, with Estre scything through the field from 11th on the grid to run second by the time the opening round of pit stops began. Maro Engel led the early stages from pole in the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon entry, which would prove to be one of the GPX Porsche’s biggest challengers for the win.

Estre’s heroics – which included passing another 911 GT3 R around the outside at Blanchimont – looked as though they might have been in vain. The #20 was hit with a drive-through penalty for a pit stop infringement, which dropped the car well over a minute off the lead.

But the crew battled back over the next few hours, returning to the top 10 by the time morning arrived at Spa-Francorchamps. By this stage heavy rain was falling over the circuit, making driving conditions near-impossible and leading to a red flag shortly after 05.40.

With the rain abating as the morning progressed the cars rolled off pit lane again at 11.15. The order took a little time to become clear as a number of cars had not yet taken their five-minute technical stop, a task the #20 GPX Porsche had completed at around 03:30.

The concluding battle took shape with the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT machine out front. The Belgian outfit’s all-star crew of Rene Rast, Robin Frijns and Nico Müller had looked to be a threat from the first stint and they were out front as the race moved towards its final two-hour sprint.

But there was excitement just around the corner. Having always looked to be in contention, the #20 GPX Porsche really came alive shortly before the 22-hour mark. First it overhauled the #4 Black Falcon car, with Estre blasting past Engel on the run down the Kemmel Straight.

Just one lap later he closed on Müller as they headed into Les Combes, where Müller briefly lost control of his car and made rear contact with the outside barrier. Incredibly the Audi was able to continue with almost no damage – but the lead had fallen to the Porsche.

Estre then set about building an advantage, pulling clear at the front while the battle for second continued. Engel eventually came under pressure from the charging Nick Tandy, whose #998 ROWE Racing Porsche was as rapid as the GPX effort during the final hours. The crucial move came with an hour remaining, with Tandy overcoming Engel after an entertaining battle from Bruxelles to Pouhon.

The race now looked to be settled – but there were a few late twists to follow. A full-course yellow and safety car period began with just 25 minutes remaining after the #16 Modena Motorsports Porsche crashed out from third in the Pro-Am class. Estre looked to have successfully dealt with his final restart, only for the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT machine to make contact with the #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche and bring out another full-course yellow and safety car.

The French driver made one last push for the finish, eventually bringing the #20 GPX Porsche home to secure the marque’s seventh overall win at the Belgian endurance classic. The #998 ROWE Racing machine shared by Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki completed a fine run to second, with the #4 Mercedes-AMG of Engel, Luca Stolz and Yelmer Buurman third after a faultless showing in the Ardennes.

Audi Sport Team Sainteloc was fourth, a repeat of last year’s result for Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Frederic Vervisch. Another ROWE Porsche was fifth thanks to Romain Dumas, Mathieu Jaminet and Sven Müller, while Honda scored a superb sixth-place finish from 33rdon the grid with its lone Pro class NSX GT3.

Silver Cup honours were secured to the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, which went one better than its 2018 result to take a hard-fought victory. Sandy Mitchell was the only driver to return from last year’s crew and led a sterling effort alongside James Pull and Jordan Witt.

The #55 Attempto Racing Audi led the early stages from pole and was a contender for the overall top 10, but dropped out during the night. This made the race a two-horse battle between the #78 Lamborghini and the #90 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, with the latter taking the points for leading after six and 12 hours despite starting from the pit lane.

But the Barwell car prevailed over the second half of the race, eventually finishing seven seconds clear after the late safety car closed the gap. Having missed out on Silver Cup victory last year by just a few seconds, Barwell made absolutely certain of success this time around. The AKKA ASP crew of Nico Bastian, Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavisky can be content with the fact that they have clinched the class Endurance Cup title with a round to spare, while the #6 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG completed the podium.

The #97 Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin put in a phenomenal comeback performance to take Pro-Am honours. Driven by Ahmad Al Harthy, Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Nicki Thiim, this car was severely damaged during Thursday’s opening practice session, forcing the team to switch to its backup chassis.

This would also see the #97 Aston Martin start the race from the pit lane, 30 places behind the class pole-sitter. Despite this setback the car stormed through the field to lead at both six and 12 hours, then ran faultlessly to the finish. Thiim was at the wheel for the final hours and was predictably measured on route to victory, taking 22nd overall and finishing a lap clear of his closest contender.

The #74 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG took second spot and despite missing out on victory will nevertheless travel to the Barcelona season finale in title contention. The #43 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG crew completed the podium.

The #33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari bagged Am Cup honours, ensuring another class win at the 24 Hours for the German outfit. Having triumphed last year in Pro-Am, Rinaldi was able to conquer a different challenge this year. Alexander Mattschull was part of both efforts, with Christian Hook, Manuel Lauck and Hendrik Still joining his for this year’s assault. The destination of the winners’ trophy not decided until the final hour, with the Rinaldi car battling reigning class winner Barwell Motorsport throughout the second half of the race before prevailing in the final hour.

Despite finishing as runner-up two of the #77 Barwell Lamborghini’s crew – Adrian Amstutz and Leo Machitski – clinched the Endurance Cup crown with a round to spare. The final spot on the Am Cup podium belonged to #29 Raton Racing by Target Lamborghini outfit, while the Coupe du Roi – which rewards the manufacturer with the best results across the classes – was won for a second year in succession by Mercedes-AMG.

A record 72 cars took the start of this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, but despite hugely challenging conditions at one of the world’s most daunting circuits the race was able to run without major incident. This was not only a credit to the drivers but the many track workers, who remained on their posts in extremely difficult weather conditions to ensure the event’s smooth running.

For the winners of today’s race, it is now time to celebrate a successful assault on the Belgian endurance classic. For the rest of the field, the first stage of preparation for the 2020 Total 24 Hours of Spa will already be underway.

Kevin Estre, #20 GPX Racing Porsche: “During the night it was extremely difficult out there, with a lot of aquaplaning. In fact, the whole race was difficult. Due to the changing conditions, we were almost never on the right tyres, but we survived and took the win.”

Michael Christensen, #20 GPX Racing Porsche: “When we lost time early in the race due to a penalty, we had to change our strategy to be able to make up ground. That’s why sometimes we took the choice of staying out and continuing on tyres that did not really match the conditions. It was tough, but we had a plan and we stuck to it.”

Richard Lietz, #20 GPX Racing Porsche: “We were asked in June to participate in this race, and I think nobody regrets saying ‘yes’ now! GPX Racing did a fantastic job, and after finishing three times runner-up here I am really happy that I took the win. I really enjoyed this week in Spa.”

Nick Tandy, #998 ROWE Racing Porsche: “During the night I was not sure that we were doing a good job, and to be honest I still don’t know if we were! It was really tough out there, and it seems that we were unlucky in some of thegambles we took. We came up against a great competitor, but it is good to see a Porsche one-two.”

Maro Engel, #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon: “Of course we would love to have stood on the top step, but at the end we did not seem to have the pace of the cars in front of us. Doing an extra lap before one of our final pit stops would have been a risk, and we have to think of our chances in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup as well.”

Sandy Mitchell, #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini: “This feels a bit like revenge for last year. We managed to put the Lamborghini on top of the podium thanks to an amazing job by the team in really tricky weather conditions. Spa was our aim from the beginning of the season and we managed to show that we have very good pace.”

Ahmad Al Harthy, #97 Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage: “When I was thinking about endurance racing, I always had Spa in mind. To be able to compete here and listen to the national anthem of my country was an incredible feeling. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, and to my teammates, engineers and mechanics. They did an incredible job.”

Alexander Mattschull, #33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488: “I am over the moon to be here again this year. It was a difficult race and it is an incredible feeling. My teammates did an amazing job during the night. Achieving this result is a great honour to me, especially as it is my second class win in a row with Rinaldi Racing.”

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11 minutes ago

MotoGP

WHAT an incredible race at Silverstone! 🔥

Remember you can watch now the #BritishGP 🇬🇧 race OnDemand with #VideoPass ➡️ bit.ly/BrVoDfb
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Suzuki love

Phil Goode

48 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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48 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

Get well soon Dovi !! ... See Less

51 minutes ago

MotoGP

Less than ecstatic after the race 👊

P2 for Marc Márquez on the day but P1 in the championship 💪

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Great to see him challenged. He's an amazing talent but even the greatest talent on the grid with no opponents means a boring race.

Glad he talked about his concern for Dovi. That was good to hear. Sportsmanship is everything regardless of placings.

I love the whole sportsman ships these racers have for each other, 1 of the reasons to love Motogp ❤

Amazing race by amazing pilots.

congratulations Alex Rins you made my day

Love you #MM93💗

Congrats MM u did very well fighting off Rins but at the end Rins was the winner. Well deserved win. Lets bounce back with the next race. Sad about Dovi hope he is doing ok.

Well done 42 rins ya dancer 😃😃😃💪👍

He may lose a battle here and there, but always wins the war, its part of racing. His consistency in finishing on the podium has been unmatched in recent times. Great to see him pushed and challenged by Dovi, Rins, Vinales and Quartararo.

MM i Love you 💙

What a fantastic young man. So sad that some supposed MotoGP fans can't see beyond their hateful bias against him. Ultimately blamed himself for making a mistake on the last corner, acknowledged Rins race craft for remaining in second, and disappointed that Dovi crashed out - what more do you want?

He seemed ok to me in that interview. Was a great race from start to finish.

I thought he handled himself reasonably well given that he would obviously disappointed

Spoilt child. He was at max for too long and wiped out his tyres, whereas Rins never looked anything other than at ease and riding within himself which kept his tyres fresh so he could get drive out of the final corner. Marc shot his tyres hence why he nearly lost it coming through Woodcote and why he had to throttle back and had no traction.

One of the best race ever

marquez did loose the race.....only just, but he knows that when they showed his pit board of dovi out, that he did not have much to loose, but his competitive nature, would never allow him to settle for 2nd or third. if you want to get on the podium, you've got to out ride or out think him........

😂🤣😂🤣

❤ MM

😘😘😘

BURNERS OF ANO ... IN THE FAMILY .... THE BROTHER THAT WAS SOLD ... LIKE THE BEAUTIFUL SLEEPING ... 😂😂😂😂

❤️❤️❤️

Glad to see mm eat some humble pie

🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

Won't be long till all the haters start gobbling some humble pie...please swallow slowly, don't want you to choke..we need you back next year!!!..

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53 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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2 hrs ago

MotoGP

What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

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Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕

Was right near this, was horrific to see bit thankfully they hobbled away

Dovi has to be the unlikeliest rider in motogp history, the amount of times he's been wiped out by others is nuts

That was vicious. No life threatening injuries? Good day. Thank god for quality equipment.

Wishing Dovi a speedy recovery.

Dovi is out of luck this season. So sad to see a competitive rider ruling out of the race.

Absolutely horrific. Was anxious to see if Dovi got up. Thankfully he did. Wishing both riders swift recovery.

ขอพระเจ้าคุ้มครองทั้ง2

I hope Fabio and Dovi are both okay

Hope both riders are ok wish them both a speedy recovery

I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Meanwhile a footballer who has a 2mph collision with another player writhes on the grass crying foul and holding himself in agony .Bike racers are real men.

Quel dommage pour ces deux superbes pilotes! #20

A very dangerous game yet we love it soooo much. Thanks to all rider who deliver a very competitive race every year. Dovi n Fabio, speed recovery please. I believe anyone who sit on that situation cant avoid hitting the loose bike.

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

In situations where dovi needs the most points 😱

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

The problem started with Rins who had to brake and almost lost The front.

Why did his bike catch fire, very unusual. Just one of those things.

Was scary was right in front of us 😱🏍❤️

Any update news from medic about dovi's situation?

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15 hrs ago

F1

Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren has impressed the most because last season they where horrible and now they are best of the rest. Also Red Bull and Honda seem to be a nice match, would love to see Max finish what Jos started with Honda. Most disappointing this season are Haas and Renault. Renault because they wanted to close the gap to the top 3, but right now they are 6th. And they are the only unreliable engine in the field right now. Haas is having a horrible season, they seem to be getting worse during the season instead of improving.

If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari have been the most impressive, from being the slowest manufacturer in 2014 to being a reasonable threat and smashing McLaren and Williams comprehensibly. McLaren and Williams should just pack their bags and go home, Ferrari have nailed their coffin shut and it can be considered karma for their various indiscretions in 1990 (senna wiping out prost), 1994, 1997 (Villeneuve incident), 1998, 1999, 2007 (spygate), 2008... The British public couldn't care less about McLaren or Williams they only support whatever "British" team is winning, in this case Mercedes

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

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