Published on July 29th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Spa 24hours endurance race 2013 won by Mercedes Benz
Since it was first held in 1924 Mercedes have won the 24hours endurance race at Spa only twice and the last time was in 1964. The third has been a long time coming, a fact that will not be lost on the race winner Bernd Schneider, born in the very year of that last victory and for whom this win represents the culmination of an extraordinary year at the wheel of the German marque.
Schneider took victory alongside his team-mates Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG of the HTP team, having already won this year, in the same model of car, at the Dubai 24 hours, the Bathurst 12 hours and the Nürburgring 24 hours. A remarkable achievement for the 49-year-old driver who recently came out of retirement to take part in endurance racing having had a brief, unsuccessful three-year career in F1 but who went on to become a touring car champion, five times winner of the DTM championship.
He had no easy ride completing this grand slam of GT endurance titles either. The morning of the race offered apocalyptic grey skies interspersed with heavy rain and thunder but by the time the flag fell at 4.30pm on Saturday, sunshine offered the chance for the drivers to battle in perfect conditions, a battle that had, by the evening, become a nip-and-tuck affair between Schneider’s Mercedes, the two BMW Z4s of Marc VDS Racing and the Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R driven by Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet.
Exchanging the lead through the night, the BMWs and Porsche had a slight advantage but the former’s challenge ended for one car at 2.30am with an electrical problem and for the other at 5.30am with an engine failure. The Mercedes squad took the battle to Porsche in pace and a head-to-head fight ensued, with Schneider and his co-drivers finally taking advantage after 21 hours when the Manthey team were penalised with a drive through after overtaking before the start-finish line at the close of a period behind the safety car.
Engine troubles subsequently reduced the Porsche to five cylinders and rendering it unable to catch the HTP Mercedes which ran trouble free to the flag.
Although the Mercedes had a slight edge in speed Schneider acknowledged that it alone had not been enough. “The Porsche was a bit better in fuel consumption, which meant its stops were always a bit shorter and so we had to catch up on the track all the time, which made life pretty hard for us because we had to risk more in the traffic to catch them up,” he explained before admitting he was, unsurprisingly, exhausted.
2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa class standings after 24 hours:
1 – #84 HTP Motorsport – Buhk/Gotz/Schnieder
2 – #150 Manthey Racing – Lieb/Lietz/Pilet
3 – #2 Belgian Audi Sport Team WRT – Lotterer/Mies/Stippler
1 – #59 AF Corse – Cameron/Griffin/Mortimer/Vilander
2 – #71 SMP Racing – Mediani/Ladygin/Salo/Shaitar
3 – #35 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN – Mardenborough/Pyzera/Ordonez/Reip
1 – #20 – SOFREV ASP – Beaubelique/Blanchemain/Bouvy/Gouselard
2 – #52 – Sport Garage – Gorini/Lemeret/Prignaud
3 – #111 – Kessel Racing – Andreasi/Ciro/Paladino/Perez