Spa: Marc VDS preview

The Ford GT of Marc VDS Racing Team ready for battle in the 1000 Kms of Spa One week after Silverstone and two weeks before the next round of the FIA GT1 World Championship in Brno, the Ford GT of Marc VDS Racing Team will start in front of its...

The Ford GT of Marc VDS Racing Team ready for battle in the 1000 Kms of Spa

One week after Silverstone and two weeks before the next round of the FIA GT1 World Championship in Brno, the Ford GT of Marc VDS Racing Team will start in front of its home crowd for the first time this year. The occasion is the Spa 1000 Kms, for Bas Leinders, Eric De Doncker and Markus Palttala an excellent dress rehearsal for the highlight of the season, the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 12-13.

It is not so easy to convert a sprint machine to a car fit for endurance racing in a couple of days' time. But that is exactly what the Marc VDS Racing Team did this week, in order to participate in the Spa 1000 Kms, the second round of the Le Mans Series and the ideal dress rehearsal for the mother of all endurance races, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Bas Leinders, Eric De Doncker and Markus Palttala will use this race to find an answer 'to all questions and problems we might encounter during the race in Le Mans'. It is clear that the target in Spa is to finish the race, not necessarily to finish high up the order.

Bas Leinders: "Obviously we will enjoy driving in front of our home crowd, but our main aim in Spa is to prepare for Le Mans. Actually, we will start in a six hours' race with a car that is meant to drive one hour races, in order to do well in a monument that lasts 24 hours! Eric and I will participate for the first time in the Spa 1000 Kms, but for Markus it's his sixth edition. I am certainly looking forward to it."

Eric De Doncker: "The magnificent presentation of this event on the Brussels' Grand Place set the tone for this race which is close to our hearts. But although we would like to perform well in front of our home crowd, we may not lose sight of our main aim, and that is to collect as much information as possible to learn how to act and react during the race in Le Mans next month."

Markus Palttala: "Yes, of our crew I am the driver with the most experience in this race, but I think Bas and Eric will feel quickly at home. There are some differences with the races of the GT1 World Championship, apart from the race duration that is. This time, we will have to adapt our car to the harder compound of the Michelin tyres. Our tests in Le Castellet were satisfying, but funnily enough the temperatures were very low that day. For sure, we will drive in different circumstances this weekend. We also have access to telemetry on our car this time, something which is forbidden in GT1. I only hope that the ECU imposed by the FIA and ACO will perform better than during the sprint races, but I doubt it. The competition is very high meanwhile, with no less than eight GT1-cars at the start. But even though a race is a race, and we would like to battle it out for position, we cannot stray from our main aim, the preparation of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Because that is a whole other story..."

-source: marc vds

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Bas Leinders , Markus Palttala
Teams Marc VDS Racing