Spa: Skoda Charouz preview

Nearly two months long break in the Le Mans Series has reached the end and exceptionally big starting field is going to the legendary Spa Franchorchamps track in Belgium. The Czech team Skoda Charouz Racing System -- Lola/Judd is among them. This...

Nearly two months long break in the Le Mans Series has reached the end and exceptionally big starting field is going to the legendary Spa Franchorchamps track in Belgium. The Czech team Skoda Charouz Racing System -- Lola/Judd is among them. This weekend will see an exception and just two drivers will share the wheel in the fourth round out of six. Jan Charouz and Stefan Muecke will try to score another successful result for the factory Lola B07/17 Judd.

Alex Yoong, their team-mate in previous rounds, has decided to give priority to preparation for the upcoming A1 Grand Prix season. The Malaysian ex-formula 1 driver was member of the team in the two previous Le Mans Series races (Valencia, Nuerburgring) and also in the prestigious 24 Hours Le Mans. On the contrary, he missed the season opener 1000 km of Monza where competed only Charouz with Muecke.

Sunday's race at Spa has the usual format of the series and competitors will fight over 1000 km or six hours maximum whatever will come first. There will be record breaking number of cars -- 53! The track in the Ardens has a big history related to this form of racing, similar one to Monza or Nuerburgring. The first 1000 km race at Spa took place 41 years ago and enjoyed biggest glory in the 80' of last century.

It was in the time of incredibly technically advanced and popular group C cars. Those ultra-powerful cars were driven by many driver aces including former or current F1 drivers. It was at the time of the WSC championship, namely in 1985, when the world lost one of the most talented drivers ever. German Stefan Bellof was killed in the wreckage of the Porsche 956 Turbo at the Eau Rouge corner.

Both drivers of Skoda Charouz Racing System -- Lola-Judd like the Belgian track. Jan Charouz has also fresh memories because he took part in the 24 hours race three weeks ago. The race was part of the FIA GT championship and the twenty years old driver from Prague drove the Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 car for the first time. He set the fastest time of the European GT3 class during his first experience with the car. Moreover, he was also clocking regularly 1.5 seconds faster lap times comparing to the opposition. He started there also last year with the Saleen S7R.

Also Muecke was in the field in the 24 hours race (Lamborghini Murcielago GT1) and two years ago raced at Spa in the DTM. The pair met last weekend at Most where they won together with Antonin Charouz (O2 Mercedes Benz AMG DTM C-class) the three hours endurance race of the Czech championship.

Jan Charouz: "I am really looking forward to Spa Francorchamps. I like the track since my first start. It is pity that Alex will not be with us because we became good mates. He is entertaining chap. However, I fully understand his reasons why he is not driving with us. I hope that we will repeat our speed from previous races. We are strong enough to be fastest right behind the factory Peugeots with more powerful turbo-diesel engines. I am pleased that I was that quick with Lamborghini at Spa, as it is a promising sign for this weekend. I just hope that there will be no rain because it is very tricky in the forests."

Stefan Muecke: "I can just repeat Jan's words. Spa Francorchamps is a fantastic track and I always enjoy driving there. It is one of the best and most beautiful tracks in Europe. Moreover, I think that the track should suit our Lola B07/17 Judd. I hope we will be able to fulfil the expectation to be the fastest behind Peugeot diesels."

Antonin Charouz, Team Principal: "Both our drivers precisely described our ambitions and possibilities, so I am not going to repeat their words. I fully understand and accept Alex's decision to focus on preparations for the upcoming A1GP season. We are planning something similar. Given the fact that we are also going to compete in the World Cup of Motorsport again I am thinking about missing the last Le Mans Series race in Brasil and both ALMS race where we initially wanted to race. Our decision will be based on our result at Spa and also in next race at Silverstone. I also must mention Jarek Janis who is driving for Spyker Squadron. I hope that he will finally see the checquered flag, hopefully in a good position."

Credit: Skoda Charouz

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Alex Yoong , Stefan Bellof , Jan Charouz , Antonin Charouz , Jarek Janis