Spa 24: Scuderia Ecosse preview

Edinburgh, Scotland: Scuderia Ecosse heads off to the Ardennes next week for the toughest round of the FIA GT Championship; the traditional 24 hour blast around Spa! The Spa-Francorchamps track is a firm favourite of all the Scuderia Ecosse...

Edinburgh, Scotland: Scuderia Ecosse heads off to the Ardennes next week for the toughest round of the FIA GT Championship; the traditional 24 hour blast around Spa! The Spa-Francorchamps track is a firm favourite of all the Scuderia Ecosse drivers. It is a daunting mix of high-speed corners including the legendary Eau Rouge and the fearsome Blanchimont. Only the brave need apply!

The FIA awards double points at Spa which are given in three stages: one-quarter at the six-hour mark, one-quarter at 12 hours and the remaining half at the finish. It is important to be at the head of the pack each time the points are given to make the most of the opportunity. The Spa 24 Hours is an incredibly tough race; a challenging circuit combined with a 24-hour race and unpredictable weather make it one of the most difficult and action-packed events of the GT calendar.

Ferrari no.63's driving team of Chris Niarchos and, 2006 Spa pole man, Andrew Kirkaldy, will be strengthened at Spa with the arrival of Britain's Tim Sugden, joining the team for this race.

Chris Niarchos:

"I'm really looking forward to this race. Mentally the Spa 24 Hours is easier than Le Mans as you don't have to deal with the huge speed differential between the GT and prototype cars. Physically though it is a lot harder: there's very little rest time during the lap, no Mulsanne Straight to have a breather, and a lot more high-speed corners. I think with our line-up we have a great chance in the race and have every intention of fighting for the race win."

Andrew Kirkaldy:

"We went very well at Spa last year; we got pole position, had a good race set-up, and were leading convincingly before an accident put us back. We have every chance of winning this year. The car is good and I have two strong team-mates. Chris (Niarchos) did a great job in the Spa 24 Hours last year and has two Le Mans 24 Hours under his belt now and Tim (Sugden) is very experienced and quick so we have a very good chance of getting the win."

Tim Sugden:

"I've been mainly racing in Asia this year but I've been missing GT racing in Europe; it's what I do and what I'm best at. Scuderia Ecosse is a fantastic team and I am racing with two top-flight drivers so I'm looking forward to having a really good race. We're going there to win it."

Ferrari no.62 will be raced by Tim Mullen and the Czech duo of Tomas Enge and Jarek Janis, who currently share the second seat in that car.

Tim Mullen:

"This is the most important race of the year for us due to the amount of points on offer. It's good to be going there with two quick team-mates and we just need to keep it clean and be up there at the points-scoring moments."

Tomas Enge:

"I raced in the 24 Hours of Spa last year; I like this race track very much, especially the legendary Eau Rouge corner which is real adrenaline rush. Not counting American speedways this is one of the corners where the driver feels great emotions. It is difficult to compare the 24 Hours of Spa with the 24 Hours Le Mans; the track is longer at Le Mans but Spa could be easier as we don't have to contend with the fast prototypes. Both races are very special, but they are equally long and equally demanding."

Jarek Janis:

"The 24 Hours of Spa is a famous race with rich history and long tradition. I'm looking forward to the race and to the cooperation with Tomas Enge and Tim Mullen. I think we could be really good crew. Spa is one of the most beautiful racing tracks in the world and very much enjoy going back there to race. Compared with Le Mans it is not so demanding for the car, because there aren't such long straights and you don't go with full open throttle so long."

Stewart Roden, Team Principal:

"I think the drivers have said it all. This is a tough race but, like Le Mans, you have to be in it to win it. In some ways it's harder at Spa as you need to make sure you are at the front each time the points are given out. It's a tough race for the team as they have a lot of pit-stops to get through, what with us running two cars. I think we have two strong teams of drivers so we stand a very good chance of having a successful Spa 24 Hours."

The FIA GT teams and their cars will descend on Spa town on Wednesday for the traditional autograph session and driver's briefing before the action begins at the circuit on Thursday. The 2007 Spa 24 Hours will begin at 1600hrs on Saturday.

-credit: scuderiaecosse

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About this article
Series Endurance , Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tomas Enge , Tim Sugden , Chris Niarchos , Tim Mullen , Andrew Kirkaldy , Jarek Janis