At the Spa 24 Hours, the Audi customer teams had set their sights on the aim of battling for the third victory in succession at the most important GT3 endurance race. In the end, third place was achieved. The current regulations drastically slowed the Audi R8 LMS which, with a tally of 18 titles, has been very successful. As early as in qualifying, grid positions 20, 27, 30, 31, 32, 35 and 53 made this clearly evident. Even Audi’s top driver team had no chance. They as well as their team colleagues regularly lost around one second per lap to their rivals right in the first fast sector of the 7.004-kilometer track.
Third place for André Lotterer/Christopher Mies/Frank Stippler (D/D/D), following a nearly flawless drive of the best Audi R8 LMS ultra at Spa was an outstanding result. A puncture during the night was the only irregularity in the first 18 hours of the race. After three quarters of the distance, the GT3 sports car with red diamond graphics was running in third place – albeit with a four-lap gap.
“Due to the current balance of performance our teams were clearly unable to keep the race pace at the front,” analyzed Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We were lapped several times, which shows how big the differences due to the regulations were in the field. If even our last year’s Spa winner Frank Stippler, Blancpain Endurance Champion Christopher Mies, DTM Champion Mattias Ekström and our two-time Le Mans winners André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler were chanceless in this race, this leaves no doubts. To compensate, our drivers had to take a very high risk. As in 2011 and 2012, Audi’s customers would have liked to have battled for victory again but that was impossible this time. This is very regrettable as the world’s biggest GT3 race certainly would have deserved a more intense competition of all nine brands.”
With a six-lap gap, the red R8 of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT ultimately reached the podium. The second-best Audi in the field was provided by Team Phoenix Racing. Christopher Haase (D), Oliver Jarvis (GB) and Harold Primat (CH) showed a consistent performance. Due to a brilliant team performance they advanced all the way to fourth place in the reliable Audi R8 LMS ultra. Since the seventh hour of the race the trio had been defending its position among the top ten in the field of the 65 entrants.
1. Buhk/Götz/Schneider (Mercedes), 564 laps
2. Lieb/Lietz/Pilet (Porsche) – 1 lap
3. Lotterer/Mies/Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 6 laps
4. Haase/Jarvis/Primat (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 7 laps
5. Cameron/Griffin/Mortimer/Vilander (Ferrari) – 7 laps
6. Ladygin/Mediani/Salo/Shaitar (Ferrari) – 8 laps
7. Mardenborough/Ordonez/Pyzera/Reip (Nissan) – 11 laps
8. Christodoulou/Hummel/Jäger/Jans (Mercedes) – 13 laps
9. Hennerici/Maassen/Soulet (Porsche) – 14 laps
10. Babini/Ladygin/Persiani/Zlobin (Ferrari) – 17 laps