Three become four at Oman Racing for Spa24

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New class, new challenge for the Oman Racing Team in Total 24 hours of Spa

The Oman Racing Team will unveil its new look driver line-up this week as the squad heads to the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for the biggest event of the 2015 GT season; the Total 24 Hours of Spa (July 25/26).

Arguably the biggest GT3 race in the world; this year marks the 67th annual event of what is undoubtedly the highlight on the Blancpain Endurance Series calendar. The Oman Racing Team returns to Spa with high hopes of a strong finish where it will compete in the Pro-Am class for the first time during Saturday’s round the clock contest.

19 year-old Australian and Aston Martin Racing Evolution Academy driver Jonathan Venter joins the existing Oman Racing Team driver line-up and will make his debut on the Belgian circuit alongside Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam, fellow Evolution Academy driver Daniel Lloyd and Ahmad Al Harthy in the #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.

“You look forward to certain races during the season and Spa 24 hours is one of those races that it’s a massive privilege to be a part of;” said the Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum. “This year with the quality of the grid being what it is in the Blancpain, you need to go there with a clear plan in your mind of how you’re going to tackle it. For us this year the big decision has been to move into the Pro-Am class.”

Bartrum continued: “To then add a driver to the strong line-up that we already have you need to make sure that you have the right ingredient so that team balance stays right. It’s essential not only to get the grading right but also that to find a driver fits well within the team, has the character we need, offers the turn of speed required and is also able to use the product - and in Jonathan we have the ideal man.

“He comes very highly recommended and from what we know so far we have a young, dynamic driver that fits perfectly in the Oman Racing Team line-up and I’m really, really excited about Spa now;” added the Team Boss.

Bartrum’s squad faces a remarkable grid of competitors this year, with 59 GT3’s from the world’s leading endurance teams set to race on the mighty Ardennes track and the Team Principal is confident that with a little good fortune this time out the Oman-backed team has the potential to deliver a strong result.

“Spa feels like unfinished business for us after last year, especially when we were running as high up as we were. Everyone is really looking forward to going back this year and hopefully getting the chance to finish off what we started 12 months ago. If we can stay out of trouble and things go our way then I feel confident that the driver line-up and our pace should see us right in the mix of the action."

The build-up for the Total 24 hours of Spa begins with a town centre grand parade on Wednesday (July 22) before race preparations get underway in earnest on Thursday (July 23) with free practice, qualifying and night qualifying sessions running into the late evening. Friday then plays host to the Super Pole shootout where the top 20 qualifying cars compete ahead of Saturday’s 24 hour race (July 25).

Free practice starts at 12noon local time on Thursday, with qualifying from 8.30pm followed by night qualifying at 10.15pm. The 24-hour race will start at 4.30pm on Saturday (July 26). A full timetable of this week’s events and build up to the Total 24 hours of Spa can be found on the official website.

Live timing of Thursday’s qualifying sessions and of the entire 24 hour race can also be found on the official 24 hours of Spa website here.

MotorsTV will be showing intermittent live coverage of Saturday’s race from 3pm (UK time) with replays of the Super Pole session at 2.30pm. Highlights of the race are also scheduled from 9pm (UK time) on Sunday (July 26).

MotorsTV can be found on the following channels: Sky 447, Virgin 545 and Freeview 71 & 240.

Driver quotes:

Jonny Adam:

“Spa 24 hour is the hardest GT race in the world. This will be my fourth year of doing it and I’m really looking forward to racing there with Motorbase.

“It’s nice to dip into the Pro-Am class, we’ve got a really strong line-up and the Aston should be quite strong around Spa. If we finish and manage to avoid any issues or dramas during the race then I think realistically we could aim for a podium this weekend. We have the speed in the car and a good line up with the four drivers in the team to make it happen, but it’s a massive team effort and all of the elements have to work together.”

Daniel Lloyd:

“After not getting a drive last year, it feels a little like unfinished business so I’m really looking forward to going back and getting the chance to have a proper run in the Aston.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge but we’re all looking forward to it. One of our strengths this year has been our race pace and that’s what this race is all about so it should be interesting.”

Ahmad Al Harthy:

“We’re all looking forward to this weekend at Spa. It’s the biggest event of the year, and the most popular one. We had a good run last year but it’s definitely unfinished business for us. The first thing we hope for is to finish the race then if we can do that, the second thing would be to aim to finish in the top part of the grid.

“It all depends on so many factors but as a team we are ever so prepared, we’re in the best position in terms of gelling as a team and welcoming Jonathan to the team only strengthens our line-up.”

Jonathan Venter:

“It’s a great privilege to be racing for the Oman Racing Team at Spa 24 hours. They have a great track history in many categories and will be strong contenders this year in the Pro-Am category.

“The car line up looks quite strong with lots of talent, so I’m eager to add my own experience to the car and work hard to get up to speed quickly as I have not raced at Spa before.”

Source material and photo credits - Motorbase
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