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HomeNewsarticle presseSpa 24 Hours: Hexis Racing’s biggest 2013 adventure!

Spa 24 Hours: Hexis Racing’s biggest 2013 adventure!

Posted 19 Jul, 2013 by in article presse0
Spa 24 Hours: Hexis Racing’s biggest 2013 adventure!

Over the last three seasons Hexis Racing’s biggest adventure was the FIA GT1 World Championship. From Europe to China, from Argentina to Russia and from Brazil to Abu Dhabi, the French team won the World title sandwiched between two runner-up finishes. This year its priority aim is to put on an outstanding performance in the Spa 24 Hours. It has what it takes to back the challenge it has launched against the established front-runners in GT endurance, namely: talented drivers, the backing of McLaren GT, excellent results in the Blancpain Series and a maiden outing in the Belgian classic in which it almost scored a top-3 finish in 2011!

The programmes implemented this season dovetail perfectly with this strategy. Hexis is taking part in a Pro championship, the Blancpain Endurance Series of which the Spa 24 Hours is the blue riband event. The French team is also entered in the FFSA French GT Championship, which has a Pro-Am formula. At Spa-Francorchamps it will run one of its McLaren MP4-12C GT3s (no. 7) in the Pro Cup with its usual line-up consisting of Stef Dusseldorp and works McLaren GT drivers Alvaro Parente and Alexander Sims. The second car (no. 107) is entered in the Pro-Am Cup for Olivier Panis, Laurent Cazenave and Eric Debard, three of the four drivers racing in the French Championship backed up by young charger, Côme Ledogar.

Philippe Dumas gives us his impressions with just a week to go to the opening of hostilities! “I’ve got a strange feeling about this race. On the one hand, I’m split between the pressure of the event and the desire plus the obligation to do a good job. On the other, we’ve been preparing for this race in such a meticulous fashion that I’ve got great confidence in our team and I believe we can pull off a fantastic result. Over the years this event has become the greatest GT endurance race in the world. Even if we’ve already written a few fantastic lines in our results, this one would undoubtedly be one of the most prestigious, before possible major changes within our team in the near future. So we’re racing in the Spa 24 Hours to win, with our drivers, mechanics, engineers, our technical and logistics squads, with – and for – McLaren GT.”

Motors TV will provide live coverage of the race and Eurosport will broadcast the highlights.

7 questions for 7 drivers

 Is the Hexis Racing team capable of winning the Spa 24 Hours?
Alvaro Parente (no. 7 McLaren MP4-12C GT3 / Pro Cup, 2nd start in the Spa 24 Hours): “I think Hexis is very capable to do the job and I’m sure we are very motivated. Fingers crossed everything goes well, anyway we will be looking very strong.” 

Among your rivals who do you think will be the hardest to beat?
Alexander Sims (no. 7 McLaren / Pro Cup, 1st start in the Spa 24 Hours): “I think it is difficult to single out just one car! From racing against our competitors in the Blancpain Endurance Series so far this year it is clear that the competition is fierce at every weekend. The WRT and Phoenix Audi’s, Kessel Racing Ferrari, Marc VDS BMW, Gulf and ART McLaren’s and JRM Nissan are probably the cars we will be racing from the main series. However with Spa there are some one off entries and this adds another factor into the race that we are not sure of, for example I expect Bruno Senna and his co-drivers in the Von Ryan McLaren will be pretty strong!” 

Do you think the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 has what it takes to win at Spa?
Stef Dusseldorp (no. 7 McLaren / Pro Cup, 3rd start in the Spa 24 Hours): “I think Hexis and McLaren did everything they could to prepare the car for the race. We showed in Paul Ricard the car has a good pace and I think Spa will also suit the car well. With the strong teammates I have and the best team, I’m sure we have a chance to win!”

In this kind of race what are the main traps to be avoided?
Olivier Panis (no. 107 McLaren MP4-12C GT3 / Pro-Am Cup, 3rd start in the Spa 24 Hours): “The key to a good result will be the traffic as there are seventy cars on the track. You have to anticipate what’s going to happen and be on your guard. You can gain a second per lap and then lose half-an-hour in the pits. It’s also important to eat properly and rest. Like Le Mans it’s a long, tiring week. The last six hours are very tough, both physically and mentally.”

 In your opinion, what makes this race magic?
Côme Ledogar (no. 107 McLaren / Pro-Am Cup, 1st start in the Spa 24 Hours): “It’s obvious that the circuit’s magic, and in general I’ve gone pretty well there. I’m also amazed at the number of prestigious makes at the start and the level of the drivers. I’d like to thank Hexis and the drivers in no. 107 for their confidence in me.”

Which is more difficult: winning the race or the Pro-Am category?
Laurent Cazenave (no. 107 McLaren / Pro-Am Cup, 1st start in the Spa 24 Hours): “I think it’s going to be very hard to win in the two categories. In the Pro category there are several works drivers and Porsche has joined the party. It’ll be a flat-out sprint. In Pro-Am the Platinum and Gold drivers have the same level as in the Pro Cup; the amateurs are becoming quicker and more skilled, and in addition to the quality we’ll also have quantity. So the battle’s going to be as intense as the one for outright victory. I wouldn’t be surprised that with the pace we’re going to see, there’ll be more retirements than usual.”

What particular memory have you got of your previous outings?
Eric Debard (no. 107 McLaren / Pro-Am Cup, 3rd start in the Spa 24 Hours): “In 2012 in the last hour we were heading for a top-three finish in Pro-Am. Olivier [Panis] was at the wheel behind the safety car and I was waiting in the pits with the headset on. Suddenly, I heard him say that he could no longer change gear! I said to myself that we were going to lose everything so near the finish. An engineer then broke in and said to Olivier, ‘recheck, recheck.’ The car started working again and we had our top-three finish!”

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