Winning the Hungarian Grand Prix wasn’t the only reason for Mercedes-Benz to celebrate this past weekend. One of its race cars was driven to overall victory at the Spa 24 Hours, giving the German automaker its first victory at the Belgian endurance classic since 1964.
The race car, a 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, was fielded by HTP-Motorsport and driven by Bernd Schneider, Maximilian Gotz and Maximilian Buhk. They managed to finish a whole lap ahead of second-placed Manthey Racing and its 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet.
For Schneider, it has been an epic year with Mercedes. He has driven the SLS AMG GT3 to overall victories at the Dubai 24 Hours, the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia and the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Throughout the Spa race, it was clear the HTP-Motorsport Mercedes was one of the quicker cars but some impressive pitstops executed by Manthey Racing kept Porsche in the running for overall victory. It seemed it was all over when Pilet was given a drive-through penalty for overtaking before the start line at the end of a safety car period.
Third place went to Team WRT and its 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by André Lotterer, Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler. They finished a full six laps behind the leading car.
The best-placed Ferrari was the 458 race car of AF Corse, driven by Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin, Alex Mortimer and Toni Vilander. They came fifth overall.
Also, a Nissan 370Z race car, fielded by RJN and with original Nissan GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez among its drivers, came seventh overall.
Sadly for McLaren, which saw ten of its 12C GT3 race cars entered in the event, including one driven by former F1 driver Bruno Senna, it didn’t make it into the top ten finishers.
For those unfamiliar with the Spa 24 Hours, it is an annual endurance race that takes place at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It is one of the main races on the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Below at the top ten finishers for the 2013 Spa 24 Hours:
1. Schneider/Buhk/Gotz (HTP Mercedes)
2. Lieb/Lietz/Pillet (Manthey Porsche)
3. Lotterer/Mies/Stippler (Team WRT Audi)
4. Primat/Jarvis/Haase (Team Phoenix Audi)
5. Cameron/Griffin/Mortimer/Vilander (AF Corse Ferrari)
6. Salo/Ladygin/Shaitar/Mediani (SMP Ferrari)
7. Ordonez/Mardenborough/Pyzera/Reip (RJN Nissan)
8. Hummel/Jans/Christodoulou/Jager (Black Falcon Mercedes)
9. Hennerici/Maassen/Soulet (Prospeed Porsche)
10. Zlobin/Persiani/Ladygin/Babini (SMP Ferrari)