Motorsports

Published on July 29th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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Malaysian Team Among Porsche’s Spa 24 Hours Lineup

100% Malaysian-owned EBM Giga Racing will be competing in 1 of the 12 911s racing at Spa this weekend. 

While all eyes are on our national team participating in the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are nevertheless other Malaysians making waves in other forms of sports too during this time. One of which is wholly locally-owned EBM Giga Racing team, who is set to be competing in the upcoming Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race this weekend. 

For further patriotic pride too, EBM Giga Racing has also fielded a local to be among the driver roster of its #61 Porsche 911 GT3 R. With Malaysian Adrian Henry D’Silva set to be vying for victory in the Pro-Am class of this 24 hour endurance event alongside his teammates Will Bamber and Reid Harker of New Zealand, and Carlos Rivas from Luxembourg. 

And continuing just a little bit further on the victory aspect, there is actually quite a good chance for this Malaysian-owned team to secure a place on the podium from the 14 cars competing in its class. That is because despite being a newcomer team to this endurance event, it is worth pointing out that the EBM in EBM Giga Racing actually stands for Earl Bamber Motorsports. 

A family racing team founded by two-time Le Mans winner Earl Bamber and his younger brother Will Bamber, EBM already has a long list of accolades to its name when it comes to racing Porsches in various events across the world. So it therefore wouldn’t really be all that inconceivable for them to add one more. 

Now touching more on the upcoming race in general meanwhile, Porsche will be aiming for one of its twelve 911 GT3 Rs racing in this event will be able to nab a place on the top-step of the podium this year. Hence continuing the German automaker’s dominance at the Belgium circuit, following on from victories in both 2019 and 2020. 

The motorsports action at the 2021 Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours kicks off on the 29th of July (Thursday) at 4.50 p.m MYT with Free Practice, while the actual race will begin at 10.30 p.m. on the 31st of July (Saturday). To those eager to catch the race live, the event would be legally broadcasted for FREE at the Intercontinental GT Challenge website linked here. 

PRESS RELEASE: With 10 customer teams, 12 911 GT3 R racers and a total of 40 drivers – seven of whom are from the works team – Porsche is represented by an impressive line-up at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race.

The preview

Hardly any other manufacturer will have more racing cars on the grid of the endurance classic this coming weekend. The legendary event on the 7.004-kilometre ‘Ardennes rollercoaster’ is considered one of the most important GT3 events in the world and counts towards two of this season’s championships: the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). Porsche is aiming for a hat trick on the Belgian Grand Prix circuit. In 2019, works drivers Michael Christensen (Denmark), Kévin Estre (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) claimed outright victory in the 911 GT3 R fielded by GPX Racing. Last year, another factory driver trio, Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), won the highlight of the GT3 season, that time with the Rowe Racing squad.

It is a century-old motor racing tradition. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has been one of the greatest challenges for drivers from all around the world since 1921. As early as 1924 – just three years after the opening – the first 24-hour race was held in the eastern-most corner of Belgium not far from the German border. At that time, the racetrack measured 14.863 km and ran between the towns of Malmedy, Francorchamps and Stavelot. In 1979, a shorter version was introduced. At 7.004 km and with 21 corners, the storied Grand Prix circuit is still the longest on the Formula One calendar. Thanks to the spectacularly steep section Raidillon/Eau Rouge and the downhill passage with the infamous Blanchimont left-hander, the circuit continues to live up to its reputation as the ‘Ardennes rollercoaster’. The tight La Source hairpin at the end of the start-finish straight is one of the slowest corners of the GT3 season.

In the long and illustrious history of this endurance classic, Porsche has so far notched up eight overall victories – the last two in succession. For the Spa-Francorchamps event, drivers and vehicles can earn points towards the IGTC and the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup after six, 12 and 24 hours. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only a limited number of spectators are allowed to attend the 24-hour race.

An overview of the Porsche teams and drivers

The 12 911 GT3 R cars fielded by Porsche’s customer teams will tackle the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race in four different classes. Seven 911 racing cars each helmed by three drivers will fight for overall victory in the 25-strong Pro division. Dinamic Motorsport and KCMG each campaign two of the Weissach-developed rear-wheel drive vehicles. The 2019 Spa winner GPX Racing fields one car. For the first time, Rutronik Racing runs a 911 GT3 R with another Porsche entered by Schnabl Engineering. The team known from the Nürburgring-Nordschleife decided at short notice to contest its debut race at the endurance classic. The vehicles fielded by GPX and Schnabl Engineering, the No. 47 car from KCMG and Dinamic No. 54 entry as well as the Porsche of Huber Motorsport and Herberth Motorsport from the Am and Pro-Am classes can also earn points for the manufacturer’s classification of the IGTC.

In the Silver Cup, Allied Racing flies the flag for the sports car manufacturer. In this class, four drivers are permitted per racing car and their FIA status must be no more than ‘silver’. Simply put, this class is reserved for semi-professionals. With 17 entries expected, this class is the second largest in the starting field.

Fourteen vehicles contest the Pro-Am class. Aside from Herberth Motorsport, another newcomer campaigns a 911 GT3 R in the long-distance classic: the EBM Giga Racing belongs to Will Bamber and his brother Earl, who claimed overall victory twice at Le Mans in the 919 Hybrid as a Porsche works driver. To be eligible to contest the Pro-Am category, at least two drivers must have ‘bronze’ status, share the wheel for at least eight hours and spend at least 60 minutes in the cockpit per race quarter.

In the Am Cup reserved exclusively for privateers, Porsche is represented by Huber Motorsport and Hägeli by T2 Racing. In this category, too, four drivers share each cockpit, of which at least three must hold ‘bronze’ status and the fourth must have no higher than ‘silver’ status.

Porsche supports its customer teams with engineers and advisors as well as seven works drivers: Kévin Estre and Richard Lietz race for Rutronik, Matt Campbell (Australia) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) fly the colours for GPX Racing. Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor helms KCMG’s No. 47 car, with Frenchman Romain Dumas driving for Dinamic Motorsport and his compatriot Frédéric Makowiecki for Schnabl Engineering. Moreover, Porsche’s test driver Lars Kern from Germany provides reinforcement for the Allied Racing squad.

Pro class

Schnabl Engineering (Porsche 911 GT3 R #3)

Michael Christensen (Denmark), Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Dennis Olsen (Norway)

KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #18)

Josh Burdon (Australia), Alexandre Imperatori (Switzerland), Edoardo Liberati (Italy)

Rutronik Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #21)

Kévin Estre (France), Richard Lietz (Austria), Sven Müller (Germany)

GPX Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #22)

Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Matt Campbell (Australia), Mathieu Jaminet (France)

KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #47)

Maxime Martin (Belgium), Nick Tandy (Great Britain), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium)

Dinamic Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #54)

Klaus Bachler (Austria), Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Christian Engelhart (Germany)

Dinamic Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #56)

Romain Dumas (France), Mikkel O. Pedersen (Denmark), Andrea Rizzoli (Italy)

Silver Cup class

Team Allied Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #222)

Julien Apotheloz (Switzerland), Bastian Buus (Denmark), Lars Kern (Germany)

Pro-Am Cup class

EBM Giga Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #61)

Will Bamber, Reid Harker (both New Zealand), Adrian Henry D’Silva (Malaysia), Carlos Rivas (Luxembourg)

Herberth Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911)

Daniel Allemann (Switzerland), Antares Au (Great Britain), Alfred Renauer, Robert Renauer (both Germany)

Am-Cup class

Huber Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #23)

Ivan Jacoma, Nicolas Leutwiler (both Switzerland), Nico Menzel, Jacob Schell (both Germany)

Hägeli by T2 Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 R #166)

Marc Basseng, Dennis Busch (both Germany), Pieder Decurtins (Switzerland), Manuel Lauck (Germany)

Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race – all outright victories with Porsche

2020: Tandy / Bamber / Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
2019: Lietz / Christensen / Estre (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
2010: Dumas / J. Bergmeister / Ragginger / Henzler (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)
2003: Ortelli / Lieb / Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)
1993: C. Fittipaldi / Jarier / Alzen (Porsche 911 RSR)
1969: Chasseuil / Ballot-Léna (Porsche 911)
1968: Kremer / H. Kelleners / Kauhsen (Porsche 911)
1967: Gaban / Van Assche (Porsche 911)

The schedule (all times CEST)

Thursday, 29 July
10:50 – 12:20: Free practice
15:45 – 16:45: Pre-Qualifying
20:50 – 21:05: Qualifying 1
21:12 – 21:27: Qualifying 2
21:34 – 21:49: Qualifying 3
21:56 – 22:11: Qualifying 4
22:30 – 0:00: Night practice

Friday, 30 July
19:10 – 19:40: Warm Up
19:50 – 20:20: Super Pole

Saturday, 31 July
16:30: Start Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race

Sunday, 25 July
16:30: Finish Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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