A win on home ground a couple of weeks ago has buoyed Andy Priaulx and his Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team mates ahead of the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Belgium. Also the fact that Spa-Franchorchamps is one of the Guernsey driver’s favourite circuits plays a part in that optimism. As usual he will be sharing the number 67 Ford GT with Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani.
“All I can say is that Silverstone was the dream start to our championship assault and we are determined to do everything we can to keep on that winning path. We have to maintain that performance after pole and the win. I think it is going to be close and we have to get as many points as possible at every race as we are looking at the title. Spa is a special circuit. I have very fond memories of my races there in the past, and a second last year proves our car suites the track. From the moment you walk into the paddock you know you are at one of the most challenging and fun circuits on the calendar. I can’t wait to get back in the car and drive it through Eau Rouge,” he said. While Spa is the immediate focus, the triple world champion has no illusions about what is important in the WEC: “Of course now the focus is on Le Mans and our preparations have already start for that.”
While Andy will be in Belgium, he will also be keeping a close eye on racing nearer to home, as he explained: “At the same time my son Seb will be racing in the Ginetta Junior championship in Thruxton, so I will be watching what is going on there. Also it goes without saying that our thoughts will be with Billy Monger, who was Seb’s team mate, after his terrible accident in Donington. He is going to be in our minds for our first weekend back racing and we are all going to drive to make him proud.”
The 7.004 Kilometre (4.352 mile) Spa-Francorchamps track in the Ardennes region of Belgium is without doubt one of the most picturesque anywhere in the world. The first time the WEC cars will be on track will be on Thursday, 4th May for Free Practice 1, which will be from 11.45 to 13.15. This is then followed later that day by Free Practice 2 from 16.45 to 18.15. On Friday Free Prctice 3 is from 10.25 to 11.25 and then qualifying for the LMGTE Pro and Am cars is from 14.50 to 15.15. On Saturday the six hour race starts at 14.30 and finishes at 20.30. All these times are local, so an hour ahead of BST.
2017 FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
16th April – 6 Hours of Silverstone – GBR
6th May – WEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps – BEL
17th/18th June – Le Mans 24 Hours – FRA
16th July – 6 Hours of Nürburgring –DEU
3rd September – 6 Hours of Mexico City – MEX
16th September – 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas – USA
15th October – 6 Hours of Fuji – JAP
5th November – 6 Hours of Shanghai – CHN
18th November – 6 Hours of Bahrain – BHR