Every racing fan has his favorite series. In most of the world, that'll probably be Formula One. In the United States, fans love their NASCAR. In parts of Europe they might follow DTM, but with few exceptions that's pretty much it. Except for Le Mans. Come June, everybody's attention turns to France. But that's just once a year, and sportscar racing continues around the world and around the calendar in such leagues as the LMS, ALMS and FIA GT Championship.
One of the most important endurance races of the year – the 24 Hours of Spa – just took place in Belgium at the Spa-Francorchamps this past weekend. If you follow the FIA GT series, you probably already know who won. But if you don't, follow the jump to see how the day-long race turned out.
[Source: Autosport, Image: Michel Krakowski/Getty]
If you pop in once a year to see the result from Le Mans, you'll already know that Ferrari doesn't campaign in the top level of sportscar racing. In the early 90s, Maranello collaborated with racing firm Prodrive on the 550 GTS, but then the two went their separate ways, with Prodrive campaigning Aston Martins and Ferrari offering client racers the 575 GTC. But while the former continues to dominate at Le Mans and in the associated series, the latter was never a great success, and Ferrari switched its focus in sportscar racing. While the company offers the F430 GT2 to customers, during the period in which it controlled Maserati, it turned the Enzo into the Trident-badged MC12. Since 2004 the MC12 GT1 has dominated the FIA GT Championship, and this past weekend's 24 Hours of Spa was no exception.
As the opening laps wound down on Saturday, the #6 Corvette of Phoenix Racing held the lead. But as the sun set in Belgium the Corvettes ran into trouble, as did the Aston Martins, and the #1 Vitaphone Maserati took the lead. Steve Zacchia totaled his Saleen in the warm-up that morning, and as the Corvettes kept on crashing the team actually ran out of extra body panels.
By the end of the race, the #1 Maserati took a commanding lead of two full laps ahead of the second Maserati, giving the Enzo-derived racers an impressive 1-2 finish. The #10 Gigawave Aston Martin DB9 rounded out the podium.
And what about the GT2 class? Victory there was reaped by Maranello's best as the BMS Scuderia Ferrari F430 GT2 took top honors, joined by the #50 AF Corse Ferrari in third, sandwiching the #61 Prospeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RS which took a second place class finish.
The results give the Vitaphone Maserati a commanding lead in the teams' championship and the top four spots in the drivers' championship, while the Ferrari F430s take the top three spots in the GT2 teams' championship and the top six spots in the GT2 drivers' title.
If you listen very carefully, you can hear the bells ringing all the way from Modena.