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Optimum Tops Spa 24 Hours Test Day

65 cars hit the track ahead of this month's big race

65 cars hit the track today at Spa-Francorchamps for the official Test Day as part of the final preparations ahead of the 70th running of the Belgian endurance classic, the fastest time coming from guest-entrant Optimum Motorsport.

Optimum’s #175 British GT Aston Martin Vantage set a 2:19.802 in the afternoon running to go fastest, just 0.0031 faster than Herberth Motorsports’ Am class Porsche 911 GT3 R, which slotted in second but went fastest of the cars entered for the race proper.

The Optimum Vantage was driven by AMR factory ace Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh, who were using the track time to prepare for the next round of the British GT Championship, which is held at the Belgian circuit.

Completing the top three was the #23 GT Sport Motul Team RJN 2018 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, which will race in the Pro class in this year’s race. The time set by the car was a 2:29.888, meaning the top three cars lapped within a tenth of one another.

The fourth fastest time of the day came from the fastest of M-Sport’s pair of 2018 Bentley Continental GT3s, which like the aforementioned RJN Nissan, was getting its first taste of the Spa circuit. The best time of the two Continentals was set by the #7, which managed a 2:19.908 in the second session.

The best of the Audi’s, the #2 Audi Sport WRT R8 LMS, went fifth fastest overall during the day with a 2:19.999 (which was the quickest time in the Morning test).

Outside of the top five, the #8 Bentley ended up sixth, with the #82 Grasser Racing Huracan setting the seventh best time, a 2:20.276 in the afternoon. The KUS Team75 Bernhard Porsche finished the day with the eighth fastest time, set in the morning, a 2:20.229 which was initially good enough for second.

Elsewhere, the day also presented Castrol Honda Racing with a chance to put its new NSX GT3 to the test at Spa for the first time ahead of its European 24-hour race debut later this month at the event. The car’s best time was a 2:20.655, which was fastest Pro-Am time all day.

Unfortunately, the day was interrupted multiple times for various spins, offs and dramas. The biggest reported incident involved the #5 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 of Kriton Lendoudis, Saud Al Faisal, Rui Aguas and Adam Christodoulou. The car had an off into the guardrails at Les Combes, damaging the front-end of the car (below) significantly.

Outside of the off, it was a quiet day overall for Mercedes teams, the fastest example being the #4 Black Falcon AMG GT3 after the day’s track action, which ended up 15th in the afternoon session with a 2:20.793.

Though, of course, there’s little to read into at this stage when looking at lap times.

Photo courtesy of Blancpain GT Series