Invercargill’s Brendon Leitch is more than satisfied after competing in the Hankook 12h race at Spa-Francorchamps, in Belgium over the weekend. Along with team-mates Kerong Li and Jean-Francos Brunot, the trio finished sixth in the GT3 AM category at the second round of the 24H Series, driving a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO with Leipert Motorsport.
The decision to compete in the 12-hour race was made at very short notice by the team. As the opening event of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe in Imola (Italy) was postponed, the Leipert Motorsport crew used the freed-up date to complete an extensive test under racing conditions for the season highlight of the GT World Challenge, the CrowdStrike 24h of Spa at the traditional race track at the end of June.
“We went well,” commented Leitch. “The result did not necessarily show a lot as our aim was to get some racing miles for both our drivers and team as we prepare for the 24h of Spa.
“It gave us all important seat time under racing pressure and practice with all the basics such as pitstops, driver changes, mixed with the very changeable Belgium weather.
“Qualifying was initially in wet weather and then a drying track. We were all on wets and in the end the tyre pressures were a bit on the high side which affected us.”
The 12-Hour race format comprised two 6-Hour races, one each on Saturday and Sunday.
“The first race was crazy with multiple tyre changes due to the changeable weather. The 24 Hours of Spa will be like that, so it was great race practice for the whole team.
“Sunday’s race was in dry conditions and we were on for a fourth place in class but I had two tyre blow-outs on the straight after the Eau-Rouge set of corners.
“We are not quite sure why this happened and I am grateful to have ‘caught’ the car and not crashed. We were going 240kph, so quite quick for this to happen. It’s early in the lap so I had to limp back to the pits losing valuable time.”
“We achieved what we set out to do at the 12-hour race in Spa,” said Marcel, Leipert Motorsport team director. “The team was able to perfect processes such as driver changes and pit stops. The drivers had a lot of driving time. Everything worked perfectly and we gained further important knowledge. For us, this was an almost perfect test drive under racing conditions. At the end of May we will go to Spa for further tests in preparation for the CrowdStrike 24h.”
The next stop for Leipert Motorsport is the race weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit (France, 2-4 June). There, the team from Wegberg will compete in the season opener of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe with five cars. In addition, a guest start with a Lamborghini GT3 is planned for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS Endurance Cup, the 1000 kilometres of Paul Ricard.