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Ups and downs in Grasser Racing’s maiden 24-hour race

Gottfried Grasser’s successful team entered two Lamborghini Huracán GT3, with six race drivers taking turns at the wheel, in the penultimate race of the exciting and highly-competitive Blancpain Endurance Series. Andrew Palmer (USA), Jeroen Mul (NLD) and Fabio Babini (ITA) shared the Huracán #19. Giovanni Venturini (ITA), Adrian Zaugg (ZAF) and Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) contested in the sister car (#63).grasser lamborghini spa

57 GT3 race cars with the best GT3 drivers of the world at the wheel took part in the traditional 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, struggling with freak weather and safety car interventions. The Grasser Racing Team from Knittelfeld (AUT) experienced ups and downs and several set-backs during their maiden 24-hour race.

The Lamborghini #19 was severely damaged during the free practice session on Thursday. The team was able to repair the car in time for the qualifying and complete the laps required in order to be eligible to participate in the race. In addition, a lack in engine power in both Huracán was detected, which was restored following an engine change.

The start of the race at 4.30 p.m. (local time) on Saturday saw weather conditions typical for the Ardennes, including gusts of wind, heavy rain and a chilly 16 degrees Celsius. The Grasser Racing drivers had start positions at the end of the grid due to the engine change in both Lamborghini.
Bortolotti in the Huracán #63 carved his way through the field from P56 to a phenomenal P2 in the first three hours. The Venturini/Zaugg/Bortolotti trio successfully defended their place in the top of the group in the course of the race. However, following an accident after ten tough hours the crew had to repair the Lamborghini, which took about one hour. The Huracán rejoined the race afterwards but dropped down the order due to the huge delay. A consequential damage, which only became noticeable at the oil cooler later on, made it impossible for this Lamborghini to continue the race.

The second Huracán (#19) with Palmer/Mul/Babini taking turns at the wheel also battled its way through the field from P57. After six hours it joined the top group in P6 and successfully defended its position. However, in lap 130 the Lamborghini crashed which resulted in a damaged frame and the subsequent early retirement.

Team Principal Gottfried Grasser: “This was a tough weekend. Luck was not really on our side. After the engine changes in both cars we had to start from the very end of the grid. However, both cars pushed hard and moved up into the top group. The drivers, Mirko (Bortolotti) in particular, and the team did a phenomenal job. Again this showed that the new Huracán has tremendous potential as a GT3 race car and is able to compete at the top.
Unfortunately, the accidents neutralised the good performance. #19 had to retire after 130 laps following an accident and #63 was also severely damaged and therefore unable to continue the race.
The team did an amazing job at the weekend. The guys were constantly working, hardly catching any sleep. Nevertheless they were highly focused and did perfect work. A big thank you to the team!”

The next round of the Blancpain Endurance Series takes place from September 19 to 20, 2015 at Nürburgring.

Source: Grasser Racing Team

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