German brand can count on no fewer than thirteen cars in Belgian classic
Class GTA again top class in the endurance race
Porsche has a special relationship with the 24-hour races, be it Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps, Daytona or Zolder, as this weekend. Eighteen times a Porsche 911 has topped the podium in the Belgian classic, which is the pinnacle of the Belcar Endurance Championship and the Porsche Endurance Trophy Benelux. Porsche is also very well represented this season, with ten Porsche 911 GT3 Cups, two Porsche Cayman GT4s and a Porsche Boxster. Of course it will be the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Type 992 – already winner of the GTA class last season, which will go for the win. In a first overview we look at the ex-winners, in particular Belgium Racing, NGT Racing and RedAnt Racing, who together account for eight cars.
It has been said before, but with the disappearance of the CN prototypes, the GTA class is again the main class in the Belcar Endurance Championship and that makes the various Porsches among the top favorites for the overall victory in Zolder.
“Porsche also have five victories in the prototype era, but now the winner in Zolder comes from the GT class anyway, which means that the participants in the Porsche Endurance Championship really have a double agenda: the overall victory and the battle among the various Porsche in the Porsche Endurance Trophy”, says Rudi Penders. “Whatever Porsche you choose, the cars of the German brand have the assets you need to successfully complete a tough race like the one in Zolder. The 911 and the Cayman are reliable, fast and at the same time economical, which is certainly an asset in Zolder. So the nineteenth victory for Porsche is certainly achievable.”
Ex-winners with a view to new victory
Among those participants we also find several ex-winners, with of course the team that did it four times in a row, between 2013 and 2016: Belgium Racing. The formation from Lommel will be present with two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Type 992 – with no less than fourteen victories in both cars: six for Marc Goossens, four for Dylan Derdaele and four for Kenneth Heyer. Michiel Haverans will also be there, as will Nico Verdonck, which makes Belgium Racing one of the favourites.
Also in the list of ex-winners we find NGT Racing, which took the victory in 2008 with the 911 – Type 997. Today it consists of two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - Type 992 -, of which one in the colors of Russell Racing by NGT Racing, with ten victories on board, for the quartet Christoff Corten, Jeffrey van Hooydonk and the brothers Hans and Frank Thiers. Stijn Lowette joins them and goes in search of his first victory in Zolder. Also at NGT Racing we see a striking foursome with only rookies in the Porsche, especially the Limburg brothers Greg and Frank Stevens, in addition to their South African friends Hein Lategan and Johan De Bruyn.
NGT Racing also takes care of the Porsche Cayman GT4 of Tip Top Racing, one of the three Porsche in the GTB class, and in addition to competing in the Porsche Endurance Trophy, the team of five Peeters-Van den Bergh-De Cock- Van Laere-Lancksweerd also second in the national endurance championship. The Porsche Cayman GT4 has already proven in recent seasons that a top 10 overall is certainly possible.
Then there is the Redant family, last year's winner in the Porsche Endurance Trophy and the GTA class, and sire Redant was already on the top of the podium himself. In 2013 he won the 24 Hours of Zolder with Belgium Racing and Porsche. He still races himself, but now also leads RedAnt Racing, ubiquitous in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. He shares one of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Type 992 – with his sons Ayrton and Yannick, while Sam Dejonghe is the fourth man. This foursome can certainly be counted among the favorites. In the team's other Porsche 911, we see father and son Jimmy and Kobe De Breucker, alongside Philippe Wils, Luc Vanderfeesten and Tom Boonen or a perfect combination of a young wolf, racing entrepreneurs and a star from top sport!
Last but not least, RedAnt Racing also provides technical support for the Porsche Cayman GT4 of another two ex-winners, namely Dirk Van Rompuy and Erik Bruynoghe, who will be joined by Tom van Rompuy and Erik Qvick.
The 24 Hours of Zolder starts on Wednesday at 3.30 pm with a parade from the circuit to the center of Zolder, after which the cars return to the circuit around 7 pm. The practice runs and qualifying are for Thursday 11th August, with a Superpole at 7.30pm, while the race itself starts on Saturday 13th August at 4pm!
Part 2 of the Porsche Endurance Trophy review follows tomorrow!