Dirk Werner, Lucas Luhr, and Markus Palttala piloted the #77 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 to a close second at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The Z4 had swapped positions with the Audi R8 LMS driven by René Rast, Laurens Vanthoor, and Markus Winkelhock. The Audi’s margin of victory was just 7.077 seconds. It was the first podium finish for the Belgian Marc VDS team in its home race.
Alexander Sims, Oliver Bryant, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCaig finished a strong seventh overall and second in the Pro-Am class in the Ecurie Ecosse Z4. There were six safety car periods and a one-hour red flag period to clear an accident on the circuit.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said afterward, “Congratulations to Marc van der Straten and Bas Leinders' team on its first podium finish at its home race in Spa-Francorchamps. It was another extremely exciting race on this wonderful track – from the first to the final lap. Even though I wasn't at the track I followed the race via a live stream throughout and was cheering them on. Dirk Werner, Lucas Luhr and Markus Palttala didn't make any mistakes. Unfortunately a technical problem with the car just a few hours before the end ruined their chance of overall victory. With a bit of luck they might have managed more. After our bad luck last year at the 24 Hours of Spa we are delighted to be on the podium once again. The other BMW Sports Trophy Teams also showed a strong performance in Spa. At times we had four different BMW Z4 GT3s in the top ten. That shows just how competitive our vehicle is. I'm particularly delighted for BMW works driver Alexander Sims from the Ecurie Ecosse team, who finished second in the Pro-Am Cup. I would also like to congratulate Audi on its third victory in three major 24-hour races in this endurance season.”—Brian S. Morgan