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  • 13th place for Lexus RC F GT3 at first-ever Total 24 Hours of Spa

    Lexus Spa 24H 2018

    13th place for Lexus RC F GT3 at first-ever Total 24 Hours of Spa

    The first Total 24 Hours of Spa for Emil Frey Lexus Racing were overshadowed by a heavy accident. Following a strong opening phase for the number 114 up into second place, a heavy accident occurred in Eau Rouge during the night, from which the Monegasque Stéphane Ortelli escaped without injuries. After a strong race, underlining the immense reliability of the Japanese race car, the sister car crossed the finishing line in an excellent 13th place overall.

    With the adjustment of the “Balance of Performance” the extra weight was significant, especially during qualifying. The number #114 secured 26th position on the grid with the sister car making the jump into Super Pole to take 17th place.

    The Total 24 Hours of Spa started in sunny and for Spa-Francorchamps untypical hot temperatures and both starting drivers Christian Klien (#14) and Norbert Siedler (#114) faced no issues in the first laps. Especially the #114 had a strong opening phase of the race and was able to drive in second place for a long period of time. But a contact from another competitor and the resulting tyre failure set the team back again and the #14 also suffered bad luck during the race: a tyre failure and a short penalty for not respecting track limits were the reasons. These circumstances lead to the Lexus team not being able to fight for a podium in the end, but came home in an excellent 13th place in a strong and highly competitive GT3 field.

    It was not an easy, first 24-hours race for Emil Frey Lexus Racing, however, the Lexus RC F GT3 demonstrated its reliability in an impressive manner throughout the entire race. All three drivers, Albert Costa Balboa, Christian Klien and Marco Seefried drove fast lap times in all their stints, which were as good as the front runners racing at the top. It is a strong result for the Lexus crew to take home 13th overall place from a total of 63 participators.

    Emil Frey Racing continue to maintain their third place in the Blancpain GT Series Team Standings. After the summer break, racing will commence with the Sprint Cup race at Budapest (Hungary) at the last weekend of August. The entire Emil Frey Racing Team wishes our pilot Stéphane Ortelli a speedy recovery.

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing – The Movie: Road to Success
    Following the premiere at the Total 24 Hours of Spa with the Lexus RC F GT3 last weekend, the Swiss race team is also excited about the first screening of a 30-minute moving, showing the development and the founding of Emil Frey Lexus Racing – a special and fascinating inside behind the scenes also reflecting on the private team’s tradition. The film is available on the Emil Frey Racing YouTube channel. Furthermore, the format will be broadcast in over 40 international TV channels, for example in 16 European countries, in North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Middle East and Africa. More information on broadcasting dates will be announced on Social Media shortly.

    The Road to Success – Emil Frey Lexus Racing 

    Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “Stéphane (Ortelli) suffered a heavy accident during the night but he was lucky and was not injured, he is in good conditions considering the circumstances. A big, big thank you goes out to the team from the Medical Center, they acted very quickly and flew him straight to the nearest hospital for a check-up. Now he needs to take things easy and recover, but I was glad when he told me immediately that once the car is fixed he will be back behind the wheel. The accident overshadowed the entire race, but the whole team did not lose their concentration and kept working professionally until the end. It is a good result to finish in 13th place in our first 24-hours race with the new Lexus RC F GT3.”

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
    “We checked the cars even more meticulously over the past weeks than we did before, every single part was looked at and measured and if needed replaced. This paid off, because both Lexus were absolutely reliable and that already at the test, in each training session and in qualifying. There are probably only a handful of cars in the entire field, that can say they survived the 24-hours without any problems and were able to drive for a podium result. Both Lexus and the team have shown a maximum of commitment, reliability and professionals for their first 24-hours race. This, for example, proofed the #114, who ran in second place for a longer time. Of course, the accident put a shadow on everything. Thanks to the professional and quick help by the marshals and the medical team, Stéphane was able to get a quick check-up.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “It was not an easy race for us and the car was not 100% were I would have liked it to be. We had to look after the tyres, because that was critical. We survived the night, but until the end it was still a very long race. It was the first time for me to see the chequered flag at this race and in my stints, I pushed very hard and gave everything to reach some points. P13 in the end is just amazing!”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “It was the second time for me to drive the start into a 24-hours race. Everything went pretty unspectacular, which you want for a long race. My first stint was difficult, because the tyres were wearing out quickly. But the problem got better in the course of the race, because the track got more grip, which benefited our car. The night was crazy with the accident of our team-mate Stéphane, but luckily he is alright.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “My stints were ok, but unfortunately we had some oversteering to fight with and sometimes it was difficult to drive. Despite the shock of the accident of Stéphane, the whole team continued to work well, and we were able to continue to push in the race. We are all very happy about the 13th place.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “It is always something special to drive at Spa. You don’t see everything during the night, but the lights on the new GT3 cars are pretty good. We are all very happy for Stéphane to be well. My start was ok and I made-up some positions, but unfortunately the tyre pressure started raising after about 30 minutes and that resulted in understeering. It was not easy to drive. We managed to reduce the pressure bit by bit and that worked better. In parts we were doing very well, and I think, we could have reached a Top-10 result.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “Despite our recent success we came to this race as underdogs. The first few hours went perfect. We were running as high as second place after three hours and fighting a long time in the Top-10, which once again proves the quality of this team. Stéphane’s crash was very unfortunate and right now the only thing that matters is that he was not seriously injured. I wish him a speedy recovery and want to thank every single person in the team for their huge efforts here at Spa, but also the weeks and months leading to this race.”

    Waiting in the Wings: Emil Frey Lexus Racing „hot“ for Total 24 Hours of Spa

    Waiting in the Wings: Emil Frey Lexus Racing „hot“ for Total 24 Hours of Spa

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing could not have chosen a better stage for celebrating its debut at the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Swiss team will race for the very first time with both Lexus RC F GT3 at the 70th edition of the 24-hours classics and will face up to a top-class starter field with over 65 racing machines.

    The first fair competition took place during the official test day of the Blancpain GT Series last week. As for the region typical changing weather conditions, Spa lived up to its name enabling the team to test different Setups, various settings with the traction control, the ABS and further systems in both the dry and the wet. Emil Frey Lexus Racing looked at additional data from the previous year, where the team secured the first worldwide Pole Position with the Lexus RC F GT3 plus taking a straight start/finish win at the round of the International GT Open.

    The almost 7-km-long track of Francorchamps features similar characteristics to tracks like Silverstone and Paul Ricard – on which the Lexus team has reached their first podium and the great debut-win at the 1000 km. As a result, the team is looking ahead to the upcoming 24-hours with optimism after finishing the test successfully. “The test went very well and both cars were running reliably without any problems”, says Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing. “However, the competitors have not showed their full potential yet and therefore we cannot predict where we will end-up. But taking into consideration the track of Spa suits our Lexus RC F GT3 very well with its fast corners, we should see a good performance. Spa is one of the toughest GT3 races taking place on probably the most spectacular race track there is and everyone in the team is really excited for our first 24-hours race with the Lexus. A victory at the 24-hours of Spa is equivalent to winning the World Championship.”

    Following the obligatory drivers- and car-parade on Wednesday, 25 July 2018, Free Practice, Pre-Qualifying and the Qualifying sessions take place on Thursday, 26 July 2018. It gets exciting once more with Super Pole on Friday before the 70th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa will go underway on Saturday, 28 July 2018 from 4:30 pm. All sessions will be broadcast live via: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    For more information, please visit www.emilfreyracing.com

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “We managed to get some valid information during the test as we drove in both the dry and the wet. But we are not quite a 100 % where we should be. Now we have to review all data from the test, but the Lexus felt very good. We have strong drivers and a good team and have to use the two weeks leading up to the race to prepare as best as possible.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “The test was ok, both Lexus ran without issues and we can be quite satisfied. Nevertheless, it is difficult to say where we are as nobody has put their cards on the table yet. Generally speaking I think we have a pretty good package and a car that suits the track and felt positive. We are looking forward to the race in any case.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “I think, we are well sorted after being able to run in mixed conditions and to see how the car handles on a very wet track and on a drying track. Spa is well-known for this and it was good to find these changing conditions during the test, because we do not have that much experience with the Lexus in the wet yet. The track and the overall package plays in our hands and without suffering any major incidents we should be there with the top guys.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    “The test was very important for us. We are very strong in some parts, but I did not feel too good in some corners. It was a pleasure taking to the track of Spa with this car. The next two weeks are very important to prepare the car and look at the data of both cars to compare and take the positives from each.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “The test went quite well. We don´t know for sure how competitive we are as the others did not show it either, but I am confident that we are well-prepared and can fight with the others.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “The 24-hours of Spa are of course the highlight of the season and it was important, that we managed to get lots of mileage down. The season has been very stressful with the team competing in both the Sprint and Endurance Cup and this was the first time that we got the chance to go testing. We worked productively for the race. Both Lexus drove without any problems and we have found a good Setup. Spa is most likely the coolest track in the world and the 24-hours are by far the most renowned GT3 race you can think of – I cannot wait for it to finally start!”

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