- Eventful comeback with 56 cars, two years after the last time in Spa
- Technical problems force the #163 Lamborghini to end race early
- The #14 Lamborghini finishes on P16
Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), October 25th 2020
Free Practice / Pre-Qualifying
For Emil Frey Racing, the action-packed weekend started with free practice on Thursday. The drivers’ feedback to the engineers was positive. The Lamborghinis were in great shape and, correspondingly, performances were satisfactory. During Pre-Qualifying, Siedler/Grenier/Feller with the #14 Lamborghini were able to sustain and strengthen their solid pace and finished on P8. Meanwhile, Costa/Altoè/Perera, behind the wheel of the #163 Lamborghini, struggled with light understeering, which is why they finished Pre-Quali on P31.
Due to the track still being wet, Emil Frey Racing placed their bets on wet tires. However, the setup didn’t work as bargained for. Costa drove to P44 with his #163 in Quali 1. Three minutes before finish, the #98 Porsche touched the #14 Lamborghini’s rear, which, luckily, didn’t cause any damage. A driver change followed with Grenier and Altoè taking over. Toward the end of his stint, the Canadian complained about understeering, which saw him place in 22nd position. Altoè, behind the #163 wheel, raced to P24. Feller (#14) and Perera (#163) took over for the last part. Feller struggled with missing rear control. The combined results had the #163 qualify for Super Pole, while the #14 Lamborghini missed the Top 20 by just one position, ending on P22.
It was Albert Costa, who, with the #163, raced two laps in the Super Pole. He impressed with a brilliant pace, which temporarily secured him P1. In the end, he safely placed himself on P9. The #163 crew received three warning points during the last race weekend, which saw them forced to fall back 5 positions on the grid, having them start the race from P14.
56 cars got ready on the grid, right across the Formula 1 Boxes. At the beginning of the race, conditions were still dry. Only 10 minutes after the race kicked off, the first interruption already took place due to tire pieces on the circuit. From the get-go, during the first hour-long stint, Mikael Grenier was very happy with his Lamborghini and hauled in solid lap times. He finished his stint on P19 and handed over the car to Siedler. Perera ended his stint on P17 and handed the #163 over to Giacomo Altoè. Then it was time for Feller and Costa to take on a double-stint. A technical defect on the brakes forced the #14 crew to do a pitstop, which caused them to fall behind, to P40. Thankfully, Feller could gain back a few positions. Costa finished his stint and Perera took over, placing the Lamborghini on P9. The #163 Lamborghini with Franck Perera managed to race to P7 and to securely place in the Top 10, as one of two Lamborghinis. The clock had already been counting 7 hours, when Grenier was given a Drive-Through-Penalty due to an error during pitstop. The #163 crew wasn’t spared either during their pitstop: the fuel-timer didn’t want to work right away, which caused the crew to lose 7 valuables seconds.
In the 14th hour, Ricardo Feller raced to P34, while his colleague Costa positioned himself on P12. Perera took over the #163 from Costa and secured a P7 position. Feller pulled off a couple of overtaking maneuvers and finished his stint on P32.
The first signs of rain showed up just in time for the second half of the race, but didn’t last long. The tire choice played a crucial role. During the last hours of the race, the number of interruptions grew. With only 5 hours left to go, Perera with the #163 was on P9, while Grenier with the #14 was fighting on P24. Two hours before the end of the race, both of the crews decided to switch to slicks despite light rain. Though the decision seemed to be working to their advantage at the beginning, rain grew stronger and the decision turned into a challenge. With two hours left to go, Albert Costa, with the #163 was in 8th place, while Norbert Siedler with the #14 was in 22nd place. Franck Perera, after taking over the #163, struggled with a delayed start, which cost the team valuable seconds. 1.5 hours before finish came the bitter disappointment: a mechanical issue, caused by a contact with another car, forced the crew to quit the race early. Mikael Grenier, manage to race past the finish line with the #14 Lamborghini and finished the race on P16.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
Extremely difficult conditions marked the 24h race. Of course, I’m disappointed over the result. The team and the drivers did an excellent job. We suffered a big setback early on with the #14 because of a technical issue. Despite this being a 24h race, it was almost impossible to make up for lost time. The race seemed to be going better for the #163 crew. We were able to fight in the Top 10 until 1.5 hours before race end. The #14 crew was able to secure P16, despite the big setback at the start. I want to thank the team for their hard work. We gained a lot of experience and are looking forward to hopefully be back in attack-mode soon.
Jürg Flach, Technical Director
We were well-prepared for this big event and had high goals. With the super pole we’ve achieved one of our goals. However, because of technical issues, we fell behind expectations. The team, once again, did a great job, but we still weren’t able to reap the fruits of our labour. Now it’s all about learning from this and to move forward.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
Of course I’m disappointed. To have to quit a race this close before the finish line is hard to accept – especially after having done such a good job during the race, even fighting in the Top 10. But that’s racing. We have to accept this and move forward. We grew stronger and more competitive from race weekend to race weekend. With a bit of luck, we could have maybe even made it to the Top 5. Thank you to the team that did a fantastic job. I’m looking forward to the last race in Paul Ricard.
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
For me personally, it was one of the best experiences of the year with my Emil Frey Racing family. We fought really hard throughout the whole weekend. The speed was there, mistakes were minimized and all of that with the objective to make it to the Top 10. 1.5 hours before the race finish, we struggled with technical difficulties, which left us no choice but to end the race. It’s a pity. But I’m still proud of the team and my colleagues. We will return back stronger than ever!
Franck Perera (FR)
The conditions for this race weren’t easy at all. We fought very hard from start ‘til the last hour. Of course, disappointing moments are part of motorsport. Nevertheless, we should be proud of what we delivered and showed this weekend – without committing any major mistakes. The team did a great job. Thank you to the team, my colleagues and to Lamborghini Squadra Corse. We’re now moving forwarding and will try our very best to end the season in Paul Ricard well.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AT)
I think we all imagined this race to be different. Especially, because of the technical difficulties which caused for us to fall behind 5 full laps. But in the end, we’re happy with P16, considering that we had fallen back to P46. Thanks to the whole team that did a great job. I’m already looking forward to Paul Ricard.
Mikaël Grenier (CAN)
Well, what can I say – it was a long race! The performance we delivered was solid and good, but it wasn’t enough for a win. But if you take into consideration the fact that we had problems with the brakes twice, the team still did an amazing job. The pitstops were good, we didn’t have any crashes with other cars and we were able to finish the race, which is what counts the most. Next year we’ll be going for even better results.
Ricardo Feller (CH)
It was a very difficult race. Unfortunately, we had to change brake calipers twice early on in the race, which cost us a lot of time. It’s extremely difficult to make up for lost time. Nevertheless, a huge thank you to every single person in the team for the great work (as always) and thank you to Mik and Norbi for the flawless work.