Hide content

Strong fightback not rewarded for Nico Verdonck during Spa 24h

Last week-end the 65th edition of the Total Spa 24 hours took place. More than 65.000 spectators visited the magnificent race track in the Ardennes too watch 65 of the most exciting GT-3 cars compete. Mechanic and electronic problems kept the #69 Gulf Racing McLaren away from the podium. Nico Verdonck finished 14th overall and 7th in the PRO class in this very difficult 2013 edition.

The tropical heat, Belgium had been under for many days, continued during the week-end. This was certainly going to be a very hot, sweaty and difficult 24hours. Already on Thursday, it was clear that man and machines were going to be pushed to the limit this week-end. A disappointing 33rd place on the grid was the best Nico and his teammates Rob Bell and Adam Caroll could assure during qualifying.

Nico Verdonck: “We could not find the right balance on the McLaren MP4-12C. It was just not possible to close the gap with the top teams. Luckily we kept searching and during warm-up on Saturday, we made a few more adjustments which improved the handling substantially”.

Right after the start of the race, the beautiful Gulf Racing McLaren already experienced electronic problems. The team did everything possible and was able to fix the problem, however, the #69 car regained the track in 55th position. It was difficult to still envision a good final result. However, 12 hours later, after a fabulous catch-up race, Nico and his teammates found themselves in 5th position!

Luck was not on their side this week-end. The team was once again set-back when a part in the rear suspension broke and the #69 McLaren had to limp back into the pits. Although the mechanics did a remarkable job replacing the broken and damaged parts in record time, all hopes for a podium now vanished. Once again the Gulf Racing McLaren started a catch-up race from the back of the pack. Nico took the wheel for a last double stint and brought the car over the finish line in 14th place overall and 7th place in PRO class.

Nico Verdonck: “It is always difficult to accept a set-back due to mechanical problems, but is part of car racing. Without these problems, we could have ended up on the podium for sure. The end result was different this time but we showed everyone that our team and car perform with the best out there. During the night, we were among the fastest competitors on the track. I personally enjoyed these night stints very much! This was a very difficult edition of the Spa 24 hours, the high temperatures, the strong competition and the problems we encountered turned it into a very tough race. Nevertheless, I really want to thank my teammates and the entire Gulf Racing crew for their endurance, their excellent work and perseverance. I also like to thank my fans who continued to support me whole week-end.”

Last race of this season will take place at the Nürburgring in Germany on September 21st  and 22nd. Nico is looking forward to another great race with Gulf Racing to end this season.