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Round the clock challenge for the Oman Racing Team

July 21st 2014

Round the clock challenge for the Motorbase-run Oman Racing Team

Round four of the Blancpain Endurance Series will take the Oman Racing Team to its biggest challenge of the season, the 24-hour race at the sensational Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium (26/27 July).

The Motorbase Performance team’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, driven by Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Caine and Stephen Jelley faces a formidable entry of 60 GT cars in a field packed full of quality teams and drivers. It takes a mighty effort from the drivers and every member of the team to score a good result in a 24-hour race and the squad heads to Belgium in confident mood after a strong performance at Spa during the recent British GT Championship sprint races at the world-famous track.

L-R: Stephen Jelley, Ahmad Al Harthy & Michael Caine will pilot the #44 Aston Martin Vantage during this weekend's 24 hours of Spa.

In endurance racing terms, the 24 hours of Spa is the blue riband event of the season as the race focuses solely on GT cars, unlike the Le Mans 24-hours where the LMP prototypes dominate the race. The race has an incredible history dating back to 1924 and has been won by some of the greatest drivers in the sport’s heritage. Former winners include Mike Hawthorn, Jacky Ickx, Gerhard Berger and Dieter Quester. For the last three years it has been the season highlight of the Blancpain Endurance Series.

For Motorbase Performance it will be one of the biggest races that the team has contested, but the Aston Martin has shown tremendous reliability in endurance races and the driver line-up is very strong. Success in any 24-hour race relies on some good fortune as well as a strong and consistent race without the need for unscheduled pit stops. If things slot into place, the Oman-backed car has the potential to deliver a very good result.

The build-up to the big race starts on Tuesday (22 July) with technical scrutineering. On Wednesday afternoon the cars will take part in a spectacular parade into the centre of Spa town for an autograph session and drivers’ briefing.

Free practice starts at 11.55am on Thursday, with qualifying from 8.45pm and night qualifying from 10.30pm. The 24-hour race will start at 4.30pm on Saturday (26 July). Live streaming will be online at with live television coverage of the race on Motors TV.

Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum said:
"This is a massive challenge for the drivers and every single member of the Motorbase Performance team. But it is a challenge that we are really looking forward to and our recent experience of Spa with the Aston Martin should serve us well.

"There is a fantastic entry, but we’re going to Belgium in confident mood. Of course, the weather at Spa can be incredibly tricky and that’s another key factor in determining how the race unfolds.”

Oman Racing Team driver Ahmad Al Harthy said:
"It doesn’t get any bigger or better in GT3 racing than the Spa 24 Hours, it’s an amazing event and a fantastic race to be part of. Other than the Le Mans 24 Hours, this is by far the most challenging race in motorsport. While nothing else can properly prepare you for a 24 Hour race, we’re going into it with a lot of confidence after finishing on the podium in British GT at Spa a week ago. The experience we gained there could prove to be very important and, it goes without saying, Michael, Stephen and I will be giving our absolute all and trying as hard as we can.”

Oman Racing Team driver Stephen Jelley said:
"I’m feeling quietly confident ahead of the 24-hour race. Our test went well, we concentrated mainly on race pace, trying to be consistent and making sure that we can last the distance. But it’s all looking good and I think that the Aston is well suited to long distance racing. It’s easy to get on with and a comfortable drive once you get dialled into it.

"I did the Spa 24 hour back in 2012 so I know that anything can and does happen! You can be going well for it all to change in a split second, but the benefit is that at least you get the opportunity to get back into the mix."