Spa 24 Hours winners Jorg Muller and Andrea Piccini have joined the factory-backed Marc VDS BMW squad for the 2013 running of the Belgian enduro this weekend.
Muller and Piccini, who won the Spa 24 Hours in 1996 and 2012 respectively, will be joined by German Jens Klingmann in the Belgian team’s third BMW Z4 for the most prestigious round of the Blancpain Endurance Series on July 27/28.
All three have close links with BMW: Muller is factory contracted and is contesting the American Le Mans Series enduros with the Rahal team, while Piccini and Klingmann are part of the German manufacturer’s pool of GT drivers.
Marc VDS team principal Bas Leinders said: “It is fantastic to add a third car and to have a superb line-up to join us at Spa. As everyone knows, this is the most important race of the year for the whole team and especially [team owner] Marc van der Straten.
“We want to win the race — it is that simple. Both Jorg and Andrea have the experience of winning the 24 Hours, and that will help, too.”
Muller is bidding to become only the fourth driver to win the Spa 24 Hours in both its touring car and sports car iterations. The German, whose 1996 victory came in his first stint as a BMW factory driver, would follow Marc Duez (1997, ’98 and 2001), Eric van de Poele (1987, ’98, 2005, ’06 and ’08) and Kurt Mollekens (2000 and ’09).
Piccini, who finished second in the Nurburgring 24 Hours with Marc VDS in May, said: “We’ve got a good lineup; Jorg is one of the most experienced drivers around, so we are looking strong for a good result at Spa.”
The additional Marc VDS entry joins the team’s regular pair of Blancpain entries for a roster of drivers that includes Leinders and BMW factory driver Maxime Martin.
A total of 66 cars are scheduled to take to the grid for the 65th running of the Spa enduro after seven late withdrawals, including the Pro class Lamborghini Gallardo run by the Reiter/Blancpain team.
Former grand prix driver Mika Salo (LEFT) returns to the Russian SMP Racing Ferrari squad after driving with the team at the Silverstone Blancpain round in June. He will race one of the team’s Pro-Am class Ferrari 458s with Maurizio Mediani, Victor Shaitar and Kirill Ladygin.
Blancpain regular Black Falcon Racing has a new lineup in its No. 19 Mercedes SLS AMG after the departure of Oliver Morely and Duncan Tappy for what are believed to be financial reasons.
FIA GT Series Pro-Am class frontrunners Sergei Afanasiev, Andreas Simonsen and Francesco Castellacci come in alongside Andril Lebed.
A statement from the team said that it hoped that it hoped to have Tappy “back in the car in the very near future.”