Poster 7/10: Audi hoping to reign supreme at the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa

Poster 7/10: Audi hoping to reign supreme at the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa
  • Ingolstadt marque stars on seventh collector’s edition poster
  • After showcasing its quattro system in the nineties, Audi won four times between 2011 and 2017
  • Latest poster shows wet-weather action, always a possibility at Spa-Francorchamps

A great love story often requires time to develop. Consider the relationship between Audi and the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa: a little over 50 years after its maiden participation, the Ingolstadt brand is now aiming for its fifth victory at the biggest GT race in the world (26–30 June).

Audi won the event for the first time in 2011, thanks to Team WRT and its trio of Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Grégory Franchi. This was the crowning achievement of a new project launched by the Audi Sport customer racing division. Appearing on the market in 2009, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 immediately impressed in its category. What’s more, a slightly modified version was entered in Group 2, proving to be one of the major attractions at the 2009 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. Run by Phoenix Racing and driven by Marcel Fässler, Henri Moser, Alexandros Margaritis and Marc Basseng, this car not only won its class: it also finished on the overall podium behind two GT1s.

As mentioned, Audi was victorious in 2011, the first edition at which GT3 was the premier class. It went back-to-back by winning again in 2012 (Phoenix Racing), then added further triumphs in 2014 (Team WRT) and 2017 (Saintéloc Racing). Moreover, Audi delivered remarkable consistency. In the 13 editions staged since 2011, no fewer than 14 of its crews have stood on the overall podium, and there have only been two editions (2019 and 2022) without an R8 among the top three. The icing on the cake? Four victories in the Coupe du Roi, which rewards the manufacturer with the best results across all classes. 

But, as the latest collector's edition poster reminds us, the story of Audi at the 24 Hours began long before the arrival of the R8 and the birth of Audi Sport customer racing. After podiums and class victories for the Audi 80 GT during the mid-seventies, and more success for the Audi Coupé at the start of the following decade, it was the Audi V8 quattro that thrilled the crowds from 1990. More akin to a limousine than a sports compact, it impressed both with its size and the sound of its 450-horsepower engine. The on-track performance was eye-catching too: it qualified second in 1991, alongside the factory Nissan which eventually won the race, and ahead of the official BMWs. Alas, a collision prevented the V8 quattro from earning more plaudits during the main event.

Next came the Super Touring years, during which Audi sought to promote its quattro system in motorsport. Though the 24 Hours was not kind to the Ingolstadt brand, it is an Audi 80 quattro that we see on the collector's edition poster, alongside an Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II. The modern machine carries the colours of Trésor Attempto Racing and will be one of eight Audis competing in 2024. 

Do you recognise the helmet inside the older car? It’s none other than Vincent Vosse. The Team WRT boss made his debut at the 24 Hours aboard this Audi in 1995 before winning in 2002 (driving a Chrysler Viper GTS-R). He would later establish WRT, winner in 2011 and 2014 with Audi. And, being as the quattro system was such a formidable weapon in the rain, it is in suitably wet conditions that the two cars are presented on this Guillaume Lopez-designed poster. Will it rain between 26 and 30 June for the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa? We certainly hope not. But, at Spa-Francorchamps, the weather plays entirely by its own rules…

Did you know?

During the mid-seventies, the Audi 80 GT stood out among the small displacement cars at the 24 Hours of Francorchamps. Indeed, the brand won what was known as “The Marques Challenge” in 1975. This competition, which no longer exists, rewarded the manufacturer that had the highest percentage of entered cars at the finish. Not only did the four Audi 80 GTs see the chequered flag, but two of them reached the podium in the under-1600cc category. Among the drivers was a certain Thierry de Wilde. His grandson Ugo is a rising star of Belgian motorsport and could well feature at the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. 

Note: Like all of the collector's edition posters, you can purchase this one on-site at an official store during race week, or from the merchandising section of the event’s official website.