Wikipedia’s description of the Total 24 Hours of Spa:

….. is an endurance event held annually in Belgium at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps  and it was conceived by Jules de Their and Henri Langlois Van Ophem just one year after the first 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This year, as it was last year too, the event is on the Blancpain Endurance Series calendar. As a Le Mans fan, this race is on my “To-Do” list. Although I will not be at the track this weekend, I have had the pleasure of interacting with some drivers who will be driving at Spa, including Michael Lyons, Alessandro Bonacini and Eugenio Amos, who was kind enough to give me an interview (read Eugenio’s interview here).

My latest interview is with Jamie Campbell-Walter who will be driving for Gulf Racing at the 24 hour race, in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3.

Gulf Racing at Silverstone, 2012

James has been racing since 1994, he won the FIA GT Championship in 2000 and says Endurance Racing is the greatest test of man & machine. “It is truly challenging and my goal is to win the Spa 24hrs…..and also Le Mans 24 hours”.

I’ve been to Spa for a Formula 1 race and it is one of the most demanding and exciting tracks. James, what are your tips for long races/overnight races versus 2-hour F1 races?

The demand at Spa in a 24hrs race vs F1 is simple. You have three drivers which all have to work as a team for one goal. They have to gel with the team to become one unit, everything is a compromise to make sure we are all comfortable. You need reliability, speed, courage, stamina and a little luck with punctures or lack of them during the course of the race. Remember, when the sun starts to rise on Sunday morning you still have 8 Grand Prix to go and you have been going for 14 hrs! In the night we will be driving for up to 4 hrs at a time with a 4-hr break followed by another 4hrs! Its tough!

In terms of accommodating for different driver heights, the car-seat is changeable; the biggest driver makes the base seat and then the other drivers make inserts to suit the shape of their body.

What interaction do you have with McLaren Automotive?

McLaren engineers are always present at Blancpain Endurance races and are constantly being fed technical feedback on how the car is behaving.

Three words to describe why non-GT racing fans should watch the 24hours of Spa?

Eau Rouge, Chips & Mayonaise, Great Cars. That’s six words but never mind!

Which racer alive or dead, in any motorsport series do you admire most or aspire to be?

Senna was a legend but I also admire what Tom Kristensen has achieved in his career.

Thanks to James for the interview and we wish Gulf Racing success at this year’s 24hours of Spa. Follow him on Twitter @jcampbellwalter and keep up with the action LIVE on Blancpain website.

For the full entry list for this year’s race, click here.

Advertisements