“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt”
Sun Tzu’s Art of War

That well articulates the GTE manufacturers approach to the -Pro category. Irrespective of your view on the eternal rights and wrongs of Balance of Performance the ability to conceal your advantages and mitigate any weakness is going to be key to winning in this category.

Most things look the same, but the volumes are up with three AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos (#51, 52&71), four Ford GTs naturally #66-69 and Porsche 911 RSRs #91-94 taking on the ever dependable Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs #63&64. In the new corner we have the sizeable challengers from Munich of the BMW M8 GTEs #81&82 and with a tinge of sadness the new Aston Martin Vantage AMRs #95&97 with their powerful but audibly turbo-castrated  AMG-engineered V8 “Its still an Aston!”

The tale of Spa demonstrates what we would expect the tried and tested cars of Porsche and Ford to the fore, with not surprisingly Ferrari coming good toward the end but spitting a dummy at anyone wishing to discuss the imbalance of BoP. We have a choice as to how interpret the result for the new new cars from BMW & Aston Martin, ill-prepared, a clever hand played or simply under-developed with a way to go before finding the sweet spot? In actual fact its kind of an irrelevance, as BoP should attempt to level out advantage of old v new, and if they subsequently find pace as well they will be well-placed for a strong finish.

So impossible to call a favourite, but given the reliability, experience and pace to-date you might favour a car starting with F…. its just there are seven to pick from!

This battle will be played out over the course of the race, but Sun Tzu suggests that preparation is everything and on that basis, stuco brickwork and some elaborate wraps surely offers up Victory to Porsche in its 70th tribute year… Only Time will tell…

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”… “All warfare is based on deception”

For GTE-Am we have a similar spread before us with the exclusion of BMW as it is a new for 2018 car, oh and Ford because err… well… they just don’t do customer Ford GTs! Overall the impression is a resurgence of Porsche 911 RSR customers with a total of six squaring off against five of the -Am favourites, the Ferrari 488 GTEs spannered by AF Corse. Beyond that TF Sport offer the #90 “fan favourite” old-stager Aston Martin Vantage, but the victor from Spa (as ever) #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda must enter the fray as both a visual, audible and numerical favourite for victory.

The on-going evolution of GTE toward a more prototype based category and the impact that may have on the future for the overall victory is an open discussion that should entertain many a campsite pundit over the coming weeks.. Hopefully further news on that topic is not too far away.

Enjoy the Testing, but rest assured no one will be trying too hard!