Preparations for this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa will gather momentum over the weekend when the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli takes place at Laguna Seca (30 March).
The California 8 Hours follows February's thrilling Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on the five-round schedule, with the premier event at Spa following on 25-28 July. As such there is an added preparatory element to this weekend's race as leading GT3 brands ready themselves for the season-defining contest.
The entry list features a number of teams and drivers who have triumphed in the Belgian Ardennes, including last year's winning partnership of Christian Krognes and Walkenhorst Motorsport (BMW M6 GT3).
The full 2017 winning crew is also present, though the trio of Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Jules Gounon will all drive for different outfits. Maxi Götz, Maxi Buhk, Romain Dumas, Markus Palttala and Nick Catsburg complete an impressive contingent of nine Spa winners who will tackle the Laguna Seca contest.
Coverage of the event will be streamed live on the Intercontinental GT Challenge website, with qualifying getting underway on Friday at 11.20 local time (19.20 CET). The Pole Shootout follows at 15.40 (23.40 CET) and will see the fastest 10 cars battle for a spot at the front of the grid. Saturday's race is slated for an 08.30 start (16.30 CET), with the chequered flag set to fall at 16.30 (00.30 CET).
While the California 8 Hours represents the final Intercontinental event before Spa, many of the competitors set to tackle this year's race will compete in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup during the interim. The new campaign kicks off over the weekend of 13/14 April at Monza, with events at Silverstone (11-12 May) and Circuit Paul Ricard (30 May-1 June) also preceding the 24 Hours.