Porsche heads to Spa's 24-hour race with 40 drivers
Twelve 911 GT3 R racers will line-up for this weekend’s 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps
Porsche is once again returning to Spa with a mighty representation of customer teams and both works and amateur drivers for the eagerly anticipated 24-hour endurance race.
The popular event around the 7-kilometre ‘Ardennes rollercoaster’ is considered one of the most important GT3 events in the world and counts towards two of this season’s championships: the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Porsche is aiming for a hat trick of wins after works drivers Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre and Richard Lietz claimed outright victory in the 911 GT3 R fielded by GPX Racing in 2019 and Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor won again for Rowe Racing in 2020.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has been one of the greatest challenges for drivers since it opened in 1921. The first 24-hour race was held just three years later when the track measured some 14.8 km, running between the towns of Malmedy, Francorchamps and Stavelot. In 1979, a shorter version was introduced, but at 7 km and with 21 corners, the new Grand Prix circuit was still the longest on the Formula One calendar. It also remains one of the most spectacular, thanks to the white-knuckle ride through Raidillon and Eau Rouge section and the infamous downhill Blanchimont left-hander.
The 12 911 GT3 R fielded by Porsche customer teams will tackle the race in four different classes. Seven 911 racing cars will fight for overall victory in the 25-strong Pro division, with Dinamic Motorsport and KCMG each campaigning two cars. The 2019 Spa winner GPX Racing fields one GT3 R, as does Rutronik Racing and Schnabl Engineering. Huber Motorsport and Herberth Motorsport will also feature in the Am and Pro-Am classes respectively, the latter also seeing the debut entry of the GT3 R of EBM Giga Racing, belonging to Will Bamber and his brother Earl.
Porsche will be supporting all its customer teams with engineers and advisors as well as seven works drivers. Estre and Lietz return for Rutronik, while Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will share the GPX Racing entry. Local favourite Vanthoor is in the KCMG car, with Romain Dumas driving for Dinamic Motorsport and Frédéric Makowiecki for Schnabl Engineering. Porsche test driver Lars Kern is also lending his expertise to Allied Racing team.
“After we won the Spa 24 Hours in 2019 and 2020 with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, expectations are obviously very high,” says Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R). “In the past few years, teamwork has been the secret to success. This is precisely what we want to continue perfecting. We have ten teams with twelve cars tackling the Pro, Pro-Am, Silver, and Am categories. Everything is possible on Belgium’s tradition-steeped racetrack. Like at the Nürburgring, the weather conditions can change completely within a very short time. So that’s why we put a lot of emphasis on supporting our customer teams with helpful information at the track. We’ll do our very best to make a hat trick at Spa possible.”
Free practice begins at 10:50 CEST on Thursday (29 July), with first qualifying scheduled for 20:50 that evening. Super Pole will start at 19:50 on Friday with the main race starting at 16:30 on Saturday. The entire race is available to watch via live stream at: www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com.