The seventy-fifth edition of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps finished with the number 71 Ferrari 296 GT3 eleventh across the line after 536 laps. Daniel Serra took the chequered flag at the wheel of the AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors car he shared with Davide Rigon and Antonio Fuoco.
The traditional Belgian event, round three of the GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup, also saw the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, crewed by Lilou Wadoux, Andrea Bertolini, Louis and Jef Machiels, finish sixth in the Bronze class.
Pro Class. In an excellent team performance, the red-yellow-liveried 296 GT3 number 71 finished the famous endurance race – whose first edition dates back to 1924 – in eleventh place, one lap behind the winning number 98 BMW. The team produced a solid performance, vying for a top-10 finish, despite an unfavourable BoP hampering their performance, particularly on the faster sections of the Belgian circuit, plus some unfortunate episodes.
Serra got off to a great start from 47th before handing the wheel to Fuoco, followed by Rigon. The three Maranello official drivers were firmly in the top ten in the opening hours. Despite a penalty for breaching the Track Limits in the middle of the night, the Ferrari of AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors' consistently excellent pace allowed the trio to remain in contention for the leading positions until the final part of the race. The decisive episode came less than four hours from the end, when the car pitted during a Safety Car phase, ending up lapped and thus falling a lap behind the leaders.
The number 51 Ferrari endured an unfortunate race after starting from the second position with Alessio Rovera. The Italian driver from Lombardy held the lead with two hours to go when a puncture in the first sector of the 7.004-kilometre track forced him to pit early. Three laps after his return, a Full Course Yellow halted the recovery of the 296 GT3, which was held up by traffic. A technical problem in the early morning hours, when a loss of pressure in the petrol supply system cost Rovera- Shwartzman-Nielsen seven laps, was also crucial. The prolonged nature of this hitch led to the car's early retirement with two hours to go.
Other classes. The 24 Hours of Spa concluded with a positive result for the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 number 52 in the Bronze class. Setting off in the middle of the pack, the AF Corse Ferrari struggled in traffic in the early hours but then came to the fore during the night thanks to the stints by official drivers Bertolini and Wadoux, who shared the cockpit with gentlemen drivers Louis and Jef Machiels.
The stints by the driver from Sassuolo, this year in his 19th edition of the Belgian endurance race, and the 22-year-old Frenchwoman, making her debut in the most famous GT3 endurance race, made the difference, despite a few penalties that cost about four minutes. Lilou Wadoux had the honour of passing under the chequered flag, having posted the crew's best time of 2'19''040 on the 343rd lap.
In the Bronze class, AF Corse's 296 GT3 number 50, with Simon Mann, Ulysse de Pauw, Nicolas Varrone and Julien Piguet, came twelfth, completing 475 laps, after suffering an issue with the low pressure side of the fuel system. Finally, in the Pro-Am, on its race debut with Isaac Tutumlu, Samantha Tan, Jon Miller and Leonard Weiss, the 296 GT3 number 38 of ST Racing with Rinaldi, following an accident seven hours and thirty minutes from the start – from which the drivers emerged unscathed – closed its 24 Hour race after 192 laps.
The calendar. The GT WC Europe Endurance Cup will be back in the spotlight on the last weekend of July at the Nürburgring in Germany, which will host round four of the season on the GP configuration of the track.