As usual, a great crowd greeted the start of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the most eagerly awaited GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup race. One hour after the green flag, Alessio Rovera still held the second position he started from on the grid in the 296 GT3 number 51 of AF Corse - Francorchamps Motors.
The seventy-one GT3 class cars registered for the race, now in its seventy-fifth year, set off behind the Safety Car, which stayed on the track for the first six laps as the asphalt on the Ardennes Forest circuit dried out after heavy rain throughout the morning and early afternoon until an hour before the start. Many crews could thus opt to start with slicks, the Ferrari number 51 crew among them. Sharing the car with Robert Shwartzman and Nicklas Nielsen, Rovera got off to an excellent start, completing 22 laps in the first 60 minutes and containing the gap to the number 20 Porsche to 3'504. The German car kept the lead after starting from pole.
The first hour ended with the Ferrari 296 GT3 number 38 of ST Racing with Rinaldi, driven in the first stint by Isaac Tutumlu Lopex, having recovered two positions to thirty-eighth. The 296 GT3s of AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors, the number 71 with official driver Daniel Serra in the first stint, and the number 50 with Simon Mann, were respectively in forty-eighth and forty-ninth. Louis Machiels was sixty-third at the wheel of AF Corse's 488 GT3 Evo 2020 number 52.
Before the race, a minute's silence marked a final farewell from everyone present to Dilano Van't Hoff, an 18-year-old Dutch driver who lost his life following an accident in the morning during the second race of the Formula Regional European Championship, a 24 Hours support event.