The endurance racing fans’ wait to see GT3 class cars in action is finally over. The flagship race of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS kicks off today with the traditional participants’ parade from the centre of Spa to the track where they will do battle over the weekend. It is an eagerly awaited event because historically, this race, which awards points at the sixth, twelfth and twenty-fourth hours, significantly impacts the standings.
Triumph. The last edition saw a historic Ferrari triumph, with the trio Pier Guidi-Nielsen-Ledogar taking the overall victory, breaking a drought dating back to 2004, while in the Pro-Am, the 488 GT3 Evo 2020s of Spirit of Race and AF Corse finished the 24 hours in first and second place. The win gave Alessandro Pier Guidi crucial points towards his second consecutive Endurance Cup drivers’ title, the only driver in the history of the SRO series to do so, and the Intercontinental GT Challenge winner’s laurels.
Five reds. Five Ferraris, two in the Pro class, two in the Gold Cup and one in the Pro-Am class, will attempt to repeat last year’s feat in a race with sixty-five entries. Iron Lynx will field the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 number 51 crewed by Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen and James Calado, flanked by the number 71 with Davide Rigon, Daniel Serra and Antonio Fuoco. The Cesena-based team is pinning its hopes of victory in the Gold Cup on the all-female quartet of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey and Doriane Pin (currently leading the standings in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli). They are the first all-female crew to compete in the Belgian 24-hour race since 1997.
Also in this class, AF Corse will entrust the first of its two Ferraris to Hugo Delacour, Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, Alessandro Balzan and David Perel, while with the second, driven by Stefano Costantini, Louis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini and Alessio Rovera, the Piacenza-based team will target victory in the Pro-Am class.
Presentation. On Friday, in this prestigious setting, the veils will officially come off the new Ferrari 296 GT3, the heir to the 488 GT3. Inside the paddock, customers and fans will have the chance to admire the Prancing Horse car that took to the track at Fiorano for its first test run on 12 April.
Programme. The cars will fire up their engines for free practice on Thursday, from 10:50am to 12:20pm, followed by pre-qualifying from 4:15pm to 5:15pm and qualifying at 8:40pm. This session will decide the participants in the Superpole, scheduled for Friday at 7pm. The race kicks off on Saturday at 4:45pm.