The countdown has begun for the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the fourth round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and the third of the Intercontinental GT Challenge which will see six Ferraris at the start.
After last season’s record-breaking numbers, the great Ardennes classic has also been forced to a shift its calendar which means that the fifty-eight crews will face many more hours of darkness than usual. The weather, although unpredictable along the seven kilometre-plus track, could be mild, with forecasts tending to rule out rain on Saturday and Sunday. However, temperatures could be harsh, especially at night.
Pro. Three of the twenty-eight crews entered in the Pro category will be at the wheel of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 aiming to return to victory on a track that last saw the Prancing Horse triumph in 2004. AF Corse no. 51 will feature James Calado, poleman in 2017, Alessandro Pier Guidi, two-time winner in the Pro-Am class, and Nicklas Nielsen. SMP Racing no. 72 will be crewed by Davide Rigon, poleman in 2019, Miguel Molina and Sergey Sirotkin, taking part in this classic for the first time. The third Ferrari to start is HubAuto’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with a first-rate line-up of Kamui Kobayashi, Marcos Gomes and Tom Blomqvist, who won in 2018.
Pro-Am. In a class historically marked by battles and spectacle, Ferraris can count on competitive crews capable of finishing among the top positions. The usual AF Corse crew of Louis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini and Niek Hommerson, twice winners of this race, will be joined by Daniel Serra. After its victory in 2019 in the Am class, Rinaldi Racing hopes to play a leading role in the Pro-Am class, fielding South African David Perel, winner in 2018, alongside the trio that usually compete in the Endurance Cup, Pierre Ehret, Rino Mastronardi and Daniel Keilwitz. Sky Tempesta Racing has the same goal for its 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which will be driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Jonathan Hui and the new Sprint Cup Pro-Am class champions, Eddie Cheever III and Chris Froggatt.
Programme. With no traditional competitors’ parade from the centre of Spa to the circuit, the cars will take to the track on Thursday for the first free practice sessions and the four qualifying sessions from 6:55 pm to 8:16 pm. The Superpole will take place on Friday from 6:20 pm to 6:50 pm, while the 24-hour race will kick off on Saturday at 3:30 pm and end on Sunday at 2:30 pm, given that the clocks go back on the night of 25 October.