Chequered flag falls on busy TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa test days

Chequered flag falls on busy TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa test days
  • Annual test days bring 61 cars representing nine brands to the Belgian Ardennes
  • Competitors complete extensive running in wet and dry conditions
  • Marquee race scheduled for 29 July–1 August

The contenders for this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa have completed two days of extensive running to kick off the final phase of preparations for the twice-around-the-clock race (29 July–1 August).

The annual two-day test was staged five weeks before teams return to the venue for the 73rd edition of the Belgian endurance classic and saw a total of 61 cars running on the fabled Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The list of participants featured nine brands, all of which are set to be represented at this year's race.

The famous Spa weather made its presence felt on Tuesday when heavy rain greeted competitors at the track ahead of the first green flag. There was an upside to the challenging conditions, as teams were able to log extensive mileage using the latest evolution of Pirelli's wet compound tyre, conducting work that could prove crucial during next month's race.

The rain had cleared by Wednesday morning, providing an opportunity to switch to slick rubber and increase the pace. Indeed, it was during the final afternoon session that the best lap of the test was set as Timo Glock posted a 2m18.621s lap at the wheel of the #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW. The top-three from this closing session would prove to be the overall order for the test, with KCMG (#18 Porsche) finishing second and Winward Racing (#57 Mercedes-AMG) taking third spot.

BMW was one of three different brands to top a session during two days of running. Iron Lynx led Tuesday morning with its #51 Ferrari, a car that looks set to be among the leading contenders for this year's race. KCMG can also be considered a serious challenger and its #18 Porsche emerged quickest on Tuesday afternoon. 2018 winner Walkenhorst Motorsport led the way on Wednesday morning with its #34 BMW before Glock topped the final session in the sister car.

Winward Racing was the top Silver Cup performer at the test, while Boutsen Ginion Racing (#10 BMW) and Hägeli by T2 Racing (#166 Porsche) led the Pro-Am and Am Cup classifications respectively. A number of red flags interrupted running across the two days. These included separate incidents for the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG and #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini, which both suffered heavy impacts at Raidillion on Wednesday afternoon.

The 61-car field also included a handful of invitees that will not participate in this year's race. They were led by the new BMW M4 GT3, which turned its first laps on the 7km circuit ahead of an expected TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa debut in 2022. The car posted an unofficial fastest lap but is still awaiting homologation.

The build-up to the 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will continue in the coming days and weeks, with the full entry list, event timetable and official poster all set to be revealed shortly. For the teams, there is time to analyse the findings of the test before returning to the circuit next month for the main event. With preparations reaching their final phase, the latest edition of the world's most competitive GT race is just around the corner.