#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 1

#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 1

Hour 6

* That's it for the first quarter. Head over to Part 2 of our race coverage to enjoy hours 6 through 12 – better known as the night shift – of the 75th CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. 

* That, ladies and gentlemen, is one-quarter distance. Time flies, etc etc. Here are your class leaders at the six-hour mark. 

* Yelloly leads on the road but his out-of-sequence BMW owes us a stop. And that means we have a new de facto leader in the shape of Weerts's #32 WRT M4 which passed Engstler's Audi around the outside of Bruxelles and down the inside into Speaker's Corner.

* More changes in the top-six where Gounon is now up to P4 after passing Verhagen. But the BMW has lost another place to Feller who sailed around the outside at Les Combes. Pitstops imminent.

* Verhagen and Gounon have moved up to fourth and fifth at Feller's expense. The ROWE/Akkodis ASP/Tresor Orange1 entries are 20 seconds off the leaders. And it gets worse for Feller who's juist collected a 30-second penalty for track limits. The Audi will serve that at its next pitstop.

* We're five hours into this race and darkness is beginning to fall over Spa-Francorchamps. Big news: the leading #92 Porsche has been handed a 30-second penalty at its next stop for track limits infringements. That will likely drop the Manthey EMA car outside the top-five, but there's still plenty of time left on the clock. 19 hours, to be precise.

Hour 5

* The #92 Manthey EMA Porsche leads the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. Andlauer gets up the inside of Engstler at Bruxelles and there's nothing the Audi driver can do. Now, can the Porsche stretch its legs?

* Class leaders with 4 hours and 40 minutes on the clock: 

  • GOLD: #9 Boutsen VDS Audi
  • SILVER: #85 Grasser Racing Lamborghini
  • BRONZE: #188 Garage 59 McLaren
  • PRO-AM: #24 Car Collection Porsche

* Engstler and Andlauer are still going at it for the lead. Behind them, Charles Weerts is running well in P3 at the wheel of the #32 BMW, about 7 seconds off Engstler. Then there's a gap of 18 seconds to Ricardo Feller in the #40 Audi. 

* The leaders have stopped. They've switched drivers – Engstler takes the Audi, Andlauer the Porsche – and they're back at it.

* Thiim and Estre are due a pit stop next time around. This has been a superb battle thus for. More please!

Traffic cleared, Estre is back on Thiim's rear. Just 0.4s separated them at the line and the Porsche is all over the Audi as they head through Les Combes. 

Hour 4

* Thiim has made a break. The #17 Audi gets through the traffic a little quicker than the #92 Porsche and pulls a three-second gap.

* Superb stuff as Thiim and Estre battle while cutting through traffic. Every move has to be perfect; they've kept it very clean thus far.

* At the front, Kevin Estre has slashed Nicki Thiim's advantage. It was north of 15 seconds, it's now just over 3 seconds. Thiim vs. Estre for the lead? Yes please. 

* There's a slow-running BMW on the Kemmel straight. It's #31 Team WRT car of Adam Carroll. 

* It's a quick one. We're back to green flag conditions.

* Full-course yellow. Presumably to deal with the electrically challenged #7 McLaren.

* Reports of rain in the pit lane and at Blanchimont. No further comment.

* The Inception McLaren has got going... and now stopped again. Now it's moving, now it's not. It's an electrical issue, for what it's worth. 

* The #7 Inception Racing McLaren has come to a halt on the run to Pouhon. It's a local yellow for now. Fran Rueda is at the wheel of the stricken 720S. 

* The latest round of pit stops are underway. The leading #17 Audi of Nicki Thiim is the first of a gaggle of cars to pull in.

* Here are your class leaders at the top of the fourth hour. 

Hour 3

* Almost three hours complete and we've had only one retirement. The #132 GMG by Car Collection Porsche crashed during the race-opening safety car period.

* Kevin Estre goes past the #40 Audi as well. Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi has been through the gravel Speakers Corner and lost a handful of places. 

* And that's a change for the lead. Nicki Thiim makes a bold move into La Source and gets it stopped. The #17 Scherer Sport PHX Audi is out front at Spa-Francorchamps.

* Barely a second separates the top-three as they run. Nicki Thiim is getting *very* close to Dennis Marschall in the leading #40 Audi. 

* Estre is about to make it a three-way battle for the lead, but it'll take a 10-second penalty at the next pit stop for causing a collision with the #38 Ferrari. Laurens Vanthoor was at the wheel when that incident occurred.

* And we are green again at Spa-Francorchamps. Kevin Estre immediately moves up to third in the #92 Manthey EMA Porsche. 

* Still running behind the safety car. The race has been neutralised for 15 minutes, but it looks as though we're about to go green again.

* The full-course yellow becomes a safety car. Two hours and 15 minutes on the clock here at Spa-Francorchamps.

* Full-course yellow. The #57 Winward Mercedes-AMG of Indy Dontje has spun into the gravel at T10. Everyone pits. Everyone who needs to, anyway.

* Hour three begins with Mattia Drudi a full 13 seconds clear in the lead. The #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi is looking comfortable, with Kelvin van der Linde running P2 in the Scherer Sport PHX Audi. 

Hour 2

* Two penalties to update you on. The #20 Porsche, which led the first hour, as well as the #999 Mercedes-AMG, are penalised for short pit stops.  

* Puncture for the leader! The left-rear has gone down on the #51 Ferrari! Alessio Rovera is lucky to get that car back to the pits, but that's still costly. The #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi now leads with Mattia Drudi at the wheel. 

* The #38 ST/Rinaldi Ferrari has hit the #64 HRT Mercedes ON THE CLIMB TO RAIDILLON. Miraculosuly, both cars make it through unscathed. Isaac Tutumlu and Matt Bell respectively were at the controls of those cars. 

* Henrique Chaves has absolutely mugged Raffaele Marciello at the Bus Stop. The #188 Garage 59 McLaren slips up the inside with lapped cars ahead. The Portuguese driver is now P9 overall and third in the Bronze Cup.

* Change for the overall lead. Alessio Rovera moves the #51 Ferrari past the #20 Porsche at Les Combes. After 90 minutes of running a Pro car is on top. 

* The #63 Lambo is back on-track. Jordan Pepper is at the wheel, one lap down.

* Lamborghini's bad luck at this race continues! The #63 Iron Lynx car – their flagship entry – is pulled into the pits on skates. The hood's up and there's plenty of activity in the box. 

* The off-strategy cars have now stopped, so the #20 Huber Porsche is back in the lead with Fittje at the wheel. Alessio Rovera is second in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.

* Make that four spins for the #70 Lambo, the latest at La Source. He's spun on his own, then clipped the #78 Lambo and the #46 BMW. Tough sledding for Watzinger in that CrowdStrike-liveried machine.

* A third spin for the #70 Lambo and a second at the Bus Stop. Once again, Gerhard Watzinger able to continue without any obvious damage

* The first serious round of pit stops is complete. The #20 Porsche, which led the opening hour with Matteo Cairoli at the wheel, is handed over to Jannes Fittje. At the front now we have the off-sequence cars that stopped early on, led by the #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini of Jordan Pepper. 

Hour 1

* Here are your class leaders after the first hour. It's been a long time since a car from outside the Pro class was leading this race. 

* Joel Sturm, the Silver-rated driver in the #911 Porsche, has done a fantastic job to hold third throughout the opening hour. Mattia Drudi is half a second back in the #40 Audi. Klaus Bachler qualified the #911, but the team's faith in Sturm has been repaid over the opening 60 minutes. 

* The #70 Lambo driven by Gerhard Watzinger has spun at the Bus Stop. The CrowdStrike Racing by Leipert car was running last and has now been lapped, but there's no damage to the car.

* Charlie Fagg has gone P5 overall in the Optimum McLaren. That car leads the Gold Cup class and it's been impressive since qualifying. Next up the road is fourth-place Mattia Drudi in the #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi.  

* A quick look at the skies suggests it's going to rain, a lot, pretty soon. We have 35 minutes on the clock, 10 of which have been green. 

* Lots of movement early on as the Pro cars climb up the order, the grid having been shuffled by a wet qualifying. Last year's winner, the #88 Mercedes-AMG from Akkodis ASP, is up eight spots with Raffaele Marciello at the wheel. 

* We are green for the 2023 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa! A little under 25 minutes on the clock. Cairoli leads in the #20 Huber Porsche.

* Replays show that Kyle Washington touch the curb at Raidillon. After that he was a passenger. Unfortunately it does seem that the #132 is out of the race already.

* And now the #132 Car Collection Porsche has crashed leaving the pits. Same problem as Shen, it seems, but this looks like it could be race-ending. Although, techincally, we haven't gone racing yet. 

* The #216 Modena Porsche has spun behind the safety car. Looks like John Shen had just gone to slicks and lost the car at the top of the pit exit. 

* The race has begun under the safety car. As such the clock is ticking immediately. We're likely to have at least two laps before this thing is green. 


* Okay, almost time to go. The top runners are on slicks, though the track isn't necessarily ready for it. This could be very interesting. 

* The sun is out with 30 minutes before the start. After a very wet morning and afternoon the weather has finally turned. But how long will it last?

* The race will start behind the safety car. That's no great surprise given the amount of rain we've had. That being said, it has stopped. Hopefully a few laps will be enough to allow us to go racing. 

* All start-line entertainments ahead of the 24 Hours have been cancelled and there will be a minute’s silence before the start to honour the memory of Dilano van ’t Hoff, who lost his life in an accident during this morning’s Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine race. The public gridwalk will proceed as planned. 

2024 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa dates announced 

* We've not got going for 2023 yet, but Stéphane Ratel has just announced the dates for next year's race. We'll be back on the same weekend – 27-30 June – as the 24 Hours of Spa celebrates its centenary.    

It's race day

* It's race day in the Ardennes, so obviously it's raining. That being said, it wouldn't be Spa without a bit of weather, would it? In that spirit, we'll be bringing you live updates throughout the 75th CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. The race gets going at 16:30 CEST and of course you can watch every moment live on GT World.