Porsche still has three irons in the fire in its bid for overall victory as the 24-hour classic at Spa-Francorchamps heads into the final quarter of the race. Rowe Racing’s No. 98 Porsche 911 GT3 R is currently in second place after 18 hours. The two reigning IMSA champions Earl Bamber from New Zealand and Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium share the cockpit of the car with their works driver teammate Nick Tandy. The British racing driver had at times taken the lead after strong stints during the night.
Currently in third place overall, last year’s winning team, GPX Racing, still has excellent chances of success in the Ardennes with its No. 12 racing car. The 911 fielded by Dinamic Motorsport (#54) is also running in the same lap as the leaders. The night was eventful in Belgium, with several showers and numerous safety car phases due to accidents. Many vehicles had to relinquish all hopes for victory during the night including the number 47 contender campaigned by the KCMG squad from Hong Kong. The Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by the 2019-winning trio Christensen/Estre/Lietz, lost five laps after long stretches in the lead with a defect on the wheel carrier.
Heavy rain is forecast for the final phase of the long-distance classic in Belgium’s Ardennes region. The website https://www.intercontinentalgtchallege.com shows the 24-hour race via a free live stream, as does the YouTube channel of the race organiser SRO (https://www.youtube.com/user/gt1world). The live timing of all sessions is available on https://www.gt-world-challenge-europe.com.
Comments on the race so far
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “The night was extremely eventful. Many vehicles dropped out of the top group after accidents or technical defects. We managed to get many but not all Porsche 911 GT3 R through this difficult phase. Unfortunately, the number 47 car of KCMG lost a lot of ground due to a defect. One of Herberth Motorsport’s cars is completely out of the race. Still, we’re definitely fighting for the overall victory with three cars in the leading lap and another one in the top ten.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 GT3 R #98): “We made it through the night unscathed. That was the most important thing. Many cars got caught up in accidents in the dark and lost contact with the top group. Luckily we didn’t. The rain complicated things. There were several brief showers – which always raises the question of whether to switch to wet tyres or somehow stay with slicks on the damp track. Our team made perfect decisions in this regard, and our Porsche 911 GT3 R is running like clockwork. Still, I’m expecting the final phase of the race to be fierce.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #12): “The conditions during the night were really crazy at times – sometimes we got showers, then a downpour. At one point the track stayed wet for a long time then it dried up extremely quickly. It was difficult to always make the right strategic decisions in this phase. Our team did this excellently, so we’re well-positioned heading into the final hours of the race.”