The first free practice session kicked off the long week of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the most eagerly awaited and important race of the Endurance Cup season of the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. Historically, this event is decisive for the title due to the double points awarded. Fifty-eight crews will start the race, divided into four classes – Pro, Silver Cup, Pro-Am and Am Cup – with seven of them driving the 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
Pro. After leading more laps than any other brand in last year’s event, Ferrari will be chasing the overall win that has escaped their grasp since 2004. The attempt will be made by the two Iron Lynx cars, #51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Côme Ledogar and #71 with Davide Rigon, Antonio Fuoco and Callum Ilott, currently fourth in the standings, six points behind the leaders.
Silver Cup. After conquering the Pro-Am and Am classes in recent years, Rinaldi Racing will target a win in the Silver class with Benjamin Hites, Matteo Crestani and David Perel, who aims to be the first driver to triumph in three different classes at the Belgian 24 Hours.
Pro-Am. In a class that boasts its highest number of cars since 2017, the Prancing Horse will line up four crews harbouring legitimate ambitions of victory, a goal achieved six times in the last ten years. AF Corse will deploy two 488 GT3 Evo 2020s, #52 with Louis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini, Alessio Rovera and John Wartique, one of the stars of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, and #53 with Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin, Rino Mastronardi and Miguel Molina. Sky Tempesta Racing will field a new line-up of Chris Froggatt, Eddie Cheever and Jonathan Hui, supported by Matteo Cressoni. On its return to the 24 Hours of Spa, Kessel Racing will entrust its car to the usual trio of Tim Kohmann, Francesco Zollo and Giorgio Roda, assisted by David Fumanelli.
Act One. The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps marks the season opener for the Intercontinental GT Challenge by Pirelli, which offers a three-stage calendar for 2021: after the Belgian race, the subsequent events scheduled are the 8 Hours of Indianapolis (15-17 October) and the 9 Hours of Kyalami (2-4 December).
Programme. Following Thursday morning’s free practice sessions, pre-qualifying will kick off at 3:45pm, a session that could prove decisive if qualifying cannot be held. The battle to decide the twenty drivers who will take part in the Super Pole on Friday will start at 8:50pm and consist of four 15-minute sessions. After qualifying comes the ninety-minute Night Practice, where each driver must complete at least two timed laps.
On Friday, the fight for the starting grid and the Super Pole will start at 7:50pm, featuring a single driver who will have two laps to set the best time. The afternoon will see the Esports GT Pro Series.qualifying and the race. As per the regulations, this series contributes points to the overall standings of the Pro and Silver teams.