The FIA World Endurance Championship 6 hours of Spa Francorchamps saw a historic victory for the #12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche who took the win in a disrupted race. The privateer team running with just two drivers, Calum Ilott and Will Stevens, and who debuted their car at Spa twelve months ago, were in the right place to benefit from the re-start after a red flag just after the 4-hour mark.


It was a clean start to the race with all runners getting away with no issues at La Source. Fred Makowiecki in the #5 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 emerged first from the tight righthander with Julian Andlauer in the #99 Proton Competition Porsche pushing Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V Series.R for second place.

For the first 15 minutes of the race, the top three maintained their starting positions, however Andlauer in the #99 Porsche was pushing Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac hard for second place. Lynn, however, was racing on qualifying tyres with a plan to save fresh tyres for the end of the race, so his interest sat with protecting his rubber which would see the Cadillac drop down the field in the opening stint.

As the leading pair caught the back of the LMGT3 field, Andlauer started to push Makowiecki for the lead however both were getting blocked by backmarkers and in one heart-stopping moment, Makowiecki nearly had to cut the chicane whilst trying to work around the LMGT3 cars.

Andlauer finally made his move into the bus stop. Coming through Blanchimont the pair came upon the LMGT3 #87 Akkodis ASP Lexus of Takeshi Kimura. Andlauer anticipated that the leading Porsche would be slightly slowed and took his opportunity with an early down shift and a gamble that room would appear on the right. As the road opened up Andlauer was able to power past the Lexus and take the inside line into the chicane ahead of Makowiecki in what was possible the overtake of the race.


Lynn’s qualifying tyres were by now showing their age dropping the Englishman down the field and by the first full course yellow of the race, he had dropped to P7 at the back of a train of cars led by Dries Vanthoor in the #15 BMW M Team WRT in P3.

The restart saw Robert Kubica in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari make the best start claiming a position from Will Stevens in the #12 Hertz Team Jota and getting right on the tail of Antonio Giovanazzi in the #51 Ferrari AF Corse.

Giovanazzi was on a charge himself and before the hour was out had made it up to P3 following a move on Vanthoor into Les Combes.

The first big incident occurred 90 minutes into the race when the #20 BMW M Team WRT of Rene Rast was caught out by Phil Hanson in the #38 Hertz Team Jota Porsche who attempting to save fuel was lifting and coasting. Heading into Bruxelles, Rast tagged the rear of the unexpectedly slow Porsche pushing it into the innocent #46 Team WRT BMW taking both cars out of the race and instigating a long safety car period to complete barrier repairs.

Disaster nearly befell the race-leading #99 Porsche as following a pitstop under the safety car, the driver’s door would not shut. Neel Jani was able to continue behind the safety car whilst frantically trying to clear whatever obstruction was fouling the door. He eventually succeeded and avoided having to stop for a second time which surely would have been the outcome had the problem occurred under green flag conditions.

The lengthy Safety Car period had draped the track in an eerie calm, but as the green flag waved once more, the #99 Proton Competition Porsche, steered by the seasoned Neel Jani, fiercely defended its lead against the prowling #51 Ferrari AF Corse, piloted by the determined James Calado.

Calado, hungry for victory, clung to Jani’s tail, his Ferrari slicing through the air with precision. Yet, lurking behind them, was Michael Christensen in the #5 Porsche Penske 963 Hypercar. With every lap, the tension mounted, each driver pushing the limits of man and machine.

Then, as they thundered through the flat-out Blanchimont corner, disaster struck. Christensen, pushing his Porsche to the edge, lost control, the sickening sound of impact echoing through the hearts of spectators. The once-mighty hybrid Porsche lay crippled, its race cut short in a heartbeat.

Amidst the chaos, the #50 Ferrari AF Corse, driven by the relentless Miguel Molina, seized the opportunity, soaring into third place. With impeccable timing, Molina handed the baton to Antonio Fuoco, whose fiery determination kept the Ferrari driving towards the front.

But the drama was far from over. Calado, seizing a moment of brilliance on the Kemmel Straight, surged past Jani, snatching the lead in a daring display of skill. Behind them, Fuoco hunted like a predator, his Ferrari stalking Jani’s Porsche with relentless determination.

In a heart-stopping exchange just before the fifth hour, Fuoco’s Ferrari danced on the edge of disaster as Jani fought tooth and nail to defend his position. But fortune favored the bold, and Fuoco’s steely resolve saw him surge ahead, propelling the Ferrari into a commanding 1-2 lead.

Yet, victory hung in the balance as the #50 Ferrari faced scrutiny for a potential technical infringement. Meanwhile, Earl Bamber, in a breathtaking display of skill, clawed his Cadillac back into contention, carving through the field with surgical precision.

But the race was not without its twists and turns. Penalties loomed over the track like storm clouds, altering the landscape of the competition. As the sun dipped lower, the battle raged on, each team fighting for their moment of glory amidst the chaos of endurance racing.

And amidst the roar of engines and the scent of burning rubber, the Lamborghini Iron Lynx SC63 Hypercar, its fate sealed by a damaged tyre, bowed out of the race, a poignant reminder of the unforgiving nature of motorsport.

At the start of the 4th hour, Ferrari was in control with the #51 car leading and the #50 car, having started from the back of the grid, was up to P2 albeit 27 seconds behind.

However, the race was red-flagged shortly into the hour after a massive collision along the Kemmel Straight between the #2 Cadillac and the #31 Team WRT BMW. Chasing Neel Jani in the #99 Proton Competition Porsche, Earl Bamber in the #2 Cadillac carried greater speed through Radillon and onto the straight and massively gained on Jani ahead of him.

Unhindered over the top of the hill, Bamber closed quickly on Jani and had the track been clear, the Cadillac would have had a clear run and comfortable overtake into Les Combes. Instead, Bamber misjudged the gap between the #99 Porsche and Sean Geleal in the #31 LMGT3 BMW. A light touch with the back of Jani’s car caused Bamber to swerve across the front of Geleal taking out the front of the BMW and sending both cars hard into the barriers. Had he pulled it off it would have been hailed as one of the overtakes of the race, but such is the fine margin between success and failure.

The race was red-flagged almost immediately as debris littered the track and work began to clear up and repair the damaged fencing. However, the clock ticked down relentlessly and it looked like the result would be declared with the cars still waiting on the grid.

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Remarkably and with massive credit to race control and Spa Francorchamps circuit, it was decided to restart the race and run the remaining 1 hour 44 minutes, with the race restarting 10 minutes after it should have ended at 19:00hrs.

Three safety car laps got the field back into race mode but most were struggling for fuel with several, including the second placed, #50 Ferrari, making emergency stops for enough fuel to keep them going until the green flag.

The winners were the #12 Hertz Team Jota who seized the opportunity for a pit stop moments before the red flag halted the race. With Calum Ilott behind the wheel, the team was well placed at the restart and after the pit stops eventually shook out, the Englishman found himself at the front of the field with Kevin Estre in the #6 Penske Motorsport Porsche right behind him. In third place but nearly a minute back was Brendan Hartley in the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota.


fia wec 6 hours of spa hypercar

Despite early pressure from the experienced Estre, he was soon forced to drop back as the stint wore on leaving Ilott free to bring the Porsche home and claim the victory for the privateer team.

Elsewhere, Antonio Fuoco had got the #50 Ferrari back up to third place while behind him, a long battle was going on between Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari. Pier Guidi eventually made the pass with a better run out of Radillon and took the place at Les Combes.

Kobayashi went on to lose a further place to Julian Anderlauer who brought the #99 Proton Competition Porsche home in fifth place.


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