With packed grandstands and a full complement of off-track activities, the 74th TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will be remembered as one of the event’s most memorable editions.
Though the race itself never went away, this still felt like a comeback. Indeed, following two years in which numbers were restricted by health regulations, this was the Ardennes classic at full strength. The spectators were not only notable for their quantity, but for their sheer enthusiasm at being on-site.
Of course, one thing has never changed: the quality of the on-track product. This year’s contest was as good as ever, with a huge 66-car field taking the start. Mercedes-AMG was the dominant brand, securing a one-two finish and ending a victory drought that had threatened to reach its 10th year.
From tales of glory to bad luck and missed opportunities, there is always plenty to look back on at the conclusion of this race. These are just some of the stories and stats to emerge from the 2022 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.
- With a 66-car field, this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa saw the second-largest GT grid in the event's history. The only bigger entry was in 2019, when a record 72 cars took the start.
- This was the 16th and final edition for which TotalEnergies fulfilled the role of title sponsor. A supporter of the event since the nineties, the brand took on the status in 2007 and has been closely linked with the Ardennes classic ever since.
- A total of 235 drivers from 36 nations participated in this year’s race. Germany was the best-represented, followed by France, Great Britain, Italy and Belgium. Several nations were represented by a single driver, including Chile (Benjamin Hites), Saudi Arabia (Reema Juffali) and Zimbabwe (Axcil Jefferies)
- Taking the fastest driver from each car, the top-29 in Thursday's main qualifying session was split by less than one second around the 7km Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The best time was set by Antonio Fuoco (#71 Iron Lynx Ferrari), who posted a 2m16.486s.
- A total of 15 drivers who entered this year's race had a parent who previously competed in the 24 Hours. By Sunday afternoon that number had grown to 16, as Brenton Grove contested the 2022 event alongside dad Stephen, the latter making his TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa debut.
- Mercedes-AMG became the first brand of the GT era to secure four successive pole positions, while Raffaele Marciello is the only driver to secure three successive GT poles. Among the brands, Ferrari (2002-2004) and Audi (2014-2016) had previously taken three consecutive poles.
- The gap between first and second at the conclusion of this year's race was 30.040 seconds, the biggest winning margin since 2016. The combined winning margin between 2017 and 2021 adds up to a little over 34 seconds.
- Eight cars finished on the lead lap this year, matching the GT era record set in 2020. Only three cars finished on the lead lap in 2021, while as recently as 2015 the winning car lapped the field.
- Driving the #88 Mercedes-AMG for Akkodis ASP, Daniel Juncadella became the first Spanish driver in more than half a century to score overall victory at Spa. The only other Spanish winner is his uncle, Àlex Soler-Roig, who triumphed in 1971 at the wheel of a Ford Capri RS.
- With a Mercedes-AMG one-two at the head of the field and a Ferrari completing the top-three, this was only the second time since 2011 that Audi did not put a car on the overall podium at Spa. However, the German brand was able to celebrate a Silver Cup win.
- The booming Silver class attracted a record 18-car field this year. Team WRT scored victory, which was the first for Audi following wins for Lamborghini (2018 & 2019) and Mercedes-AMG (2020 & 2021).
- At the age of 16, Lorenzo Patrese was the youngest driver at this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. This was the Italian’s debut in the event and came four years after his father – racing legend Riccardo Patrese – came out of retirement to contest the race at the age of 64.
- Iron Dames became the first team to enter an all-female crew at Spa since 1997, when the trio of Rafanelli/Surer/Duez won their class at the wheel of a BMW. The Iron Dames matched this achievement in the new Gold Cup category thanks to its four-driver line-up of Sarah Bovy, Doriane Pin, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey.
- AF Corse earned yet another win in the Pro-Am class with its #52 Ferrari crew of Machiels/Bertolini/Costantini. For both Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini, this represented a record-setting third Pro-Am victory in the Ardennes. It also marked AF Corse's sixth triumph in the class and an eighth for Ferrari.
- Aided by some slight track changes, a new GT3 lap record was set this season. Ferrari factory driver Alessio Rovera posted a 2m17.480s at the wheel of the #52 AF Corse machine. The second-best time was also posted by a Pro-Am car, with Alessio Picariello displaying impressive speed in the #24 Herberth Motorsport Porsche.
- By winning the Bronze Cup class, Reema Juffali ensured that five of the six female competitors on the grid secured a victory. The Saudi racer was joined in the #20 SPS Mercedes-AMG by Valentin Pierburg, Tim Müller, and George Kurtz. The latter is the CEO of incoming title sponsor CrowdStrike.
- There were 16 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa winners on the 2022 starting grid, including three double winners: Andrea Bertolini (2006 & 2008), Markus Winkelhock (2014 & 2017) and Laurens Vanthoor (2014 & 2020). Jules Gounon joined the two-time club by adding to the triumph he secured alongside Winkelhock in 2017, while Raffaele Marciello and Daniel Juncadella were first-time victors.
- A total of 19 brands have won the race since it was first staged in 1924, while eight have been victorious since GT rules were introduced in 2001. There have been five winners during the GT3 era: Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the latter adding its fourth overall win this year.
- In 2023, CrowdStrike will begin a new era as the 24 Hours of Spa title sponsor. The leading cybersecurity company joins at a significant moment, with next year's race marking the 75th edition of the Belgian endurance classic. The 2023 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa will run on 1-2 July, with track activity in the Ardennes getting underway on Tuesday 27 June.