• Record-equalling 71-car grid packed with class competition
• Gold Cup, Silver Cup, Bronze Cup and Pro-Am glory on the line at 75th edition
• CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa scheduled for 29 June – 2 July
Multi-class racing is a crucial aspect of the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, known for producing close competition and fascinating storylines in equal measure across the course of the twice-around-the-clock event.
This summer's 75th edition will see five different categories, all using GT3 machinery, competing in the Ardennes. Indeed, while 20 crews will run in the premier Pro class, no fewer than 51 will compete across the Gold Cup, Silver Cup, Bronze Cup and Pro-Am. These are the hopefuls looking to become class winners in 2023.
GOLD: Comtoyou Racing targets home glory after perfect start to debut season
If the opening Fanatec GT Europe Endurance Cup rounds are anything to go by, local squad Comtoyou Racing is the favourite to take Gold Cup honours. The team has scored a brace of wins with its #21 Audi, a remarkable achievement given that it is entirely new to the championship. Its pursuit of class honours at Spa will be led by Maxime Soulet, who finished as overall runner-up in 2017, and backed up by two fast youngsters in Max Hofer and Nicolas Baert.
Combining two big names from Belgian motorsport, Boutsen VDS will also field Audi machinery in the Ardennes. Its regular crew of Panis/Eteki/Di Folco is bolstered by French ace Thomas Laurent, who is set for his first attempt at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. The only two-car Gold Cup effort comes from Winward Racing, which has shown impressive pace with its Mercedes-AMG entries. The experienced #57 line-up of Ward/Ellis/Dontje must be considered a leading class contender, while the young #157 crew of Schumacher/Zug/Born has the speed to make a strong impression.
Optimum Motorsport also has a line-up capable of clinching class glory. The McLaren team adds an extra driver for the marquee race, with Tom Gamble further strengthening its regular crew of De Haan/Fagg/MacDonald. The field is completed by a pair of squads that have previously taken overall honours in the Ardennes. Team WRT represents BMW with its trio of Krütten/Williams/Simmenauer, the latter a Silver Cup winner last year, while Iron Lynx will field the #19 Lamborghini for Pulcini/Beretta/Ineichen.
SILVER: Audi runners out in force as Ingolstadt marque targets back-to-back wins
The Silver Cup became part of the 24 Hours in 2018 and has since developed a reputation for ultra-close competition. Audi scored its maiden class win last year courtesy of Team WRT and the Ingolstadt machines are out in force again for the 2023 edition. Comtoyou Racing cliched the season-opener at Monza with its #12 crew of Hezemans/Dejonghe/Hutchison, who are joined by Lucas Legeret for the marquee race.
Fellow Belgian squad Boutsen VDS will field the #10 (Gazeau/Meyuhas/Cola/Cabirou), while it's a French foursome at Saintéloc Junior Team as Bastard/Demoustier/Evrard/Doquin go in pursuit of glory. The #99 Tresor Orange1 crew of Aka/Patrese/Delli Guanti is arguably the favourite for Silver honours after taking a superb win at Circuit Paul Ricard. This is an especially young trio, but if they can rise to the occasion then class victory is a very realistic aim.
Tresor Orange1 is one of just three Silver Cup entrants to retain its regular Fanatec GT Europe Endurance Cup line-up. The others both come from established Lamborghini squad Grasser Racing, which sticks with the crews that have earned successive class podiums. The #58 features Neary/Capo/Crestani, while G.Van Berlo/Hites/Schmid share the #85. Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup regular VSR adds a third Lamborghini to the Silver Cup field, with Dorrbecker/Moulin/Paverud/Petrov set to handle the #60 machine.
The popular Madpanda Motorsport squad conquered Spa in 2021 and will fly the Mercedes-AMG flag again this year. Its Fanatec GT Europe Endurance Cup line-up of Perez Companc/Nesov/Gustavsen is complimented by the team's Sprint Cup regular Jesse Salmenautio. Dinamic GT Huber Racing has chosen the same strategy for its #56 Porsche, with Sathienthirakul/Rappange/Di Amato joined by Sprint driver Adrien De Leener.
Bullitt Racing completes the Silver Cup field and adds the lone Aston Martin to this year's CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa grid. The young quartet of Kingsley/Riegel/Leroux/Del Sarte will tackle the event for the Spanish squad, with only the former having previous experience of the big race.
BRONZE: Stellar 22-car field primed for battle royal
The Bronze Cup will be the biggest class at this year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, with its 22-car entry representing almost a third of the total grid. With such a deep field, this class victory will be especially hard earned.
HRT leads the Fanatec GT Europe standings after victory at Circuit Paul Ricard and has added Jordan Love to its regular #79 line-up of Haupt/Maini/Baud. Akkodis ASP has three members of the Baptista family in its #89 entry, with Alan Hellmeister joining for the 24 Hours, while GetSpeed (#3, Scholze/Assenheimer/Peroni) and Theeba Motorsport (#81, Juffali/Valente/Aron/Mettler) will also field AMG machinery.
AF Corse has a superb record of class success at Spa and has switched its attention to the Bronze Cup this term. The full-season #52 crew of L.Machiels/J.Machiels/Bertolini is bolstered by Lilou Wadoux and will remain faithful to the venerable Ferrari 488 GT3, while the one-off #50 entry for Mann/De Pauw/Varrone/Piguet will use the marque's new 296 model.
Iron Dames clinched Gold Cup honours last year and maintains an unchanged line-up of Bovy/Gatting/Frey/Pin for 2023, though the Italian squad is now aligned with Lamborghini. AGS Events will also field a Huracán GT3 EVO2, placing its hopes on the three-man line-up of Gorini/Borga/Jamin.
With six cars confirmed, Porsche can count on the biggest Bronze Cup contingent. Herberth Motorsport brings the #91 for A.Renauer/R.Renauer/Bohn/K.Van Berlo and this experienced squad has every chance of contending for the win. Herberth will also work in collaboration with new entrant Pure Rxcing to field the #911 for Bachler/Malykhin/Sturm/Seefried.
A former Am Cup winner, Team Parker Racing returns with the #62 Porsche for Pierce/Jewiss/Meyrick/Maassen, while Huber Motorsport will field Au/Fetzer/Fittje/Cairoli. French ace Côme Ledogar was an overall winner at Spa just two years ago; now, his CLRT squad is set for its event debut with Palette/Mateu/Makowiecki/Chevalier. Grove Motorsport (#23, S.Grove/B.Grove/Bamber/De Pasquale) and Dinamic GT Huber Racing (#55, Sager/Nakken/Barker/Zoechling) complete an impressive Porsche contingent.
McLaren is well represented too thanks to a trio of Bronze Cup crews. Sky Tempesta Racing has started the season with back-to-back podiums for its regular #93 crew of Froggatt/Hui/Cheever, who are joined by 2018 overall podium finisher Jeffrey Schmidt. In contrast, Garage 59 (#188, Ramos/Chaves/Prette/Grunewald) has already suffered more than its share of bad luck this term and will hope for better fortune at the marquee event. A third McLaren comes from Inception Racing, which is set for a one-off Spa assault with the familiar quartet of Iribe/Millroy/Schandorff/Rueda.
Audi has two cars on the Bronze Cup entry list. Chinese squad Uno Racing will make its CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa debut with Fong/Rio/He/Pan sharing its #16 machine, while Tresor Attempto Racing will field the quartet of Mukovoz/Galbiati/Pereira/Hudspeth in the #66. A pair of BMW entries complete this stacked class. Both are overseen by past overall winners, with Team WRT fielding its #31 for Carroll/Whale/Proctor and Walkenhorst Motorsport running Kell/Burchardt/Neubauer/Voisin in the #35.
PRO-AM: Hotly contested battle in prospect thanks to regular and one-off entries
The Pro-Am class has more than a decade's history at Spa and, with 12 crews confirmed, another competitive battle is in prospect. Car Collection Motorsport leads the Endurance Cup standings after victory at Circuit Paul Ricard and can count on experienced Spa competitors Niki Leutwiler, Ivan Jacoma and Nico Menzel, supported by pro driver Alex Fontana. Car Collection will field a second crew in collaboration with American outfit GMG Racing (#132, Sofronas/Washington/Bleekemolen/Long), while Hong Kong squad Modena Motorsport adds a further 911 GT3 R to be shared by Tjia/Shen/Simonsen/Beche
Barwell Motorsport should be another strong contender for victory. The British squad already has three class wins at Spa – Am in 2018, Silver in 2019 and Pro-Am in 2020 – and brings a strong line-up of Collard/Lind/Mardini/Kujala. Fellow Lamborghini outfit CrowdStrike Racing by Leipert Motorsport makes a one-off appearance with the crew of Watzinger/Leitch/Li/Brunot, while ST Racing with Rinaldi adds a Ferrari to the Pro-Am grid for Tan/Miller/Tutumlu/Weiss and CSA Racing moves across from the Bronze Cup with Rougier/Creed/Glorieux in its #888 Audi.
No fewer than five Mercedes-AMG outfits complete the class. GetSpeed has its regular crew of Bergstein/Lewandowski/Walker – the latter making his Spa debut at the age of 17 – while the #64 HRT line-up of Bell/Rao/Cottingham/Bird is another one-off. CrowdStrike Racing by Riley is set for its event debut, with the cybersecurity firm’s CEO, George Kurtz, gunning for more twice-around-the-clock glory alongside regular co-driver Colin Braun, fellow countryman Ian James, and Brazilian ace Felipe Fraga.
7TSIX is also set for its maiden run in the Ardennes, with the line-up of its #76 machine to be confirmed. Finally, there's always a buzz about the SunEnergy1 Racing programme. Team owner Kenny Habul is a two-time overall winner at the LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour, a remarkable achievement for a Bronze-graded driver, and brings his unmistakable flame-liveried Mercedes-AMG back to the Ardennes. He's joined by another top amateur in Martin Konrad, as well as Aussie tin-top ace Chaz Mostert, and 2015 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa winner Nicky Catsburg.
As always the battle for class honours will form part of the event’s extensive live online coverage, including English, German, French and Italian commentary streams on the GT World YouTube channel. With each category sure to provide its fair share of heartbreak and glory, this year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa promises to be another action-packed contest.
ABOUT CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa
First staged in 1924 and running continuously since 1964, the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa combines a unique sense of history with the unparalleled sporting challenge presented by modern-day Spa-Francorchamps. Since adopting GT rules in 2001 the race has firmly established itself as a key fixture on the international motorsport calendar.
Today, it represents the marquee event for two elite categories: Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS and the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli. The race marks its 75th edition in 2023, with another ultra-competitive grid expected to test themselves on 29 June – 2 July.
A range of ticket options are available to purchase for this year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. These include access for Thursday and Friday only, which will allow fans to enjoy extensive practice and qualifying running, as well as support race action. A Sunday ticket will provide access around the circuit and to grandstands, plus paddock access, for the second half of the contest.
For those wishing to experience the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in full, a General Entrance ticket covers Thursday through Sunday and allows access around the circuit and to grandstands, the Fan Village and the Saturday night music concert. For an even more immersive experience, fans can choose a General Entrance + Paddock ticket, which adds access to the bustling CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa paddock.
TICKETS: click here
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