The Total 24 Hours of Spa is the headline event of the GT World Challenge Europe season for good reason. It is the longest and the toughest of all the endurance races in the series and this year it will be even tougher.
Forced to reschedule from its traditional spot in July due to the Covid-19 lockdown, this year’s autumn edition will have more hours of darkness than ever before, which when coupled with much colder temperatures and the ever-present threat of rain, will make it the biggest challenge yet for the teams.
Garage 59 has just been through the best possible rehearsal for this event by racing in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and then taking part on the official Spa test days so the team is fully prepped and primed.
It has been a good season so far for Garage 59, with each of its Aston Martin Vantage GT3s taking class wins in the first two events: the #188 Vantage took the Pro-Am class win at the season-opener at Imola and the #159 Vantage came home first in the Silver class last time out at the Nürburgring.
A 24-hour race like Spa, needs extra firepower in the driving squads so the Pro-Am crew of Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam, has been bolstered with the addition of Aston Martin factory driver and Spa specialist, Maxime Martin, who will be starting his 10th 24 Hours of Spa in a row.
Adam is hopeful of a good result at Spa and thinks that the team is ready for whatever the Ardennes throws at them: “The recent Spa test provided us with everything we needed to prepare for this race. We all got plenty of time in the car and, even though it was forecast to be dry on Day Two, I don’t think we got onto slicks all day so we know what to expect when the inevitable rain comes. We managed to do some good night running too, which is great for the team as it provided plenty of time for getting the headlights set up just right. This is an important race for the championship as there are a lot of extra points up for grabs. We really want to do well at Spa and I can’t see any reason why we won’t. We have a fast and reliable car, the team is ready and we also have Max (Martin) with us and there is nothing he doesn’t know about this race.”
Garage 59’s Silver class driving squad has been strengthened with the addition of Roman De Angelis, who joins his fellow AMR Academy driver, Valentin-Hasse Clot, Andrew Watson and James Pull in the #159 Aston Martin.
Hasse-Clot is enjoying being part of Garage 59’s Silver squad and he has high hopes for Spa: “For many reasons, I’m very much looking forward to tackling the 24 Hours of Spa. The most obvious is that we are championship leaders so we have to defend this position and that's a pretty exciting feeling. We have strong rivals but I trust my team to deliver the best. They proved in the first two races that they are very good in the pits, but also in defining the strategy. This is an important factor in a 24-hour race, especially with the varying conditions that are expected this year. With my team mates Andrew and James, we share the same vision of the race and have the same goals. We have managed to create a great bond that makes us stronger. We are very happy to welcome Roman to join us at Spa, I'm sure he will fit perfectly into our team.”
Qualifying for the Total 24 Hours of Spa gets underway on Thursday at 18:55 CEST / 17:55 BST and you can catch the action on the ‘GT World’ YouTube channel. The main event begins on Saturday at 15:30 CEST / 14:30 BST. The race will finish at 14:30 CET / 13:30 GMT the following day. It will still run for 24 hours but the clocks move back one hour during the race.