Everything you need to know about the 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa

Everything you need to know about the 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa

23.07.2021: TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa Circuit de Spa - Francorchamps 27 July -1 August 2021 On Saturday 31 July, the world's most competitive GT race will begin its 73rd edition. This year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will see nine brands represented

TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa
Circuit de Spa - Francorchamps
27 July -1 August 2021




On Saturday 31 July, the world's most competitive GT race will begin its 73rd edition. This year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will see nine brands represented on a 58-car grid, with each entrant vying to secure their place in history.


 
Whether you're a first-timer or a long-term fan, endurance racing can seem complicated: there are multiple classes, maximum stint lengths and mandatory pit stops to keep track of. But fear not, because we have assembled the key information that you need to know ahead of this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.




The Categories


One of Spa's unique features is that its class structure is based solely on driver categorisation. There will be four categories on-track this year, with every car conforming to GT3 regulations. Crews competing in Pro are only eligible for the overall result, while those in the Silver Cup, Pro-Am and Am Cup also compete for class honours.



First, it's worth mentioning a few rules that are applicable to all classes. Over the full duration of the race, no driver can spend more than 14 hours behind the wheel. The maximum continuous driving time is three hours, after which there is a mandatory one-hour rest.



The Pro category is the biggest, with 25 cars committed for 2021. Each crew is limited to three drivers, but there are no additional rules on driving time nor on categorisation. Barring a major upset, this category will fill the overall podium on Sunday afternoon, as it has every year since the current class structure was introduced in 2011.  



In the Silver Cup each line-up consists of up to four Silver-graded drivers, with no extra limits placed on driving time. We'll see 17 entries this year, the most since the class was introduced in 2018. To date the best finish for a Silver crew is 15th, but we could certainly see that beaten in 2021.  



In Pro-Am, a maximum line-up of two Platinum and two Bronze-graded drivers is allowed. In terms of driving time, this is the most complex: a Bronze must be behind the wheel for a minimum of eight hours during the race, and for at least one hour during each six-hour period (this time can be shared between two Bronze representatives). There are 14 runners confirmed, the most since 2017.



Am Cup crews consist of up to four Bronze drivers, or three Bronze and one Silver. The Silver can only be behind the wheel for a total of six hours during the race, and for a maximum of two hours in each six-hour period. There are two Am crews confirmed for 2021, both of which have elected to run the optional Silver driver.




The Format


The 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will be the third round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup, as well as the opening stop on the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli tour. However, it’s bigger than a regular Endurance Cup event.



Track activity begins at 14:55 on Tuesday with the Bronze Test, which runs for three hours and is open to all Bronze-graded competitors, as well as any Silver drivers competing outside the Pro category who have never previously raced at Spa.



Things get very busy on Thursday. Track action kick offs with a 90-minute Free Practice at 10:50 followed by a one-hour Pre-Qualifying at 15:45. Both are primarily about preparation, while Pre-Qualifying can also be used to set the grid if Qualifying can’t take place.



All being well we move on to Qualifying at 20:50. This follows the usual Endurance Cup format, though there are four 15-minute sessions instead of three. One driver from each car contests a session, with three-driver crews skipping Q1 and the average time establishing the order. The fastest 20 book a spot in Friday's Super Pole shootout, while positions 21 through 58 locked in barring any penalties.



At this point attention begins to shift to the race with a 90-minute Night Practice that runs from 22:30 until midnight. All drivers must complete at least two flying lap laps (from timing line to timing line) to meet their night-driving criteria.



Friday begins with a 20-minute Warm-Up at 19:10, which is open to all competitors. For those contesting Super Pole, it's an opportunity for a quick shakedown; for the remainder of the field, this is the last chance to run before the main event.  


At 19:50 the Super Pole battle begins. Each crew nominates one driver, who has two flying laps to set their best time. They run in reverse order and at one-minute intervals, meaning the excitement builds throughout the session. Winning the Super Pole at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa is a major mark of respect for every GT driver.



Adelheid Terryn - photo SRO

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23.07.2021 / MaP

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