Rowe Racing took the victory at this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, winning after a sudden downpour of heavy rain dramatically altered the running order with just thirty minutes to go. Their BMW M6 GT3 piloted by Maxime Martin, Alexander Sims, and Philipp Eng took BMW’s second straight victory at the famous race.
It was a race that also featured a small handful of Super GT drivers, past and present – headlined by Belgium’s Bertrand Baguette, who traded in his white and blue EPSON Nakajima Racing colours for Audi black and red – and finished a solid eighth overall in the 68th running of the Spa 24 Hours.
Baguette, partnered with fellow Belgian Adrien de Leener, and Pierre Kaffer, whose Audi Team Braille entry in Super GT’s GT300 class has still yet to materialize, finished eighth, completing 527 laps around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Though they were four laps down of the leaders, the #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry was resilient, climbing from 39th on the grid to take an overall top-ten finish.
NISMO entered this year’s Spa 24 Hours with a two-car fleet for GT Academy Team RJN, aiming for a victory on the 25th anniversary of their 1991 triumph, that featured a lineup of future JGTC drivers – David Brabham, Naoki Hattori, and Anders Olofsson.
But it wasn’t to be for the Nissan GT-Rs this time out. The #22 Nissan GT-R (Ricardo Sanchez/Romain Sarrazin/Sean Walkinshaw/Matthew Simmons) finished 37th overall (-25 laps), with the flagship #23 GT-R, featuring former Super GT driver Lucas Ordoñez and the soon-to-be-returning Mitsunori Takaboshi partnered with Alex Buncombe, finishing only 44th (-50 laps). The 23 team’s biggest setback was a broken gearbox with three hours remaining.
Completing the overall podium at Spa were the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Felix Rosenqvist/Tristan Vautier/Renger van der Zande) and the #28 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS (Laurens Vanthoor/Rene Rast/Nico Müller).
Also on the Spa 24 Hours bill this year was the seventh round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, where Lexus Team au TOM’s star Nick Cassidy had an up and down weekend. Cassidy finished fourth in the first race, seventeenth in the second race following a costly trip through the gravel, and moving from tenth to fifth in the third and final race.
The net results keep Cassidy in fourth in the championship, now tied with George Russell on 194 points.
Baguette, Takaboshi, and Cassidy will now prepare to head back to Japan for next weekend’s Fuji GT 300km Race.