PREVIEW: 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship – TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa

3 Mins read
The iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

After a thrilling start to the season, the third round 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) takes place at another iconic venue on Saturday 11 May. With 37 cars competing, split between 19 Hypercars and 18 LMGT3 cars, here is everything you need to know before the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa, the final race before the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The fan village at Spa. Credit: Joao Filipe / DPPI

Following on from a dramatic race at the 6 Hours of Imola, the European leg of the FIA WEC heads to the mighty Spa-Francorchamps for the third round of the season. Located in the Ardennes forest in Belgium, this 7km circuit scarcely needs an introduction. Featuring iconic corners known throughout the motorsport world, such as La Source, Eau Rouge and Raidillon, and blisteringly fast sections which will see the Hypercars hit speeds of 315kph (195mph), Spa is also known for being its own microclimate, with the unpredictable weather often causing chaos, particularly in races which are 6 hours long.

The prospect of rain will cause alarm for Ferrari AF Corse. After topping every practise session and securing the top three positions in qualifying, the Scuderia came undone once the rain began to fall in Imola. Antonello Coletta, Global Head of Endurance and Corse Clienti, explained the team’s motivation for Spa. “Following the finale of the 6 Hours of Imola, where we fell short of the overall podium, our whole team is driven by a desire for redemption,” Coletta said, “so we come to Spa with a firm ambition of completing a flawless weekend, free of errors.”

The #50 Ferrari 499P during FP1 at Spa. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

In 2023, the #51 Ferrari achieved a third place finish before converting that to victory at Le Mans. Ferrari need to bounce back this weekend to prove their potential in a very competitive series.

Reigning WEC champions, Toyota Gazoo Racing, had a very different experience of Imola. Despite, by their own admission, not having the fastest car, the team played a strategic blinder and secured victory for their #7 car. The Japanese team, who have been unbeaten at Spa since 2017, enjoyed close battles with Porsche Penske Motorsport, who achieved their second double podium finish of the season at Imola. The German team are still at the top of the standings, both for drivers and teams, but Toyota are now hungry to maintain their momentum and take back control of the championship.

The championship leading #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car followed by the #7 Toyota that won in Imola. Credit: Porsche AG

BMW M Team WRT are also coming off the back of a successful outing in Imola, and will have a lot of home support at Spa. While BMW is famously German, their partners at Team WRT are based in Belgium and there are a number of Belgian drivers in their squad. The #20 Hypercar finished an impressive 6th in only their second WEC outing in Imola, while the two BMW M4 LMGT3 cars secured a superb 1-2 finish in the LMGT3 class. Home hero Maxime Martin will be cheered on in the #46 car as they try and go one better than their second place finish this time round.

Team WRT will be hoping for another 1-2 finish, this time at their home race. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

In its debut race, the Peugeot 9X8 2024 secured the first points of the season for Peugeot TotalEnergies. The French outfit are running both cars with only two drivers apiece for the 6 Hours of Spa, with Jean-Éric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne missing the Belgian round due to prior race commitments. Similarly, Will Stevens is absent from the #12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963, and Cadillac Racing maintain their same two-man line-up from Imola of Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn.

Lamborghini Iron Lynx also have a change in line-up. Edoardo Mortara is competing in the FIA Formula E World Championship in Berlin, and is being replaced by Andrea Caldarelli, a Lamborghini factory driver and regular racer in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. The Italian team continue to focus on continuous learning after another strong performance in terms of reliability in Imola. The Lamborghini SC63 finished 12th overall, but their fastest lap was only 0.5 seconds off the pace of that set by the race winning Toyota. As this Golden Age of sportscar racing continues, the development of teams like this will continue to intrigue.

The striking Lamborghini SC63 on track at Spa. Credit: Julien Delfosse

Doriane Pin is absent from the LMGT3 class Iron Dames team. She is replaced by Rachel Frey who returns to the team for the weekend. Their disappointing start to the season sees them in 11th in the LMGT3 standings so far. In contrast, Manthey PureRxing top the LMGT3 standings following a 3rd in Imola and a great victory at the season opener, the Qatar 1812km. They will be hard pushed to challenge Team WRT at their home event. The Belgian team, who currently lie 2nd and 4th in the standings, will give it everything to get to the top.

The green flag will wave for the start of the 2024 TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa at 13:00 (CET) on Saturday 11 May. The Checkered Flag will bring you all the race reports you need to stay up to date.

Avatar photo
100 posts

About author
Lifelong fan of motor sport, covering the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the FIA WEC, the shortest and longest races covered by the FIA!
Related posts

Matt Campbell: "At times I struggled to keep the car on the track."

2 Mins read
Porsche Penske Motorsport secured a superb double podium finish in the 6 Hours of Imola. Here’s how the team and drivers reacted.

Alessandro Pier Guidi: "We're commenting on a final result that doesn't reflect the potential of our cars."

3 Mins read
After a great performance in practise and qualifying, the Ferrari AF Corse drivers give their verdict on a disappointing race result in Imola.

Kamui Kobayashi: "Our car was not the fastest this week but the team performed so well."

3 Mins read
Toyota Gazoo Racing give their analysis after a superb weekend of racing at Imola in the FIA WEC.