Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Race report

WEC Spa: Jota Porsche claims maiden outright win in crash-delayed race

Jota Porsche took its first outright victory in the World Endurance Championship in an eventful Spa 6 Hours that was restarted following a lengthy red flag interruption.

#12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963: Will Stevens, Callum Ilott

Photo by: Paul Foster

Will Stevens and Callum Ilott secured the first customer victory of the Hypercar era for Jota in a 1-2 for the Porsche 963 LMDh, finishing 12.363s ahead of the factory #6 Penske Porsche Motorsport entry shared by Laurens Vanthoor, Andre Lotterer and Kevin Estre.

Taking fuel shortly before the 1h44m red flag, caused when Earl Bamber's Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh clipped the WRT BMW M4 GT3 of Sean Gelael on the Kemmel Straight to fire both cars hard into the barriers, proved crucial in cycling the Porsches to the head of the pack and denying Ferrari a first victory since Le Mans last year.

 

Lotterer had been running ahead of Ilott before their stops in fifth and sixth position, with the cars emerging in the reverse order.

At that juncture, a 1-2 finish for the factory 499P Le Mans Hypercars had been on the cards with Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 car leading the sister #50 entry of Antonio Fuoco that started from the back of the Hypercar grid after losing all its times from qualifying for running underweight.

But the race was turned on its head by Bamber's misjudgement as the Kiwi attempted a move for third on Neel Jani's Proton Competition 963 and clipped Gelael, which triggered a violent accident and a lengthy delay while the barriers were repaired.

Teams were permitted to change tyres on the grid for the safety car restart, but the leading #51 Ferrari was forced to take emergency service before pitting again after the return to green.

#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor, #12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963: Will Stevens, Callum Ilott

#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor, #12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963: Will Stevens, Callum Ilott

Photo by: Paul Foster

With Ilott and Estre only needing one more stop in the remainder of the race, they could control proceedings once it went green, but Estre was never in a position to challenge the all-British crew, driving as a duo with Norman Nato on Formula E duty in Berlin.

Estre was forced to pit one lap sooner than Ilott, and a gamble on four tyres at his final stop was not enough to get him back on terms as the Jota car reeled off the laps.

The emergency stop under the safety car at the restart meant the #50 car Fuoco shared with Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina completed the podium, while Pier Guidi fought back past Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMH to finish fourth.

Kobayashi had emerged from the pits ahead of both Ferraris, but lost out to Fuoco on the approach to Les Combes and was outfoxed by Pier Guidi at the same spot later in the race.

Julien Andlauer completed a storming drive in the Proton Competition 963 that had led at half distance to finish fifth, passing Kobayashi at Eau Rouge in the car he shared with Neel Jani.

Kobayashi crossed the line sixth, but a five-second time penalty for making contact with the Iron Dames Lamborghini at La Source demoted him behind the #8 Toyota of Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.

In the LMGT3 class, Manthey Racing delivered a remarkable 1-2 finish after the Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan that led onto the final lap had to pit for fuel.

#91 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3: Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, Richard Lietz

#91 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3: Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, Richard Lietz

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Franck Perera had been set for a fairytale maiden victory after hunting down Gregoire Saucy's United Autosports McLaren, but didn't have enough energy to complete the final tour without a splash-and-dash.

This cycled the lead to the PureRxcing Manthey Porsche that had been rebuilt after a heavy qualifying accident for Alexander Malykhin at Raidillon, but his co-driver Klaus Bachler was also struggling for energy.

As a result, he didn't fight too hard as team-mate Richard Lietz in the Manthey EMA car loomed in his mirrors and the Austrian outbraked his compatriot into Les Combes before stroking home to a 1.298s victory.

Lietz, Morris Schuring and Yasser Shahin had been the leading crew before the red flag, and initially dropped deep into the pack when Schuring pitted at the restart to hand over to Lietz.

But the Porsche remained in the mix and steadily moved forwards as those who had taken fuel before the red flag ran low on energy.

Points leaders Bachler, Malykhin and Joel Sturm completed their improbable recovery to finish second ahead of Perera, Matteo Cressoni and Claudio Schiavone.

The Iron Dames Lamborghini qualified on pole by Sarah Bovy dominated the early phases of the race but had a 40s lead wiped out by a safety car triggered when the second Jota Porsche 963 of Phil Hanson was hit from behind by Rene Rast's BMW M Hybrid V8 and clattered into Ahmad Al Harthy's WRT BMW, also causing barrier damage.

#38 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963: Jenson Button, Philip Hanson, Oliver Rasmussen, #46 Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3: Ahmad Al Harthy, Valentino Rossi, Maxime Martin

#38 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963: Jenson Button, Philip Hanson, Oliver Rasmussen, #46 Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3: Ahmad Al Harthy, Valentino Rossi, Maxime Martin

Photo by: Paul Foster

The all-female car Bovy shared with Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting still appeared a contender for victory and led following the restart, but a slow right-rear change at what proved to be the penultimate stop dropped Gatting behind Perera, before she too had to make a late splash while pressuring Bachler for second.

The Dames ultimately crossed the finish line in fourth, ahead of the McLaren Saucy shared with James Cottingham and Nicolas Costa, but was demoted a place by a post-race five-second penalty for Gatting's contact with Bachler.

WEC Spa 6 Hours - Race results

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Team # Drivers Car Laps Time Interval Pits Retirement Points
1
HERTZ TEAM JOTA HYPERCAR
12 United Kingdom W. Stevens United Kingdom C. Ilott Porsche 963 141

 

  5    
2
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
6 France K. Estre Germany A. Lotterer Belgium L. Vanthoor Porsche 963 141

12.363

  5    
3
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
50 Italy A. Fuoco Spain M. Molina Denmark N. Nielsen Ferrari 499P 141

1'14.020

  5    
4
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
51 Italy A. Pier Guidi United Kingdom J. Calado Italy A. Giovinazzi Ferrari 499P 141

1'17.710

  6    
5
Proton Competition HYPERCAR
99 Switzerland N. Jani France J. Andlauer Porsche 963 141

1'26.326

  5    
6
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
8 Switzerland S. Buemi New Zealand B. Hartley Japan R. Hirakawa Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 141

1'34.955

  6    
7
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
7 United Kingdom M. Conway Japan K. Kobayashi Netherlands N. de Vries Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 141

1'38.331

  6    
8
AF Corse HYPERCAR
83 Poland R. Kubica Israel R. Shwartzman China Y. Yifei Ferrari 499P 141

1'49.162

  6    
9
Alpine Endurance Team HYPERCAR
35 France P. Chatin France J. Gounon France C. Milesi Alpine A424 141

2'07.089

  5    
10
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
93 Denmark M. Jensen Switzerland N. Müller Peugeot 9X8 2024 140

10.657

  7    
11
BMW M Team WRT HYPERCAR
15 Belgium D. Vanthoor Italy R. Marciello Germany M. Wittmann BMW M Hybrid V8 140

30.282

  6    
12
Alpine Endurance Team HYPERCAR
36 France N. Lapierre Germany M. Schumacher France M. Vaxiviere Alpine A424 140

37.360

  5    
13
BMW M Team WRT HYPERCAR
20 South Africa S. Van Der Linde Netherlands R. Frijns Germany R. Rast BMW M Hybrid V8 140

2'09.102

  7    
14
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
94 United Kingdom P. di Resta France L. Duval Peugeot 9X8 2024 139

2 laps

  8    
15
Isotta Fraschini HYPERCAR
11 Canada A. Serravalle
C. Bennett
France J. Vernay
Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 Competizione LMH 138

3 laps

  7    
16
Manthey EMA LMGT3
91
Y. Shahin
M. Schuring
Austria R. Lietz
Porsche 911 GT3 R 130

11 laps

  7    
17
Manthey PureRxcing LMGT3
92
A. Malykhin
J. Sturm
Austria K. Bachler
Porsche 911 GT3 R 130

1'11.355

  6    
18
IRON LYNX LMGT3
60 Italy C. Schiavoni Italy M. Cressoni
F. Perera
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 130

1'19.920

  7    
19
IRON DAMES LMGT3
85 Belgium S. Bovy Switzerland R. Frey Denmark M. Gatting Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 130

1'37.121

  7    
20
United Autosports LMGT3
59 J. Cottingham N. Costa Switzerland G. Saucy McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 130

1'41.394

  7    
21
Vista AF Corse LMGT3
54 Switzerland T. Flohr Italy F. Castellacci Italy D. Rigon Ferrari 296 GT3 130

1'50.871

  7    
22
D'Station Racing LMGT3
777 France C. Mateu
E. Bastard
Denmark M. Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 130

2'12.827

  7    
23
Proton Competition LMGT3
88 Italy G. Roda
M. Pedersen
Norway D. Olsen
Ford Mustang GT3 130

2'17.936

  7    
24
Proton Competition LMGT3
77 United States R. Hardwick Canada Z. Robichon United Kingdom B. Barker Ford Mustang GT3 130

2'24.658

  7    
25
AKKODIS ASP Team LMGT3
78
A. Robin
Russian Federation T. Boguslavskiy Japan R. Miyata
Lexus RC F GT3 129

12 laps

  6    
26
Heart of Racing Team LMGT3
27 United Kingdom I. James Italy D. Mancinelli Spain A. Riberas Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 129

9.322

  8    
27
TF Sport LMGT3
82 Japan H. Koizumi
S. Baud
Spain D. Juncadella
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R 129

1'30.923

  8    
28
Vista AF Corse LMGT3
55 France F. Heriau France S. Mann Italy A. Rovera Ferrari 296 GT3 129

2'28.972

  7    
29
AKKODIS ASP Team LMGT3
87 Japan T. Kimura
E. Masson
Argentina J. Lopez
Lexus RC F GT3 128

13 laps

  6    
30
CADILLAC RACING HYPERCAR
2 New Zealand E. Bamber United Kingdom A. Lynn Cadillac V-Series.R 95

46 laps

  3    
31
TEAM WRT LMGT3
31
D. Leung
Indonesia S. Gelael Brazil A. Farfus
BMW M4 GT3 87

54 laps

  5    
32
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
5 Australia M. Campbell Denmark M. Christensen France F. Makowiecki Porsche 963 64

77 laps

  2    
33
United Autosports LMGT3
95 United Kingdom J. Caygill Chile N. Pino Japan M. Sato McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 59

82 laps

  5    
34
Lamborghini Iron Lynx HYPERCAR
63 Italy M. Bortolotti Italy A. Caldarelli Russian Federation D. Kvyat Lamborghini SC63 59

1'47.875

  3    
35
TF Sport LMGT3
81 Belgium T. Van Rompuy Portugal R. Andrade Ireland C. Eastwood Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R 56

85 laps

  4    
36
HERTZ TEAM JOTA HYPERCAR
38 United Kingdom J. Button United Kingdom P. Hanson Denmark O. Rasmussen Porsche 963 37

104 laps

  1    
37
TEAM WRT LMGT3
46 United Kingdom A. Al Harthy Italy V. Rossi Belgium M. Martin BMW M4 GT3 33

108 laps

  1    

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Spa WEC race extended after red flag for Cadillac and BMW clash
Next article Ferrari protest into WEC Spa result rejected

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe