With the 75th CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa on the horizon, now is the ideal time to brush up on a few key facts and figures concerning the big race. We’ve compiled the ideal number – 24, of course – to whet your appetite for this year’s running of the Belgian endurance classic.
1. A record-equalling 71 GT3 cars are set to take the start of this year’s race. They include the full-season Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup field, as well as numerous Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli contenders and several one-off entrants.
2. A total of 11,717 race laps have been completed since the first GT edition was staged in 2001. The highest number was 589 in 2006, while the lowest was 363 in 2019. Last year’s total of 536 almost exactly matched the average for this period (532).
3. When it comes to Super Pole, Mercedes-AMG is without doubt the brand to beat this year. In 2022 it became the first GT manufacturer to secure four successive pole positions, while Raffaele Marciello is the only driver to secure three successive GT poles. Maro Engel began the run in 2019.
4. Last year’s race was the fifth instance of a car winning from pole since GT rules were introduced in 2001. The other examples came in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2014. The average starting position for the winner during this period is P9, although no car has started from ninth and gone on to win.
5. Defending overall winner Mercedes-AMG has the biggest entry this year with 16 cars, followed by Porsche with 14, and 13 cars from Audi. There are three brands present in all five classes – Audi, Lamborghini and Mercedes-AMG – while Aston Martin is the only marque represented by a single car.
6. A total of 19 brands have won the race since it was first staged in 1924, while eight have been victorious since GT rules were introduced in 2001. There have been five winners during the GT3 era: Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the latter adding its fourth overall win last year.
7. Four cars are set to make their CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa debut in 2023, each of which is represented in the top class. Lamborghini will field the upgraded Huracán EVO2, Ferrari has the new 296, McLaren brings the 720S Evo, while Porsche can count on the latest generation (Type 992) of its 911 GT3 R.
8. Four class-winning teams from last year return to chase another victory in 2023. Akkodis ASP will look to repeat its overall triumph, while Silver Cup winner Team WRT will compete in three different classes. AF Corse took Pro-Am in 2022 and is now contending for Bronze Cup honours, as are the Iron Dames, who won last year’s Gold Cup class.
9. With a record of six Pro-Am wins since 2011, AF Corse is by far the most successful class contender. Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels have triumphed three times for the Ferrari squad, making them the most successful drivers across the classes.
10. Counting all 71 cars, there are a total of 14 nationalities represented among this year’s competing teams. Germany leads the way with 18 cars, followed by 11 Italian entries and nine from Belgium.
11. With an impressive field of 22 cars, the Bronze Cup will be the biggest class at this year’s race. There will be 20 runners in the Pro category, 12 in Pro-Am, 10 in the Silver Cup, and seven in the Gold Cup. This will mark the first time since 2014 that Pro is not the biggest category.
12. There are six teams on this year’s entry list with at least one overall win to their credit: Akkodis ASP (2022), Iron Lynx (2021), ROWE Racing (2016 & 2020), Saintéloc Junior Team (2017), Team WRT (2011 & 2014) and Walkenhorst Motorsport (2018). Additionally, past winners Marc VDS (2015) and Phoenix Racing (2012) are present as part of the Boutsen VDS and Scherer Sport PHX partnerships respectively.
13. Belgian drivers have accumulated 48 overall wins at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, with Eric van de Poele accounting for five of them. Nicolas Caerels was the first in 1927, while Laurens Vanthoor was the most recent in 2020. 15 Belgian drivers will tackle the 2023 edition.
14. Among that group is local favourite Maxime Martin, who is set for his 16th consecutive participation at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. This is more than any other active driver.
15. Martin is one of 13 previous overall winners on this year’s entry list. There are four double winners: Andrea Bertolini (2006 & 2008), Philipp Eng (2016 & 2018), Laurens Vanthoor (2014 & 2020), and Jules Gounon (2017 & 2022).
16. A total of 38 nationalities are represented on the 2023 entry list. As has typically been the case, Germany leads the way with 33 drivers, followed by France (28) and Great Britain (27). Of note, U.S. representation has increased significantly this year to 19 drivers. 13 nations have a single driver on the 2023 grid.
17. There are five crews on the 2023 entry list comprising drivers from one nation: the #5 Optimum Motorsport McLaren (British); the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi (French); the #31 Team WRT BMW (British); the #44 CLRT Porsche (French); and the #89 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG (Brazilian). Notably, the #5 crew combines four British drivers in a British car run by a British team.
18. There will be seven female drivers on the grid this year, one more than in 2022. Iron Dames fields a full quartet of Doriane Pin, Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey in the #83 Lamborghini; Samantha Tan will drive the #38 ST Racing with Rinaldi Ferrari; Reema Juffali takes the wheel of the #81 Theeba Motorsport Mercedes-AMG; and Ferrari factory driver Lilou Wadoux makes her event debut in the #52 AF Corse machine.
19. Four crews feature members of the same family. There are father-son line-ups in the #23 Grove Motorsport Porsche (Stephen & Brenton Grove) and in the #52 AF Corse Ferrari (Louis & Jef Machiels). In the #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche, twin brothers Alfred and Robert Renauer will share for a sixth time. Finally, the #89 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG features three members of the Baptista family: father/son Adalberto and Bruno are joined by their nephew/cousin Rodrigo.
20. 10 teams will make their CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa debut this season. Comtoyou Racing, Uno Racing and CSA Racing will do so with Audi machinery, while CrowdStrike Racing by Riley, 7TSIX and Theeba Motorsport are aligned with Mercedes-AMG. Bullitt Racing represents Aston Martin, while CLRT, GMG Racing and Pure Rxcing are Porsche squads. Scherer Sport PHX is also a new name, though the team is a continuation of the Phoenix Racing squad that won the event in 2012.
21. This year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa will be the 29th race staged by Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli. What’s more, lap 152 of the twice-around-the-clock contest will mark the 10,000th tour completed since the series launched in 2016.
22. The record number of cars finishing on the lead lap is eight, a number first set in 2020 and repeated last year. Only three cars finished on the lead lap in 2021, while as recently as 2015 the winning car lapped the field.
23. A new GT3 lap record was set at the 2022 edition. Ferrari factory driver Alessio Rovera posted a 2m17.480s at the wheel of the #52 AF Corse machine to shave half a second off the previous benchmark.
24. The 2023 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa will be the 75th staged since the inaugural running in 1924 and the first with CrowdStrike as the event’s title sponsor. Next year, the race is set to celebrate its centenary edition.