2023 FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia - Tim Hearn


6 Hours of Spa- Francorchamps: #07 Toyota wins in chaotic race.

The #07 Toyota took the win in a chaotic race, which saw four Hypercars not make it to the end of the race.

When you look at the result of the 6 hours of Spa, it looks to be more Toyota domination, but that really didn’t tell the story of the race.

The #7 Toyota took the win by +16.637s from the sister #8 car, which was followed by the #51 Ferrari, which was a further +1m:14.439s from the #7.

At the race start it was mixed conditions with rain spitting down upon the Belgian circuit, which created some split strategy calls from the teams in the Hypercar class.

The big loser at the start was the  #7 Toyota and the #3 Cadillac who dropped like a rock in water through the field, as by the time the first ten minutes were complete the Toyota had dropped from first to seventh, and the Cadillac from fifth to ninth in class.

Meanwhile, the Ferraris were looking to have made the right call with wet tyres as they lead the field one-two, with the #51 in front of the #50, then they were followed by the #2 Cadillac.

The track would continue to get dryer and dryer though, and the #7 Toyota would find its way back to the front of the field, as the cars with wets tyres fell off the pace.

With 4h:22m:39s to go in the race the #3 Cadillac that had made its way up to second position, got squirrelly through Raidillon, which sent it in a big way into the left outside tyre wall, ripping the car to bits.

Renger Van Der Zande was ok but visibly annoyed with the mistake that sent his car out of the race.

Then with 3h:41m:40s to go in the race the #6 Porsche was pushed off of the circuit on the main straight as the car quite literally just shut down.

When asked driver Laurens Vanthoor didn’t have much idea of what could’ve gone wrong.

The bad luck for the #4 Vanwall continued with the car retiring yet again, as when driver Jacque Villeneuve went to overtake the #54 AF Corsa Ferrari around the outside at Blanchimont, he got collected breaking the rear left suspension sending Villeneuve into a spin, and out.

Then with just over an hour and a half in the race to go Antonio Fucoco in the #50 Ferrari went for a ride into the barrier down the back pit straight, as he spun the tyres up coming out of the pitlane, this would spell the end of the #50 Ferraris race.

It was a tense final lap to the race as the #7 Toyota received a ten-second penalty, which didn’t really affect the order too much as Kamui Kobayashi was leading the #8 Toyota by over 16 seconds.

The tense part was the #51 Ferrari and #7 Porsche with them both fighting for the final podium spot with just one lap of the six hours to go.

James Calado would make his move and made it stick at Les Combes going down the inside of Frédéric Makowiecki.

And this was just the Hypercar part of the race…

In LMP2 the win went to Team WRT of Louis Deletraz at the hands of the #41 car, which was +6.042s ahead of the #23 United Autosport car, with it losing the lead to the WRT car in the pits with 12m:15s to go in the race.

They were followed by the #34 Inter Europoi Competition car, which had a charge through the field in the last hour of the race.

History was made in LMGTE Am, with the #83 Richard Mille AF Corsa Ferrari taking the win, and Lilou Wadoux claiming the first class win for a female driver in the World Endurance Championship.

Following them was the #33 Corvette Racing car driven by Nicky Catsburg who was defending with everything he had going into the final lap, as the third place #25 ORT by TF Aston Martin of Charlie Eastwood was trying everything he could to get past.

This was a class that struggled with the wet conditions at the start of the race with the #60 Iron Lynx Porsche spinning off of the road into the gravel at Les Combes, which brought out the safety car.

The Proton Competition car also struggled with the wet conditions as the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche spun three times before the race got underway.





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