The sixth season of the thrilling Intercontinental GT Challenge (Powered by Pirelli) kicks off this weekend with the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa after the usual Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The race will also see a total of 32 entries, of which more than half would be GT3 cars.
Five full-season manufacturers (Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche) will compete with six cars each.
Let’s have a look at the respective entries:
Audi will compete with 4 cars in the Pro series and 2 in the Silver cup and will surely be a force to be reckoned with as they will bring big names into the weekend.
Heading the #32 WRT team will be the current DTM leader, Kelvin van der Linde as well as Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts. The current FIA ABB Formula E championship contender, Robin Frijns will partner Nico Mueller and Dennis Lind in the second (#37) WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Racing for the Attempto squad, Mattia Drudi will partner Dennis Marschall and Christopher Mies, while Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Patric Niederhauser will race in the Sainteloc Racing Audi.
The Italian manufacturer took victory in 2004 and will hope to follow this up in 2021 with a line of strong contenders.
Allessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar will be racing for Iron Lynx, while Davide Rigon, Antonio Fuoco and F2 driver, Callum Ilott will also put the 488 GT3 to the test this weekend. The team will most certainly also be one of the favourites in the Pro-Am and Silver cup.
Yet to win the Spa 24 hour race, Lamborghini will compete with the very talented Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli, who will be joining forces at the Orange 1 FFF Racing squad. This must be said, will be one of the fiercest teams this year.
Giacomo Altoe, Franck Perera and Albert Costa will race in the second Pro Lamborghini for the Emil Frey team.
Similar to Audi, the Mercedes-AMG line-up will also consist of four pro teams as it prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AMG’s first-class victory in the 24 hours.
Maxis Buhk and Goetz, who won for Mercedes in 2013, will join Yelmer Buurman to race for HubAuto, while Raffaele Marciello and Maro Engel will lead the AKKA ASP and HRT teams.
Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavskiy and Lucas Auer wull race for the fourth Mercedes-AMG team.
The manufacturer looked very strong to cement victory last year, only to suffer from mechanical difficulties during the night.
The German manufacturer took victory at the2019 and 2020 events with the #20 GPX Racing Porsche of Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre, and while the Rowe Racing Porsche team finished second that year, the #98 Rowe Racing Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber took a step up towards victory in 2020. This helped the manufacturer to wrap up the championship during both seasons.
Like Audi and Mercedes-AMG, Porsche will be hoping for a hat-trick of Spa 24 hour victories as they enter 4 Pro teams.
While Rowe Racing will be absent this year, the GPX, KCMG, Dinamic and Schnabl Engineering teams will form the four Pro Porsche teams.
This time around, Bamber will compete for GPX (#22) with Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet, while the 2019 ICTC champhion, Dennis Olsen, will join the 2021 Nürburgring 24 hour champion, Christensen and Fred Makowiecki at Schnabl (#3). This means that the other 2021 Nürburgring 24 hour winner, Estre, will join Richard Lietz and Sven Mueller in the #21 Rutronik Racing Porsche.
Edoaro Liberati, Josh Burdon and Alex Imperatori will race for the #18 KCMG team.
Although this manufacturer will not see a full-time entry in the 2021 ICTG, BMW will compete with 2 Pro M6 GT3 machinery. While both will be entered under the Walkenhorst Motorsport name, recent DTM pole-sitter, Sheldon van der Linde will partner Marco Wittmann and David Pittard in the #34 BMW, with Timo Glock, Martin Tomczyk and Thomas Neubauer racing in the #35.
McLaren will race with a sole 720 S GT3 Pro Cup car, which will be steered by Ben Barnicoat, Oliver Wilkinson and Rob Bell. Jordan Pepper, Oliver Millroy and Brendan Iribe will compete with another 720 S in the Pro-Am Cup.
A previous Pro cup championship contender and race winner, Jordan Pepper, will race with Oliver Millroy and Brendan Iribe in the Pro-Am Cup.
The British manufacturer will compete with the #95 Garage 59 car, piloted by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Ross Gunn in the Pro Cup.
Bentley will only compete in the Silver Cup with the #107 CMR Continental piloted by Pierre-Alenadre Jean, Stuart White and Nelson Panciatici.
For the full entry list, head over to the following URL: https://www.totalenergies24hours.com/entry-list
Be sure to follow the race according to this timetable:
Thursday 29 July
10:50 – 12:20: Free Practice
15:45 – 16:45: Pre-Qualifying
20:50 – 22:11: Qualifying (Q1-4)
22:30 – 00:00: Night Practice
Friday 30 July
19:10 – 19:40: Warm-up
19:50 – 20:20: Super Pole
Saturday 31 July
16:30: TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa