Written by Evan Veer, Edited by Will Stephens and Sasha Macmillen
The FIA World Endurance Championship returned to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the second race of the season in the buildup to the series’ crown jewel event at Le Mans next month.
La Source claimed two victims on the first lap as the #92 Porsche made a lunge at the leader, its fellow Porsche factory car #91, which lead to that car forcing the #92 on the outside kerbs on the exit of turn 1 where it momentarily lost control causing both cars to collide and puncturing the left rear tyre of the #91, effectively ending Porsche’s chances of a 1-2 finish. The fan-favourite #85 Iron Dames GTE-AM Ferrari ended up in the gravel trap, bringing out the safety car and putting them more than a lap behind.
Throughout the entire race the Alpine Hypercar seemed far off the pace as both Toyotas quickly passed it as they went on to overtake the leading Glickenhaus to take the lead of the race.
Just past the 1 hour mark the #44 spun off the kerbs and heavily crashed into the barriers at turn 14, similarly to Giovanazzi’s crash during the 2020 F1 Grand Prix.
A red flag was called for barrier repairs, and by the time the race restarted the rainclouds had burst open, covering half the track in water as the other half remained seemingly untouched.
When the race was due to restart the leading #8 Toyota couldn’t get moving before performing a full reset, leaving all other cars waiting behind it on the grid.
In the end the car managed to get going but it turned out to be in vain as it pulled to the side of the track by the end of the first racing lap with a suspected hybrid failure.
The risk of the Toyota being electrically charged meant a red flag had to be called once again, but as the rain had soon covered the entire track chaos ensued with the #31 WRT LMP2 momentarily leading overall and several other cars losing control left, right and centre. As the rain increased another red flag was called as the visibility had worsened to the point where it was no longer safe to race, but as the track started to dry up again the race was resumed.
In the end the race was won by the #7 Toyota as the #31 lead a dominant WRT 1-2 in the LMP2 class and finished 3rd overall.
In GTE-PRO the #51 Ferrari narrowly held off the #92 Porsche after a very close duel during the closing laps of the race. GTE-AM was won by the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche, making Harry Tincknell the first driver to win a race in 3 seperate classes as well as winning with 3 different GTE manufacturers.
Only 2 hours and 49 minutes of the race ran under green flags as 3 red flags, 6 safety cars and 5 full-course yellows covered more than half the race.
The race also showed us the effects of the recent updates around the track: firstly the addition of a gravel trap on the outside of turn 1 has made on-track battles riskier for any car on the outside as it can no longer bail out by going off the track on the left. This combined with the added gravel on the outside of turns 6 through 8 means mistakes that would have previously sent drivers on a relatively inconsequential trip over the runoff will now be punished much more severely as the chance of getting stuck in the gravel has become a much greater risk.
Meanwhile the new grandstand on the top of Radillion has been received very well by fans at the circuit as it offers an amazing new view of the famously challenging climb up the hill through Eau Rouge and Radillion.