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Spa Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race news and notes from the Total 6 Hours of Spa…

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

***The winning Toyota GR010 Hybrid completed 162 laps in Saturday’s Total 6 Hours of Spa, which ran in fully dry conditions. This was slightly above the average of 161 laps completed by the winners of the previous nine FIA World Endurance Championship rounds at the Belgian circuit.

***Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won the 6 Hours of Spa five times in a row. The Japanese manufacturer has done so with three different hybrid-powered sports prototypes: the TS040 once, TS050 on four occasions and the GR010 this weekend.

***The LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am winning crews shared the achievement of successfully defending their 2020 Spa victories, while all three did so with a new co-driver. Fabio Scherer, Neel Jani and Alessio Rovera were additions to the back-to-back winning lineups from United Autosports, Porsche GT Team and AF Corse respectively.

***ARC Bratislava’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson did not make the grid due to an internal oil leak that manifested during the 10-minute warm-up session. It meant a field made up exclusively of Oreca 07 Gibsons contested LMP2.

***Adding in the late withdrawal of the GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 due to an accident in the warm-up, and the withdrawals of the two Team Project 1 Porsches due to crashes, a total of 31 cars took part in the race after 35 arrived at Spa.

***Corvette Racing technical director Ben Johnson worked on the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s pit crew during the race. Johnson had some tire change practice last Sunday before the Prologue.

***Oliver Gavin took the final stint of his professional racing career, which has included five 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins with Corvette, in the mid-portion of the race between two stints from Antonio Garcia.

“In the last few laps, I was just thinking about everything that’s happened, in all of the 20 years I’ve spent with this team and the success we’ve all had together,” Gavin told pit lane reporter Louise Beckett.

***Algarve Pro Racing retired its No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus-badged Oreca after JOTA reported the team replenishing its oil at every pit stop. “We were adding oil at every stop because we were not losing so much that we could retire the car,” Nyck de Vries told Sportscar365. “We could have gone to the end if they allowed us to continue.”

***Repeat clutch issues affected Team WRT’s second race with the Oreca LMP2 car. The Belgian squad, which was aiming to add to its pair of 24-hour GT3 race wins at Spa with a prototype triumph, lost 34 laps to the winning LMP2 entry.

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Oreca experienced a starter motor failure at its last two pit stops, according to driver Gabriel Aubry. This contributed to the Tech 1 Racing-supported machine finishing four laps adrift of class winner United Autosports.

***The issue that caused the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche RSR-19 to stop at Les Combes in the final hour was not immediately known at the end of the race, according to team principal Christian Ried.

***Ried said that his crew members finished repairing the No. 77 chassis after its Friday qualifying crash at 4 a.m. on race day morning: “They did a really great job. It’s really sad for them not to finish the race because they did a great job overnight.”

***Andrew Haryanto is set to return to Dempsey-Proton’s No. 88 lineup for Monza, as part of preparations for his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with Absolute Racing. Absolute had one engineer and a mechanic on that entry at Spa. Ried said the driver lineup for Portimao has not been sorted yet.

***Project 1 team principal Axel Funke described losing both of his GTE-Am Porsches to accidents in the build-up sessions as a “bitter pill to swallow”. He said: “Spa is one of those circuits where you can’t afford to make any errors. That’s a lesson we learned the hard way this year.”

***The fastest maximum speed of the Spa event, including the Prologue, was 312.3 km/h (194 mph) clocked by Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi during Free Practice 2.

***Tom Blomqvist was handed two license points and a drive-through penalty for his part in a side-on clash between his JOTA Oreca and Andre Negrao’s Alpine A480 Gibson at Eau Rouge. Both drivers managed to avoid losing control of their cars, but Blomqvist was sanctioned for what the stewards deemed to be an “avoidable” incident.

***Negrao felt the ruling on Blomqvist was harsh and deemed it to be a “racing incident” even though it resulted in the Alpine getting a right-front puncture.

***Despite all three Hypercars finishing ahead of the LMP2 field, Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon suggested that the stratification gap between the two classes needs further work.

“It’s enough to win a race,” said Vasselon. “But for us, the perspective is when the field of LMH has 10-12 cars, with this kind of gap the grid will be completely mixed. Then, it’s a bit problematic.”

***The strong pace of the LMP2 front-runners, particularly eventual winner United Autosports, resulted in it taking three and a half hours for the second-tier prototype class leader to drop off the overall lead lap.

***While the LMH formula kicked off with two Toyotas at Spa, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus set up at Vallelunga this week for a test with its non-hybrid SCG 007 LMH. The American automaker is aiming to make its world championship debut at Portimao.

***The 8 Hours of Portimao, round two of the 2021 WEC season, takes place on June 13.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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