Spectators will return to the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa for the race’s 2021 edition later this month, event organizer SRO Motorsports Group announced on Thursday.
The number of fans and their level of access in accordance with COVID-19 prevention protocols will be confirmed when tickets go on sale next week.
Last year’s 24 Hours of Spa was postponed from its traditional late July slot to October and placed behind closed doors as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the early 2021 rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Belgium and the rest of Europe, SRO had been working to determine whether spectators could return to its blue riband GT3 race on July 31-Aug. 1.
SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel said in April that it would be a “financial disaster” for Spa – which typically draws tens of thousands of fans – to go behind closed doors for the second year in a row, but noted that such a move would be made if necessary.
Last month Ratel expressed greater optimism at fans being able to attend, suggesting that spectator ‘bubbles’ could be set up around the 7 km Belgian Grand Prix circuit to enable limited numbers to visit the race in accordance with COVID prevention measures.
No official word has been given on how fans will access and move around the venue.
Three of the top outfits in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS so far this year – Emil Frey Racing, Team WRT and Iron Lynx – are also included in the illustration by Guillaume Lopez.
Return to 4:30 p.m. Start-Finish Time
The provisional timetable for the event includes a return to the 4:30 p.m. race start and finish time most recently seen in 2019.
Last year’s edition got underway at 3:30 p.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m. owing to the mid-race transition out of Central European Summer Time.
The first practice session this year will take place at 10:50 a.m. on Thursday, July 29. Pre-Qualifying practice is booked for 3:45 p.m. that afternoon. Thursday evening’s schedule consists of qualifying at 8:50 p.m, followed by night practice.
Friday’s track action is headlined by Super Pole for the top 20 cars in qualifying. This will start at the later-than-usual time of 8:30 p.m., factoring in the addition of the 60-minute Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race involving real-world drivers. All times are CEST.
GT4 European Series, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, TC France, Clio Cup Europe and TCR Europe form the support package to the main race, which counts towards both GTWC Europe Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.