Connect with us

Intercontinental GT Challenge

ST Racing Spa Debut “A Long Time Coming”

Samantha Tan looks ahead to team’s long-awaited 24 Hours of Spa debut…

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

ST Racing’s debut outing in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa has been a “long time coming” according to team co-owner Samantha Tan, who described it as a “surreal experience.”

The Canadian squad, which regularly competes in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, is set for its first participation in the Belgian endurance classic with a lone BMW M4 GT3.

The team’s lineup consists of Tan alongside team regulars Nick Wittmer and Harry Gottsacker, with Dutch newcomer Maxime Oosten a late addition.

Tan, who debuted the new M4 GT3 in the Hankook 24H Dubai in January, says the Spa effort is the culmination of a journey that began nearly ten years ago.

She began racing in 2014 with a Kia Forte in what was then the Pirelli World Challenge TCA class.

Since then, she has won races and championships in GT4 machinery before stepping up to GT3 racing this year in both GTWC America and the 24H Series.

“It’s still kind of a surreal experience for me,” Tan told Sportscar365 about her Spa debut. “I’m still trying to soak it all in. It doesn’t really feel real to me right now.

“It did a little bit when they played a super cool video at the drivers’ briefing, which said ‘welcome to the biggest GT3 race in the world.’

“It all kind of sank in at that point. It’s been a long time coming.

“I actually started in SRO America in 2015 in the TCA class, slowly made my way up through the years, ran in GT4 for four years and now it’s finally my first year in GT3.

“To be here with my own team is a dream come true. It’s an absolute honor to be here competing against some of the best teams and drivers in the world.

“We’re honestly just so excited to be here.”

ST Racing’s Spa entry receives support from Bas Koeten Racing. The Dutch squad are similarly regulars in the 24H Series.

In additional to using one of its haulers, Tan explained that her outfit has also received technical and operational support from Koeten’s team.

“We actually met Bas Koeten at Creventic and got along super well,” Tan noted. “We were actually sharing garages. They now take care of our European car.

“We have two M4 GT3s, one of them stays in America and one of them stays here and they take care of it and transport it.

“They are here partnered with us for this season and it’s been great working together.”

The majority of the crew on the No. 28 BMW consists of ST Racing’s own team, further supported by a small number of personnel from Koeten.

Oosten, the team’s fourth driver at Spa, has a current link with Koeten through his efforts in the BMW M2 Racing Cup Benelux, of which he is the championship leader.

“He kind of came in last minute,” Tan said. “We went and did an M2 test here at Spa, because none of our drivers have actually driven this track before.

“That is where we met Maxime for the first time and he was great.

“It all worked out, he’s here with us this weekend and we are very happy to have him.”

Tan Hopeful of Further 24H Series, GTWC America Outings

Tan hinted that the team could continue to compete in races in both the 24H Series and GTWC America post-Spa.

The team notably took the M4 GT3’s first overall victory when it won the Hankook 12H Mugello in March.

Tan told Sportscar365 that she has plans in place to contest the next round at Barcelona.

Additionally, there are hopes to be present at more races in the U.S., but she admitted the campaign has been derailed by supply chain issues following a multi-car crash during the first race of the weekend at Virginia International Raceway last month.

“Literally in the first ten minutes, somebody hit me from behind because there was a big check-up in front and I guess they did not see me.

“So I got hit once, spun, and then I got hit again in the same spot at 200 kilometers per hour.”

The scarcity of parts forced the team to miss the following round of Watkins Glen, while Round 5 still remains a question mark.

“We are going to try to make it to Road America, but again, it’s really just dependent on the parts. It’s not that the car is not repairable,” she said.

Tan said that her team is also hopeful of competing at the Indianapolis 8 Hour in October.

“We’re hoping to run it,” she said. “We actually came second in 2020 and lost first by six seconds, so we definitely have a bit of determination to come back in it.

“So hopefully we will be competing in the Indy 8 Hour.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in Intercontinental GT Challenge