TF Sport has reverted to one of its British GT Aston Martins after a heavy accident for the No. 97 Pro-Am class Vantage GT3 in practice for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Salih Yoluc was behind the wheel when the Oman Racing-badged car spun at the top of Raidillion and hit the left side barriers head-on during Thursday’s Free Practice session.
The team confirmed to Sportscar365 that the Turkish driver was uninjured in the crash.
TF Sport team principal Tom Ferrier confirmed that the damaged chassis is a write-off and that the team has scrambled one of its backup cars for the rest of the event.
The replacement Vantage was in action in last weekend’s British GT round at Spa, effectively saving the team the need to apply a new setup for the Belgian track.
Ferrier revealed that it was always the plan to keep the British GT parts cache in reserve for TF Sport’s third 24 Hours of Spa appearance.
“It was a small mistake at Eau Rouge with a big consequence, as it always is there,” he told Sportscar365.
“There was big front-end damage and we don’t want to risk anything. We’ve got the cars from British GT here so the crew are just trying to get it ready. We might be out in qualifying, but we’ve got to start from the pit lane anyway.
“We have to do night practice [starting at 9:40 p.m.], that’s the aim at the moment. But if it’s ready for qualifying [starting at 8 p.m.], then great.
“Even starting on pit lane, I don’t see it as a massive issue for a 24-hour race, to be honest. Last year Nicki [Thiim] started from last in last year’s race and was tenth after two hours.
“If we’re still going at the end, I think we’re in for a podium.”
The TF entry, which Yoluc is co-driving with Thiim, Charlie Eastwood and Ahmad Al-Harthy, set the best Pro-Am time and the sixth-fastest lap overall with its original chassis in FP1 before the accident.
New Mercedes-AMG Chassis for Strakka
The No. 43 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 is also sporting a new chassis after Christina Nielsen crashed the original chassis during Tuesday’s Bronze Driver Test.
Nielsen, who has been re-adjusted to FIA Bronze status exclusively for this weekend’s event, also exited the track in the same high-speed Eau Rouge/Raidillon sequence.
Strakka was given special dispensation from the race organizers to prepare the new Mercedes during Wednesday’s driver parade, while it appeared on-track for the first time in FP1, setting the fifth-best Pro-Am time.
Double IMSA WeatherTech GTD champion Nielsen is sharing the drive with Jack Hawksworth, David Fumanelli and Richard Heistand.