Aston Martin wins dramatic centenary 24 Hours of Spa

Winning no 7 Aston followed by no 51 Ferrari - Photo by Melissa Warren

Comtoyou Racing has won the 2024 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa for Aston Martin, ending a 76 year wait for victory and securing a place in history by triumphing at an unforgettable centenary event. In a dramatic final hour victory slipped away from the AF Corse Ferrari #51 due to drama in the pit lane.

The triumphant squad of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Mattia Drudi flew the Belgian flag and post race Nicki Thiim said: “Finally! First off, I want to say sorry to those boys there [the #51 Ferrari drivers]. We have a long history with them, and I really feel for them, but for me it’s about time. I’ve finished P3 two times here and this year we reunited the Dane Train and added the Italian Stallion, and this is the result. I’m just happy and proud. It was a chaotic race, but we came through it and I’m so happy.”

The Aston Martin win is all the more remarkable by the fact that the winning Vantage AMR GT3 was making its debut at the biggest GT race in the world, while the Belgian Comtoyou squad did not begin working with the British brand until earlier this year.

Starting from 14th, the #7 Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin crew moved up the order during the opening phase and safely navigated a night of heavy rain showers that restricted green flag running during the hours of darkness.

By mid-morning, the leading contenders were the #998 ROWE Racing BMW, the #7 Aston Martin and the #51 AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari. As midday approached, they were separated by less than a second and running to a similar pit stop schedule. A little after 12:30 the BMW and the Aston Martin stopped at the same time, the ROWE machine just beating the Comtoyou car out. The BMW got slightly loose as the cars crested the hill to rejoin the circuit, perhaps costing it and the pursuing Aston Martin a fraction of time.

The Ferrari had stopped one lap earlier and was at full speed through Raidillon. Powering on to the Kemmel Straight, Alessandro Pier Guidi was able to blast past both the BMW and the Aston Martin before the cars had reached Les Combes. Just a few corners later, the #7 Vantage had also overhauled the BMW. Freshly installed at the wheel, Thiim wasted no time in making his presence felt by muscling past Max Hesse and into second spot.

Over the next few hours, the Ferrari built a 10-second gap at the head of the field and seemed on course for victory when it pulled in for its final stop with 50 minutes left. But in a moment of incredible misfortune for the Italian squad, it arrived at the pit entrance to find a stricken Lamborghini blocking its way.

As the moments slipped by, a likely victory slipped away. The Lamborghini was eventually removed and the Ferrari completed its stop, but the lost time would prove decisive. When the Aston Martin undertook its final service a few minutes later, it returned to the track at the head of the field. Drudi held an advantage of 25 seconds and did not put a foot wrong over the final 45-minutes. When the chequered flag fell, the celebrations could begin in the Comtoyou Racing garage.

There was more late drama to come. The #998 BMW had been on course for runner-up but was set to overrun the maximum stint length by approximately 15 seconds. Facing a penalty, the car ran through the pit lane on the final lap, dropping it to fifth in the final classification. The #51 Ferrari fought back to secure a runner-up finish, Pier Guidi delivering a blistering final stint on a day of bitter disappointment. The centenary edition will rightly be remembered for an Aston Martin victory, but it will also go down as a winning performance from the Ferrari.

The #32 Team WRT BMW completed the podium. While unable to fight for the win, the crew of Dries Vanthoor, Charles Weerts and Sheldon van der Linde were ultimately satisfied to have secured a top three result, particularly as they crossed the line in fourth. The #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport Aston Martin finished ahead but received a penalty for contact with the #51 Ferrari during the final hour and was classified in P4. The pole-sitting #163 Grasser Racing Lamborghini completed the top five, fighting back from early issues to earn the Italian brand its best-ever finish at the event. Marco Mapelli earned the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap (2m16.105s) in the process.

While there was late drama in the fight for the outright win, the class victories were relatively secure during the final phase of the race. Gold Cup honours went to the #777 AlManar Racing by GetSpeed crew of Al Faisal Al Zubair, Mikaël Grenier, Dominik Baumann and Philip Ellis. Fast throughout the event, they delivered a clean performance which was rewarded with seventh overall.

Al Faisal Al Zubair said: “It was a great race today. The weather definitely made it unpredictable and difficult to decide what was right, but at the end of it I think it made it even better for us. I am very happy with the job all my teammates did and I’m delighted to bring this win home.”

The podium also featured the #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi and the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG.

The Bronze Cup winner also finished among the overall top 10. This class went to the #66 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi, which took victory by a comfortable margin. After emerging from the night with a clear advantage thanks to its crew of Andrey Mukovoz, Dylan Pereira, Max Hofer and Aleksey Nesov, the Audi remained competitive all the way to the finish, taking 10th overall.

Andrey Mukovoz said: “I am so proud of this result. This is only my second CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and the way the team and the car worked together was so important, especially when the Bronze grid is so competitive this year, with so many cars. We made it!”

This year’s Bronze Cup runner-up was the #52 AF Corse Ferrari, followed by the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini.

GetSpeed earned a second winner’s trophy by taking the Silver Cup class with its #3 Mercedes-AMG, which delivered a similar performance to the sister AlManar Racing car. Driven by Yannick Mettler, James Kell, Anthony Bartone and Aaron Walker, it rose to the top of its classification during the morning and ran cleanly thereafter. There was late pressure from the #10 Boutsen VDS Mercedes-AMG, but when this car retired the #3 crew could begin to relax.

Yannick Mettler said: “There was a lot of up and down to this race and it was very chaotic, but we had really good pace in the wet and took our opportunities to get into the mix. Somehow, we stayed there and kept things consistent. Ultimately, I don’t think we were the quickest car over a lap, but we had the consistency and managed the conditions and that’s what put us out front. Nobody had a perfect race, but we kept our mistakes small and made no big ones. I’m really happy.”

The #3 Mercedes-AMG was followed home by the #55 Dinamic GT Porsche and the #57 Windward Racing Mercedes-AMG.

On a day when its Pro cars faced disappointment, Mercedes-AMG celebrated a hat-trick of class victories. The third came courtesy of the #4 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley entry, driven by George Kurtz, Ian James, Nicky Catsburg and Colin Braun.

George Kurtz said: “This result is so special. When you’re the title sponsor and you manage to win the centenary race, that’s just so special. As always, thanks have to go out to the entire team. The drivers, they had my back and did a fantastic job; Riley did a great job giving us a fantastic car and we managed to stay out of trouble. It was a bit of a war of attrition and the name of the game for us was to get through it and survive to see where we would wind up. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”

The #4 Mercedes crew were locked in battle with Team RJN until the #100 McLaren suffered power issues during the early afternoon, ultimately slipping well behind the CrowdStrike by Riley crew and the #16 Uno Racing by Landgraf Mercedes-AMG. The Chinese team took runner-up, capping a fine comeback drive after being caught up in an early incident, with RJN in third.

With celebrations throughout race week, the centenary edition was a thrilling race and a fantastic way to mark 100 years of racing at the legendary Ardennes track.

Race results: of the 66 starters the high attrition race meant 21 cars were not classified

POS    CAR # CLASS            DRIVERS       TEAM  CAR    BEST TIME     LAPS   GAP

1          7          Pro Cup           Mattia Drudi,Nicki Thiim,Marco Sorensen      Comtoyou Racing       Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO         2:16.752          478     

2          51        Pro Cup           Alessio Rovera, Davide Rigon, Alesandro Pier Guidi            AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors          Ferrari 296 GT3          2:16.406          478      33.604

3          32        Pro Cup           Dries Vanthoor, Sheldon van der Linde, Charles Weerts      Team WRT      BMW M4 GT3           2:16.582          478      38.831

4          34        Pro Cup           David Pittard, Ross Gunn, Henrique Chaves Walkenhorst Motorsport            Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:17.183          478      47.815

5          163      Pro Cup           Franck Perera, Marco Mapelli, Jordan Pepper          GRT Grasser Racing Team            Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO 2     2:16.105          478      1:14.750

6          998      Pro Cup           Augusto Farfus, Daniel Harper MaxHesse    Rowe Racing  BMW M4 GT3            2:16.871          478      1:26.872

7          777      Gold Cup         Al Faisal Al Zubair, Dominik Baumann, Philip Ellis, Mikael Grenier AlManar Racing by GetSpeed  Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.402          478      1:45.090

8          92        Pro Cup           Mathieu Jaminet, Matt Campbell, Frederic Makowiecki        SSR Herberth            Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:17.037          478      1:45.904

9          96        Pro Cup           Julien Andlauer, Sven Müller, Patric Niederhauser    Rutronik Racing            Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:17.183          477      15.868

10        66        Bronze Cup     Andrey Mukovoz, Alexey Nesov, Dylan Pereira, Max Hofer Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:17.406          477      31.941

11        159      Pro Cup           Dean Macdonald, Benjamin Goethe, Tom Gamble   Garage 59       McLaren 720S GT3 EVO          2:16.918          477      1:01.347

12        99        Pro Cup           Christopher Haase, Alex Aka, Ricardo Feller  Tresor Attempto Racing        Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II   2:16.930          477      1:12.855

13        52        Bronze Cup     Louis Machiels, Jef Machiels, Andrea Bertolini, Tommaso Mosca    AF Corse            Ferrari 296 GT3          2:16.368          477      1:55.233

14        72        Bronze Cup     Gabriel Rindone, Mattia Michelotto, Patrick Kujala, Casper Stevenson             Barwell Motorsport      Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO 2     2:17.848          477      2:04.039

15        25        Gold Cup         Paul Evrard, Ugo De Wilde, Jim Pla, Gilles Magnus             Sainteloc Racing            Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:17.087          476      2.288

16        93        Bronze Cup     Eddie Cheever, Jonathan Hui, Lilou Wadoux, Chris Froggatt           SKY – Tempesta Racing        Ferrari 296 GT3          2:17.003          476      7.743

17        77        Gold Cup         Arjun Maini, Jusuf Owega, Michele Beretta   Haupt Racing Team    Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO           2:17.460          476      37.199

18        9          Pro Cup           Ulysse De Pauw, Thomas Drouet, Maximilian Götz Boutsen VDS  Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO           2:16.994          476      58.731

19        64        Pro Cup           Christopher Mies, Frederic Vervisch, Dennis Olsen Proton Competition     Ford Mustang GT3  2:17.493          475      13.323

20        11        Bronze Cup     Kobe Pauwels, John De Wilde, Dante Rappange, Job Van Uitert    Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:17.428          475      29.352

21        27        Bronze Cup     Oliver Millroy, Mark Radcliffe, Fran Rueda, Rob Bell             Optimum Motorsport       McLaren 720S GT3 EVO       2:17.634          475      57.787

22        80        Bronze Cup     Antares Au, Alexander Fach, Martin Rump, Alessio Picariello          Lionspeed X Herberth          Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:17.878          475      1:11.090

23        5          Bronze Cup     Sam Neary, Shaun Balfe, Ruben del Sarte, Ben Barnicoat   Optimum Motorsport       McLaren 720S GT3 EVO       2:16.413          475      1:28.597

24        46        Pro Cup           Raffaele Marciello, Maxime Martin, Valentino Rossi Team WRT      BMW M4 GT3     2:16.976          475      2:10.115

25        3          Silver Cup       Yannick Mettler, James Kell, Anthony Bartone, Aaron Walker          GetSpeed            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:18.430          474      1:02.952

26        23        Pro Cup           Jaxon Evans, Joel Eriksson, Thomas Preining          Phantom Global Racing            Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:16.900          473      6.789

27        55        Silver Cup       Jop Rappange, Axel Blom, Marius Nakken, Theo Nouet      Dinamic GT            Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:18.312          473      53.285

28        57        Silver Cup       Tanart Sathienthirakul, Daan Arrow, Colin Caresani Winward Racing            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.142          473      1:36.994

29        4          Pro-AM Cup    George KurtzIan James, Nicky Catsburg, Colin Braun         CrowdStrike by Riley    Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:19.240          472      5.397

30        88        Gold Cup         Leonardo Moncini, Lorenzo Patrese, Lorenzo Ferrari, Glenn van Berlo             Tresor Attempto Racing          Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:16.753          472      2:12.361

31        90        Silver Cup       Ezequiel Perez Companc, Alain Valente, Patrick Assenheimer, Karol Basz             Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.876          471      19.991

32        21        Silver Cup       Charles Clark, Matisse Lismont, Xavier Maassen, Sam Dejonghe   Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:17.645          470      1:35.985

33        991      Bronze Cup     Darren Leung, Pedro Ebrahim Carvalho, Toby Sowery, Connor de Phillippi             Century Motorsport     BMW M4 GT3 2:18.713          470      2:01.032

34        26        Silver Cup       Alban Varutti, Gilles StadsbaderIvan Klymenko, Marcus Paverud    Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:18.160          462      1:19.998

35        78        Bronze Cup     Till Bechtolsheimer, Antoine Doquin, Ricky Collard, Sandy Mitchell Barwell Motorsport       Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO 2     2:17.563          460      18.129

36        16        Pro-AM Cup    David PunRioKevin TseIndy Dontje   Uno Racing Team with Landgraf            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:18.417          457      26.960

37        19        Silver Cup       Mateo Llarena, Hugo Cook, Baptiste Moulin, Haytham Qarajouli     GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO 2     2:17.797          456      1:43.238

38        158      Bronze Cup     Mark Sansom, Christopher Salkeld, James Baldwin, Nicolai Kjaergaard             Garage 59       McLaren 720S GT3 EVO       2:17.410          454      1:57.828

39        188      Bronze Cup     Adam Smalley, Miguel Ramos, Louis Prette, Marvin Kirchhöfer       Garage 59            McLaren 720S GT3 EVO       2:17.418          451      44.629

40        10        Silver Cup       Aurelien Panis, Cesar Gazeau, Roee Meyuhas, Sebastien Baud  VDS            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.377          448      -1:03:15.887

41        100      Pro-AM Cup    Alex Buncombe, Joshua Caygill, Chris Buncombe, Jann Mardenborough   Team RJN     McLaren 720S GT3 EVO       2:17.342          445      1:58.351

42        60        Gold Cup         Frank Bird, Isa Al Khalifa, Martin Kodric, Lewis Williamson 2 Seas Motorsport            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:18.131          430      2:04.805

43        8          Bronze Cup     Nicolo Rosi, Niccolo Schiro, David Fumanelli, Daniele Di Amato      Kessel Racing Ferrari 296 GT3          2:17.988          366      -4:18:28.302

44        35        Silver Cup       Romain Leroux, Lorcan Hanafin, Maxime Robin       Walkenhorst Motorsport            Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:18.401          363      -4:35:16.838

45        74        Bronze Cup     John Hartshorne, Ben Tuck, Chandler Hull, Matthew Bell     Kessel Racing            Ferrari 296 GT3          2:17.344          347      -5:03:25.422

NC       333      Bronze Cup     Christian Hook, Felipe Fernandez Laser, Fabrizio Crestani, David Perel             Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 296 GT3          2:18.208          78        -20:21:14.127

NC       22        Pro Cup           Ayhancan Güven, Laurin Heinrich, Dorian Boccolacci          Schumacher CLRT            Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:16.493          89        -19:47:31.931

NC       992      Pro Cup           Kevin Estre, Patrick Pilet, Laurens Vanthoor HubAuto Racing         Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)    2:18.026          88        -19:45:39.838

NC       12        Silver Cup       Nicolas Baert, Sebastian Ögaard, Esteban Muth, Erwan Bastard    Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:18.155          79        -20:21:13.747

NC       911      Pro Cup           Alex Malykhin, Joel Sturm, Klaus Bachler     Pure Rxcing    Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)    2:17.447          306      -7:20:16.905

NC       30        Bronze Cup     Jens Klingmann, Ahmad Al Harthy, Sam de Haan, Calan Williams OQ by Oman Racing  BMW M4 GT3 2:17.438          294      -7:57:26.668

NC       2          Pro Cup           Luca Stolz, Jules Gounon, Fabian Schiller    M-AMG Team GetSpeed            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.155          283      -8:19:12.389

NC       130      Pro Cup           Frederik Vesti, Daniel Juncadella, Ralf Aron Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:17.494          276      -8:24:48.524

NC       28        Pro Cup           Simon Gachet, Jan Heylen, Dennis Lind       Haas RT          Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II 2:17.709          273      -8:34:52.131

NC       71        Pro Cup           David Vidales, Vincent Abril, Thomas Neubauer       AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 296 GT3          2:17.447          236      -10:26:22.078

NC       36        Bronze Cup     Tim Creswick, Bijoy Garg, Mex Jansen, Ben Green Walkenhorst Motorsport            Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 EVO           2:18.208          231      -10:58:38.783

NC       48        Pro Cup           Maro Engel, Daniel Morad, Lucas Auer         Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER            Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:16.562          222      -11:32:12.752

NC       111       Gold Cup         Arthur Rougier, Steven Palette, Romain Carton, Adam Eteki           CSA Racing            Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:17.556          174      -13:48:05.914

NC       91        Bronze Cup     Ralf Bohn, Alfred Renauer, Morris Schuring, Robert Renauer          Herberth Motorsport       Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:18.054          121      -17:59:08.608

NC       63        Pro Cup           Andrea Caldarelli, Matteo Cairoli, Mirko Bortolotti     Iron Lynx         Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO 2  2:16.758          120      -1:24:07.912

NC       888      Pro-AM Cup    Prince Jefri Ibrahim, Jordan Love, Alexander Sims, Martin Konrad Triple Eight JMR    Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO     2:18.087          114      -18:18:55.506

NC       61        Pro-AM Cup    Adrian D’Silva, Kerong Li, Earl Bamber, Brendon Leitch       EBM    Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)    2:18.612          76        -20:20:46.858

NC       54        Bronze Cup     Philipp Sager, Guilherme Moura de Olivera, Christopher Zöchling, Marvin Dienst Dinamic GT     Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:18.382          74        -20:13:03.835

NC       38        Pro-AM Cup    Olivier Bertels, Brad Schumacher, Armand Fumal, Julius Adomavicius       Haas RT       Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II       2:19.655          73        -20:28:31.880

NC       98        Pro Cup           Philipp Eng, Nick Yelloly, Marco Wittmann     Rowe Racing  BMW M4 GT3            2:17.611          71        -20:49:06.454

NC       97        Bronze Cup     Dustin Blattner, Zacharie Richard Robichon, Dennis Marschall, Loek Hartog             Rutronik Racing          Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)       2:19.221          18        -23:07:03.163 By Melissa Warren

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