Seven Aston Martin Vantage GT3s entered for strongest ever assault on 24 Hours of Spa

Aston Martin Vantage GT3
Aston Martin Vantage GT3

Aston Martin’s new Vantage GT3 will make its Crowdstrike 24 Hours of Spa debut this weekend as the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand bids to win the race outright for the first time since the event became a GT3-only race in 2012.

No less than seven Vantages – the largest ever contingent of Aston Martin GT3s – are entered by two of Aston Martin’s new-for-2024 partner teams, ComToYou Racing and Walkenhorst Motorsport. This represents more than 10% of the giant 67-strong entry, which comprises nine competing global manufacturers and five integral classes.

Both teams head into the 100th anniversary of an event Aston Martin last won in 1948 (when the race was run to different rules), aiming to crown a landmark month that has produced maiden victories for the new Vantage GT3 in North America, Asia and Europe. The Crowdstrike 24 Hours of Spa represents the last opportunity to bring home some silverware in a blue riband ‘twice around-the-clock’ race in 2024, with Vantage having shone brightly in the Rolex 24 Hours, Nürburgring 24 Hours and the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Both teams’ bids are boosted by the presence of an all-works driver line-up with their single Pro class entries. ComToYou Racing’s #7 will bring a familiar feel for Aston Martin Racing fans the world over as the ‘Dane Train’ duo of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen are reunited alongside Mattia Drudi (ITA). Between them, Thiim and Sørensen boast five FIA GT World Endurance Championship titles and two 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins. Neither has ever won the Spa classic however, though their team-mate Drudi, the reigning Fanatec GT World Europe Sprint Cup champion, finished second overall in 2020.

Walkenhorst Motorsport’s #34 entry boasts an equally exciting line-up with David Pittard (GBR), the 2023 Nürburgring 24 Hours winner, being joined by Henrique Chaves, the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner, and Ross Gunn (GBR) hot off the podium from recording the new Vantage GT3’s first victory in IMSA.

Between them, the six works Aston Martin drivers represent the strongest-ever assault on the race’s Pro class by the brand. Moreover, it comes into the event with Vantage in a rich vein of form having clinched victories in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the SUPER GT Series, the Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie and Road to Le Mans event in the past four weekends.

ComToYou Racing has entered three further Vantage GT3s, which all share the mechanical architecture of the new Vantage road car unveiled earlier this year at Silverstone, and which are built around Aston Martin’s proven bonded aluminium chassis and powered by its fearsome twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine.

The Belgian team’s #11 Bronze Cup entry will be driven by John de Wilde (BEL), Kobe Pauwels (BEL), Job van Uitert (NED) and Dante Rappange (NED). It also has two Silver Cup entries; the #12 will be raced by Nicolas Baert (BEL), Esteban Muth (BEL), Sebastian Øgaard (DEN) and Erwan Bastard (FRA), while the #21 will feature Charles Clark (GBR), Sam Dejonghe (BEL), Matisse Lismont (BEL) and Xavier Maassen (NED).

Walkenhorst Motorsport brings a strong Silver Cup line-up to its fleet of Vantage GT3s, with Romain Leroux (FRA), Lorcan Hanafin (GBR) and Maxime Robin (FRA) in the #35. Meanwhile the team’s Bronze Cup #36 car will also be a competitive force with drivers Tim Creswick (GBR), Mex Jansen (NED) and Ben Green (GBR).

Aston Martin has an even larger share of the GT4 European Series supporting double-header, with no less than nine Vantage GT4s entered by five partner teams including Forsetti Motorsport, GPA Racing, Mirage Racing, Racing Sprirt of Léman and PROsport Racing.

Adam Carter, Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The Crowdstrike 24 Hours of Spa represents perhaps the purest form of GT endurance racing, given that it is open only to GT3 cars. It makes it a unique and difficult, and therefore perfect, test of our new Vantage GT3. The car has performed well through June, winning in three continents including North America, and it shone brightly in the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago. Misfortune has played its part in all the major 24 hours races so far this season, so let’s hope we’ve had our fill of that ahead of Spa. Sixty-seven entries from nine manufacturers tells its own story about what this race means to the sport on its 100th anniversary, and it would be a proud claim to say that new Vantage had excelled in this event.”

Aston Martin recorded its best finish in the GT3 era in 2021, when Gunn, Sørensen and Thiim secured a competitive third place overall, having been in the lead fight for much of the race. Prior to that, the best GT finish for an Aston Martin was also third, in 2008, with the Gigawave DBR9. Aston Martin last won the event in 1948, when it was run to different regulations, with a 2-Litre Sports DB1 driven by Britons St John Horsfall and Leslie Johnson.

The event begins in earnest on Thursday, 27 June, with a 90-minute free practice session at 1120 CET. Qualifying takes place from 2035 CET the same day, while a special Superpole session will take place at 1545-1615 CET on Friday. The race begins at 1630 CET on Saturday 29 June.

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