5 Magic Spa WEC Moments
There have been many incredible memories from WEC races at Spa, here are the top five....
The TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa this week-end will continue an exceptional heritage of WEC racing at the stunning Belgian venue.
There are dozens of memorable races, battles and incidents since the first WEC race in 2012 which was won by Audi Sport’s trio of Loic Duval, Marc Gene and Romain Dumas.
Here, we chose five of the most striking standouts from the ten races that have gone before at one of the worlds greatest driving challenges.
2014 – Porsche 919 Hybrid’s Historic First Pole
It was truly the beginning of something big when Marc Lieb set his 2m01.198s lap around Spa in May 2014.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid was in only its second ever race and already its massive potential was being shown.
The lap was done in dramatic circumstances as Lieb, in the No.14 machine, and his rivals at Audi and Toyota had to contend with a rapidly drying track.
But the German, on slick tyres, delivered when it mattered to head home the field and go down in history as the first man to claim a pole position in a car that went on to claim so many incredible race and title wins.
2015 – Lieb v Tréluyer: The Epic Battle
A year later witnessed one of the greatest ever Hybrid LMP1 on-track battles as
It was a no-hold bars fight between two drivers at the top of their game and at one of the greatest circuits in the world.
Audi’s Benoit Tréluyer took over from Andre Lotterer during a planned pit stop, which allowed Marc Lieb to regain the lead after the No.18 Porsche has started third in a 1-2-3 Porsche 919 qualifying lock-out.
Tréluyer then re-caught Lieb and passed him around the outside of the La Source hairpin, holding the lead until Lieb reclaimed it by using the famed hybrid boost system to overtake on the Kemmel straight.
Tréluyer then managed to take over the lead again when he got ahead of Lieb around the outside of the quick chicane. This was despite the two touching at the ultra-quick Pouhon corner a few laps before.
It was a thrilling battle that commentators shouting into their microphones and pit crews jumping up and down with excitement in one of the tensest wheel-to-wheel endurance battles ever seen at Spa.
2016 – Di Grassi (Grassy?) and Buemi Fight
The headline writers had a red letter day in 2016 when Audi ace Lucas di Grassi used the Blanchimont grass at around 180mph to make his move on Toyota nemesis Sebastien Buemi.
It was a move of breath-taking courage that was half genius and half lunatic!
Audible gasps were heard in the media centre as the Brazilian got a run on the No.8 Toyota out of the righthand Stavelot corner and ducked to the inside at the flat-out kinked left of Blanchimont.
It was a move that di Grassi was rightly prod of, describing it a few years later as “really committed and really nice to pull off.”
But Buemi got his revenge a few a few moments later when he was able to outbrake di Grassi into the Bus Stop chicane.
It was a fleeting moment of remarkable commitment from the Audi driver who for a few seconds was driving the fastest lawnmower in the world!
2019 – Dancing on Ice….and Snow!
Spa is known for its inconsistent weather. The WEC has enjoyed several beautifully sunny spring weekends during the traditional early May date. But 2019 certainly wasn’t one of them!
Fog, rain, sleet, snow and freezing temperatures welcomed the paddock in 2019 in conditions that even hardened Spa fans thought were extreme.
With a full 33 car grid there were fears that the tyre temperatures would take too long to come in and periods of safety car and possible red flag situations would spoil the event. Remarkably though there was only one classified retirement in the whole six hours which underlined the quality of driving standards and skill throughout the entire field.
2021 – King Kevin Dominates LMGTE Pro
A masterclass. A crushing victory. Brilliance!
Those were all phrases that could be used to describe Kevin Estre’s brilliant weekend in Spa just 12 months ago.
The French GT ace was on fire in his Porsche GT Team 911 RSR which he shared for the first time with new teammate Neel Jani.
While all the headlines were taken with the arrival of the new Hypercar class, Estre sensational form in the No.92 car.
He waltzed to pole position by a huge 1.1 seconds and then simply fled the pack in the race, opening up a gap of 26-seconds to the chasing Alessandro Pier Guidi in the first two stints.
This paved the way for a crushing victory by 34-seconds, something which rarely happens in the ultra-competitive LMGTE Pro category.