Ant D’s Sensations of Spa
Find out who stood out for Anthony Davidson at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa last weekend....
WEC TV analyst and co-commentator Anthony Davidson selects his top drivers from each class after a thrilling, complex and action-packed TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.
“Even though on paper we had the same results with a Toyota 1-2 blitz, one Ferrari up there and one Porsche up there it looks like the same old 2023 result. But it was very different this time," said 2014 WEC champion, Davidson.
“I felt the way it played out and when you studied the times it was different and much closer than they were in Sebring or Portimao. So, for me, that was the big difference in this race, and that made it naturally more intriguing, interesting and exciting.
Hypercar – Mike Conway, Toyota Gazoo Racing
“I have to say that Mike Conway was exceptional all race. For me he is the clear standout in the Hypercar field. I would go as far to say it was a masterclass from him.
“He was absolutely faultless and he even braked at the same braking point as all of the Ferraris around him and all the other cars that had wet tyres into La Source, without locking up or sliding off.
“I thought that was incredible. An incredible judge of understanding of where the limitations would be and that shows remarkable natural ability.
“So many would have got it wrong. I was expecting plumes of white tyre smoke but it never came. He didn't take it too easy too, but he also didn't go over the limit and actually led the whole pack into the first braking zone without getting dominated by the cars around him.
“I actually assumed he was on wets! It was only when he got around to Eau Rouge that suddenly the penny dropped and I thought ‘nope, he's on slicks.’ It was a brilliant opening stint where he had to be very patient, and he was.
“Mike was thinking about the long game and then starting to push to get the energy into the tyres which brought the necessary heat.
“Then, after all of the full course yellows and safety car periods he had Buemi on his tail. Seb was excellent as well in getting through the pack from P36, but he obviously lucked in as well through the safety cars to close the gap to Mike.
“But the way Mike then got back into his stride and actually started to quite comfortably extend the gap on his teammate was pure class.”
I also thought James Calado was great in his stints too, especially the final one where he hunted down Frederic Makowiecki’s No.5 Porsche 963 Hypercar.
“I must also mention fellow slicks starter Renger van der Zande in the all-new Cadillac V-Series.R. He did a great job until that massive shunt at Eau Rouge.
“We were unsure what caused that at the time but we heard him afterwards discussing an issue heading in to Eau Rouge. Renger is an experienced pro who has a strong reputation from bringing cars home so it was such a shame that this conspired against him in that way.”
“Cadillac were strong again at Spa, so I think we can look forward to much more from our American friends as the season progresses.”
LMP2 – Tom Blomqvist, No.23 United Autosports
“The LMP2 race would have been more interesting without the safety cars. That’s because of the No.23 United Autosports car driven by Tom Blomqvist at the start, and while he did a brilliant job, the deficit of the silver driver (Josh Pierson) got completely eradicated after the second safety car.
“That was a real unfair scenario for No.23. Of course, in those tricky conditions, you would have arrived towards starting the race with your more experienced driver to keep it clean to survive. So, I understand the mentality behind starting the race with the experienced, higher categorised driver.
“But it really didn't pan out well for them because then they had to run Josh Pearson in amongst a sea of Platinum’s and golds under full racing conditions. That really went against them, as good as Josh is.
“Because of the conditions and combined with the fact that the fuel strategies and that they could change drivers under a safety car, or full course yellow, it all just stacked up against car 23.
“So, it was a bit of a shame as Tom, in particular, did a brilliant job as you'd expect. He was still very limited on mileage in the car as he didn’t get seat time in Sebring and missed Portimao. At one stage he was in among the Hypercar guys, which was pretty special.
“But I thought he really excelled and deserved a bit, as did the whole United team and it must have been a bitter sweet runners-up position for them in the end as they wanted the win, didn’t get it, but at least extend their points lead.
“The No.41 guys did a great stealthy job didn’t they. Louis Deletraz and Robert Kubica were flawless and the fact that Rui Andrade survived that mad first hour was a testament to how much he is improving as a consistent driver, so well done to those guys. For me, Tom Blomqvist was the star of the show.”
LMGTE Am – Lilou Wadoux, Richard Mille AF Corse
“It’s very hard to choose between Luis-Perez Companc and Lilou Wadoux because she was absolute dynamite once again.
“But I think I have to give driver of the day to Wadoux, just because it's great to see her excelling in this Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari LMGTE Am car.
“She wasn't at her best in LMP2, I think it's fair to say that. She didn't click with that car. But I can see now that she is completely in her element in GTs.
“I believe she's found a niche in WEC as a sports car driver now; that car, that category and the way it works for her, she's able to extract everything. She's feisty when she needs to be she does great overtakes, and I really enjoy watching her drive.
“It's very convincing that she's one of, if not the best silver driver in that field. To be the first female athlete in WEC to stand on the top step of the podium is a remarkable achievement. I think she, as well as the Iron Dame drivers, have really put WEC and females in motorsport on the map recently.”