For a first attempt it was a master stroke by Fernando Alonso who just won the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps for his very first outing with Toyota along with Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi. Ford dominated in GT at this final rehearsal ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
34 cars took the start after forfeit was confirmed for DragonSpeed's #10 BR Engineering BR1 on the heels of a incident yesterday during qualifying. The two Ginetta G60-LT-P1–Mecachromes fielded by CEFC TRSM Racing in LMP1 did not take the start in keeping with a decision made by the team. The #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid was removed from the standings, despite securing pole position, for a reporting problem with its fuel flow meter
At the start, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid took the lead and held it for the duration. Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso claimed the top step on the podium after a masterful race. But they did have to contend with the sister car, the #7, shared by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, in the end finishing in second place after the safety car allowed it to give the lead car a run for its money. In third and fourth places were the two Rebellion R13s (#1 and #3), a car that only first hit the track a few months ago! The LMP1 lost one of its cars when SMP Racing's #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER had an incident five hours into the race.
The LMP2 class was slightly less suspenseful, G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA shared by Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Pizzitola took control of the race from the outset. The Russian team from the European Le Mans Series - participating to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans - reached the top step on the podium ahead of Jackie Chan DC Racing's #38 ORECA 07-Gibson and Signatech Alpine Matmut's #36 Alpine A470. The only Dallara P217-Gibson present, the #29 of Racing Team Nederland, made its mark by taking the lead early in the race before dealing with an alternator problem.
As expected, in LMGTE Pro the battle was fierce. The #66 Ford GT driven by Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson won the class thanks namely to the efforts of the French driver who overtook the #92 Porsche 911 RSR that finished second. In the final minutes of the race, AF Corse's #71 Ferrari 488 GTE snatched the last step on the podium from the longtime leader, the #91 Porsche 911. One hour into the race, the #67 Ford GT shared by Harry Tincknell ran into the tire wall at the Raidillon. The car was severely damaged, but the driver was unscathed. The incident caused the safety car to be deployed for 40 minutes!
A stunning finale in the LMGTE Am class with victory up for grabs between the two Aston Martin Vantages going into the last turn: the #98 driven by Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda (winner) and the #90 of TF Sport (second)…separated by tenths of a second after six hours of racing. Third place went to Clearwater Racing's #61 Ferrari 488 GTE.
In the end, 32 cars crossed the finish line at the 2018 Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The level of performance and reliability is a good sign ahead of the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16th and 17th (tickets), the second round of the 2018-2019 Super Season of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). Test Day will take place on Sunday, June 3rd.
PHOTO (Copyright - Pascal Saivet/MPS Agency): Fernando Alonso took part in the autograph session along with the other drivers at the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.