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2024 Spa Classic
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Three seasons in one day
During the 12th edition of the Spa Classic, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps certainly lived up to its legendary reputation. The universally loved track in the Belgian Ardennes treated spectators and participants to at least three seasons in one day this year. On the first day, the rain was unrelenting to the point that the evening program had to be cancelled but as the weekend progressed the conditions improved and we even had some sunshine. Braving the weather were over 25,000 spectators as were the drivers of the 400 historic racing cars that took to the track during the weekend. As one of the flagship events staged by Peter Auto, the 2024 Spa Classic attracted capacity grids of sports cars and tin-top racers that originally competed between the 1950s and 2000s. In addition to the races, there also was a demonstration celebrating 55 years of the Porsche 917. As part of these runs, Philippe Siffert Jr. drove the very Porsche 917/10 that his late father raced in period.
Our photographers also soldiered on through the fall, spring and summer weather that Spa presented to us this year. The result is a class-by-class 200-shot gallery and the following report.

Racing into the night
One of the most challenging races of the weekend is for the Sixties' Endurance, scheduled to run through the sunset on Saturday evening. Free practice was completed without issue but qualifying on Friday evening was cancelled due to the inclement conditions. So the grid was set using the results from free practice. This meant that Philip Kadoorie and Seb Perez started on pole position with the AC Shelby Cobra they shared. Marcus von Oyenhausen had been second fastest with a Jaguar E-Type, well ahead of Jonathan Mitchell in another E-Type.
The 53-strong grid lined up for the race in dry conditions although there was no actual sunset on the cards. Local hero Christophe van Riet grabbed the early lead in his Cobra but eventually, it was Mitchell with his E-Type who emerged on top. His closest challenger turned out to be Erwin France in his Equipe Europe-prepared Shelby Cobra Daytona. He worked his way up from the fourth row to finish second overall. Behind him, Nikolaus Ditting claimed the final podium position from 15th. The popular GT2 category was won by Andrew Smith and Oliver Bryant, who beat five Lotus Elan 26Rs in their Porsche 904/6.

Touring Cars
With the addition of the newly created Classic Touring Challenge for pre-1966 touring cars, the Peter Auto events now have two grids dedicated to tin-top racers. The later Heritage Touring Cup cars traditionally take centre stage at the Spa Classic as a tribute to the period the Spa 24 Hours was run for touring cars. For this occasion, there is always an additional night race, which was scheduled to run into the early hours of Sunday morning due to the packed timetable. Both races were dominated by Yves Scemama in his Ford Capri RS 3100. On Sunday afternoon, it was an all-Equipe Europe podium with Scemama joined on the podium by Armand Mille in second and Guillaume Mahe in third.
Earlier on Sunday, the one-hour Classic Touring Challenge was run. With practice cancelled on Friday, the entrants had just a single qualifying session to get acquainted with the track. Fastest of all qualifying was German ace Frank Stippler in an Alfa Romeo GTA but he had to line in second as the grid was set using the aggregate of the times set by both entered drivers. As a result, Max and Andrew Banks were on pole position with their GTA. In the race, the two Alfa Romeo specialists were not challenged and crossed the line a minute ahead of the GTA shared by Lukas Halusa and Alex Ames.

Classic Endurance Racing
The 2024 Spa Classic featured a bumper grid for the Classic Endurance Racing 1. It was not just a strength in numbers but also in quality with a choice of Chevrons, Lolas, Porsche 911 RSRs joined by a Ferrari 312 P, Porsche 908/03 and the ex-Jo Bonnier McLaren M6B. It was the five-litre engined McLaren that proved fastest of all, with CTC winners Max and Andrew Banks behind the wheel. In the race, Halusa and Ames grabbed an early lead with their Ferrari 512 M but they slipped down the order in the second half of the race. Following the pit stops, the Lola T70 shared by Olivier Hart emerged in the lead and went on to score the victory. The two Banks brothers finished second and Armand Mille crossed the line in third with his T70.
On Sunday afternoon, the slightly more modern CER2 cars were out for their one-hour race. Qualifying had been held in damp conditions, which resulted in a grid that was somewhat out of order. The heavier GT cars found more grip with Eric Qvick snatching pole in his BMW 320i Turbo ahead of Sebastian Glaser in his Warsteiner liveried BMW M1 Procar. Almost immediately after the start, it was business as usual with Yves Scemama claiming the lead in his three-litre engined TOJ. Sadly, issues with his brakes prompted the Swiss racer to retire. Taking the lead in the penultimate lap was Tony Sinclair in his Lola T292. Although he crossed the line in first, a track limits infringement penalty meant that the victory went to Stéphane Nguyen with his slightly later Lola T298.

Endurance Racing Legends expanded
Another recent addition to the Peter Auto roster is the Endurance Racing Legends for 1990s and 2000s sports cars and GTs. The entry for the 2024 Spa Classic was such that the field was split for the occasion with ERL1 reserved for prototypes and GT1 cars and ERL2 made up solely of GT2 machinery.
The ERL1 qualifying sessions were both run in damp conditions but it was nevertheless a prototype that came out on top; the Dome S101 shared by Alex Müller and Ivan Vercoutere. The freshly restored LMP900 racer also scored a popular victory in the first of two 40-minute races. In the second, it was the Judd V10-engined Courage C60 of David and Olivier Hart that grabbed the win.
For the ERL2 group, a day and night race was on the roster. Unfortunately, night qualifying was scratched on Friday creating quite a challenge for the second race. In the first, Philip Kadoorie dominated from pole position in the ex-Team Modena Ferrari F430 GTC. He was also in the lead in the second race, which was sadly red-flagged after five laps due to a sudden downpour.

Final thoughts
The 12th annual Spa Classic certainly had everything that can be expected from a classic car race meeting at Spa-Francorchamps. The challenging weather definitely did not dampen the spirits as the spectators were treated to non-stop racing with some of the greatest competition cars from the last seven decades out on track. The Peter Auto grids will back in action again at the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or and to support the Spa 24 Hours at the end of the month. Until then, just sit back and enjoy the spectacular 200-shot gallery.

Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com