The CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa takes place on the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. The country is widely known for its sweet treats and is largely celebrated for this famous racetrack that opened in 1921. SRO Motorsports America makes the endurance race home this month, June 29-July 2, with six United States-based entries.
The 4.33-mile, 19-turn circuit hosts multiple high-profile racing events, but the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa is the longest running with the first green flag flying in 1924, due to a few years of exception, 2023 is the 75thrunning. Just shy of a centennial, there are a number of things to check out for this year’s race.
Historic events mark the story and landscape of Spa-Franchorchamps. The original circuit was built in 1920 to host the La Meuse Cup race, which was interrupted by World War I.
Ultimately, a course that connected three Belgium towns was created by combining pre-existing roads. These countryside roads were and still are used today as public roads, meaning houses, trees, electric poles, fields and other potential obstacles were directly off the track.
In 1928 tarmac was laid down to avoid stones being thrown over the course. The circuit was already known for being fast and with a smooth surface now intact it was the first step in making Spa legendary. The next step came in 1939 with the addition of Raidillon. Also known as Eau Rouge-Raidillion, the sharp right-hand features a 17% incline of 134 feet for drivers to attack. Over the next few decades, additional upgrades have been made to the circuit to ensure the safety of the drivers better.
New Title Sponsor
CrowdStrike, the American-based cyber security company, debuts as the new title sponsor for the 24 Hours of Spa. Motorsports fans may be familiar with the company as it graces the side of three SRO Motorsports America GT cars in the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS series, GT America powered by AWS, and Pirelli GT4 America. CrowdStrike also is a major sponsor of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. CEO George Kurtz is the man behind the helmet as a driver of the GT3 entries for CrowdStrike. As a 24 Hours of Spa winner, he’s looking to start a string of success stories running the No. 4 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 along with longtime teammate Colin Braun and in the PRO-AM Class.
You’ll only find GT3 cars in this twice-around-the-clock endurance classic. In true sports car fashion, there are multiple classes chasing individual class wins as an overall win is not recognized though very much possible. The class system includes PRO and PRO-AM as well as a Gold, Silver and Bronze classification. These ratings are dictated by the driver rating and/ or combination of driver ratings assigned in each entry. This allows drivers and teams to compete in a class of their peers while Balance of Performance (BoP) takes care of any outstanding imbalances in the cars. Each class still has to complete the full 24-hour duration set for the race and the first one to the checkered flag wins. For a full entry list click here.
A record-breaking 72 GT3 cars make up the grid for the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. If you have a favorite manufacturer, you’ll most likely see it on the grid. The likes of Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Lamborghini, McLaren, Audi, BMW, Aston Martin and Ferrari all have entries set to compete. Legendary names also grace the entry list including Valentino Rossi, Andrea Caldarelli, Raffaele Marciello, and Daniel Juncadella. Fans may notice familiar faces from America including CrowdStrike CEO and President George Kurtz, Colin Braun, Samantha Tan, and James Sofronas.
How to Watch
There are a few resources every race fan needs to follow along with an endurance race. First things first, a calendar. Click here for a timetable of the events to take place leading up to the green flag Saturday, July 1 at 4:40 p.m. local time. Once the session goes green you’ll want a few screens up to follow along. Want to watch the race live? Click here for the live stream available on the YouTube GT World page. Need something a bit quieter? Follow the race with live timing here. Use the entry list to know who is racing who during the race. The entry list can be found again here. Pit stops are a must in an endurance race. Click here to watch pit cycles and driver changes.
Join the Community
Want to chat with like-minded race fans? Or do you want to learn more from a collective of race fans? Join SRO Motorsports on Twitch. Ash Vandelay brings a special rendition of the SRO: Pit Pass to the streaming service. She’ll follow all the festivities leading up to the race including the parade, autograph sessions and night practice. On YouTube the GT World page will live stream all on-track sessions including the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.