Ardennes Around the Clock: The iRacing Spa 24 Hours 2023

iRacing Spa 24 Hour Special Event Logo.jpg
Another endurance classic awaits sim racers as part of the iRacing Special Events calendar: This weekend, the Spa 24 Hours are scheduled to challenge racers twice around the clock at the legendary Belgian circuit. Here are the key facts for the event taking place from July 21st to 23rd.

Image credit: iRacing

24-hour races are always a special challenge, and Spa-Francorchamps has its special quirks that make it a bit different from other events of this kind. The 7-kilometer layout has a reputation for being a true driver's track, featuring the iconic Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination as well as fast sweepers like Pouhon (officially called Double Gauche today), Blanchimont or Stavelot that pilots need to master. iRacing's layout does not differ from the current-day one, but the circuit's surroundings are based on an older version.

The Track​

Spa is one of the most popular tracks in sim racing, and coupled with the circuit's rich history, it hardly needs an introduction. Located in the Ardennes, the layout created in 1979 - after the old, fearsome 14-kilometer high speed track was unsurprisingly deemed unsafe - follows the terrain and features exciting elevation changes as a result, most notably at Eau Rouge and Raidillon.

Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours Layout racingcircuits.info.png

Spa-Francorchamps in its 24-hour race configuration, using both pit lanes available at the track. Image credit: racingcircuits.info

As the grids tend to be quite large for the event (70 cars took the green flag in the real 2023 event), Spa's pit lane arrangements for the 24 Hours are unusual: The circuit has two pit lanes including garages available, one being the main pit building at the start/finish straight as used by Formula One and others, plus the old pit lane after La Source where the original start/finish area used to be. Both pit lanes are combined for the event, meaning pit stops take much longer than elswhere due to the long time cars have to spent cruising with the pit limiter on from entry to exit.

Another unusual feature is related to this: The timing line is located at the modern start/finish straight before La Source, which is where the checkered flag will also fly at the end - the start, however, is taken on the straight before Eau Rouge and Raidillon.

The Cars​

Unlike the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the Spa Special Event is a GT3-exclusive race, just like its real counterpart. As a result, the in-class selection of cars available is much larger, as a total of nine GT3 machines are eligible to compete. Grids are limited to 50 entries per split, with two to 16 drivers per car allowed.

  • Audi R8 LMS GT3
  • BMW M4 GT3
  • Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020
  • Ford GT GT3
  • Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO
  • McLaren MP4-12C GT3
  • Mercedes-AMG GT3 2020
  • Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

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About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Umm why is this event in iRacing and not ACC? I thought ACC is the BP/GTWC game and best suited for such an event? Or is it not sanctioned by SRO?
 
Umm why is this event in iRacing and not ACC? I thought ACC is the BP/GTWC game and best suited for such an event? Or is it not sanctioned by SRO?
As another commenter mentioned it's not SRO sanctioned, just unlike the ACO with the Le Mans 24 the SRO don't seem to have done anything to block iRacing from hosting it as a special event.

WHich honestly is good as these open special events I've found to be a nice way to experence some of these major events of endurance racing
 
I competed in this event with my eldest son and a friend and we came home in 23rd after having a big off and 20 minutes of repairs in the first quarter and being back in 43rd when we came out of the pits. It's now Wednesday morning and I'm still knackered :). My only grip with the iRacing server was the constant lag spikes were were all having but apart from that it was good fun.
 

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