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Toyota Dominates at 6 Hours of Spa with 1-2 Finish



6 Hours of Spa wec 2023

The 6 Hours of Spa in the FIA World Endurance Championship was a thrilling and action-packed race that saw the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, and Mike Conway, emerge victorious. Despite a setback during qualifying, the #8 Toyota team of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa, managed to make their way up the field and secure second place.

6 Hours of Spa 2023

The trio of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway emerged victorious at the 6 Hours of Spa in the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid. This marks Toyota’s second 1-2 finish of the season, with the #8 Toyota coming in 16 seconds behind.

Despite a setback during qualifying when Brendon Hartley crashed, the #8 Toyota team of Sebastien Buemi, Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa began the race almost at the back of the pack. Nevertheless, they managed to make their way up the field and secure second place.

The 6 Hours of Spa began on a wet track, and the two Ferrari 499Ps, equipped with wet tires, took the lead from Mike Conway’s Toyota. However, this advantage was short-lived as a safety car period leveled the playing field and allowed the dry-shod Toyota to regain the lead once the race resumed. After the safety car period, Conway quickly regained the lead.

Following the safety car period, the #7 Toyota maintained its lead for the majority of the race, showcasing a dominant performance by the Japanese-German team. The Ferraris, which had overheated their wet tires on the increasingly dry track, pitted for slicks, but were unable to get them up to temperature in the cool conditions, causing them to fall a lap behind.

For the first two hours of the race, the #3 Cadillac sat in third place. However, with just over four hours remaining, Renger van der Zande was involved in a severe crash at Eau Rouge. The car bottomed out and as a result, van der Zande became a passenger while the vehicle hurtled towards the barriers on the left side of the track. Fortunately, he was able to walk away from the accident unscathed.

Later in the race, the #6 Porsche 963 was forced to retire due to a hybrid issue. The car came to a stop on the track and Laurens Vanthoor climbed out, confirming the end of the race for the Porsche.


With the #6 Porsche and the #3 Cadillac out of the race, the remaining contenders for third place were the two Ferraris, the #2 Cadillac, and the #5 Porsche. By this point, Sebastien Buemi had made his way into second place behind the sister #7 Toyota.

The battle for third place was eventually reduced to three cars, as the #50 Ferrari 499P driven by Antonio Fuoco was forced to retire. Fuoco, who had just taken over from teammate Miguel Molina, exited the pits with cold tires and as he accelerated down towards Eau Rouge, he experienced excessive wheelspin, causing the car to spin into the barriers on the left side of the track and retire from the race.

Just prior to Fuoco’s crash, the other three contenders for the podium from Ferrari, Porsche, and Cadillac had regained their position on the lead lap, as they were closing in on the Toyotas, and were further aided by strategic pit stops. The safety car that was deployed as a result of Fuoco’s crash allowed them to make up the rest of the lap and close the gap to the leading Toyotas, effectively bunched up the field.

Just as the safety car was deployed, both the remaining Ferrari, driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51, and the #2 Cadillac piloted by Alex Lynn, were preparing to pit. However, the pit lane entry was closed due to the safety car, leaving both cars needing to make an emergency pit stop for fuel. When the safety car period ended, they were required to make a full pit stop, causing them to fall a further minute and a half behind the leading Toyotas.

With the first two podium positions essentially secured, the focus shifted to the battle for the final spot on the podium. James Calado, who had taken over for Pier Guidi in the Ferrari, needed to close a 30-second gap to Fred Makowiecki in the #5 Porsche in order to secure third place. Calado had to push hard to catch up to Makowiecki.

And push he did. Calado was able to close the gap and catch Makowiecki on the final lap. On the last time through Les Combes, Calado passed Makowiecki and secured the final spot on the podium with a hard-fought third place finish.

Fred Makowiecki finished fourth in the #5 Porsche, sharing the car with Dane Cameron and Michael Christensen. Richard Westbrook rounded out the top five, bringing the #2 Cadillac home in fifth place.


The #38 JOTA Porsche 963, driven by Will Stevens, Antonio Felix da Costa and Yifei Ye, put in a fantastic performance, finishing in sixth place in its debut race.

In the LMP2 category, Louis Deletraz, Rui Andrade, and Robert Kubica secured the victory for WRT, after a closely contested battle with the #23 United Autosports team of Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis, and Josh Pierson.

Blomqvist had built a substantial lead in the first two hours, but this was erased during the safety car period for van der Zande’s crash. The #23 United Autosports crew also lost time to the victorious #41 WRT Oreca 07-Gibson squad as they pitted just before the pit lane closed, resulting in a free pit stop.

The two leading cars, the #41 WRT and the #23 United Autosports, continued to battle for the lead, with occasional interruptions from the #31 WRT, #34 Inter Europol, and #63 Prema. However, the #63 Prema received a significant penalty, a three-minute stop-go, late in the race for not following safety car procedures, taking them out of contention.

After the final safety car period to recover Fuoco’s crashed Ferrari, the two leading cars had to make a final pit stop for fuel, bringing them close to the #9 Prema of Andrea Caldarelli, who was in third place at the time.

Despite the pit stop, both Deletraz and Blomquist were able to maintain their positions and come out in the lead, with Deletraz in the WRT car emerging ahead of Blomquist in the United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson. Deletraz maintained this lead and crossed the finish line six seconds ahead of Blomquist.

In third place was Albert Costa in the #34 Inter Europol Oreca 07-Gibson, who passed Caldarelli in the final minutes of the race.


In the GTE-Am category, history was made as Lilou Wadoux became the first female driver to win a World Endurance Championship race. Together with her co-drivers Alessio Rovera and Luis Perez Companc, she triumphed in the #83 Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, crossing the finish line 18 seconds ahead of the #33 Corvette C8.R piloted by Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, and Nico Varrone.

Starting in fifth place, the Ferrari trio worked their way up the field and were in third place by the end of the first hour and in the lead by the end of the third hour. They held onto the lead for the remainder of the race, maintaining it at the safety car restarts and avoiding any incidents.

The Corvette, which started on wet tires, took the early lead due to Ben Keating’s ability to make the most of the wet conditions. As the track dried, the Corvette dropped down the field, but Varrone, Keating, and Catsburg were able to work their way back up to second place, earning their third podium finish in three races, although they were unable to secure their third consecutive win.

The polesitting #25 ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR finished in third place, with Charlie Eastwood just 0.297 seconds behind Catsburg at the finish line. Despite his efforts, Eastwood was unable to find a way past Catsburg and had to settle for third place.

The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps Race Results

  1. Toyota #7 (Kobayashi, Conway, Lopez)
  2. Toyota #8 (Buemi, Hartley, Hirakawa) – 16 seconds behind
  3. Ferrari #51 (Giovanazzi, Calado, Pier Guidi) – 1 minute 15 seconds behind
  4. Porsche Penske #5 (Cameron, Christensen, Makowiecki) – 1 minute 17 seconds behind
  5. Cadillac #2 (Bamber, Lynn, Westbrook) – 1 lap behind
  6. Hertz Team Jota #38 (Da Costa, Stevens, Yé)
  7. Team WRT #41 (Deletraz, Kubica, Andrade) – 1st in LMP2
  8. United Autosports #23 (Blomqvist, Pierson, Jarvis)
  9. Inter Europol (Smiechowski, Scherer, Costa) …
  10. Peugeot #93 (Vergne, Jensen, Di Resta) – 2 laps behind …
  11. Peugeot #94 (Menezes, Duval, Müller) – 2 laps behind …
  12. Ferrari #83 (Perez Compenc, Wadoux, Rovera) – 1st in LM GTE AM
  13. Corvette #33 (Keating, Varrone, Catsburg)
  14. Aston Martin #25 (Al Harty, Dinan, Eastwood)

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