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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Lilou Wadoux secures fourth in class at 24 hours of Spa

Lilou Wadoux and her teammates brought the #93 Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3 to a fourth-place finish in the Bronze Cup class and 16th overall at the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Spa, following remarkable final stints where the French racer was among the fastest drivers in class.

Lilou Wadoux, Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3, 2024 24 Hours of Spa
Photo credits: Ferrari Races

With a stellar effort, Lilou Wadoux brought the #93 Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3 across the finish line of the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Spa in fourth place among the Bronze Cup class, having battled throughout the race for the top positions in class, amidst changeable weather and having recovered from being spun around midway through the race.

Wadoux, who shared the car with teammates Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui, and Eddie Cheever, put on a fight until the very final stint, running among the fastest laps in class and, having led a sizable part of the early hours, the team still collected a notable result in the biggest GT race in the world, in one of the most competitive sports car fields in the sport.

All the Sky Tempesta drivers showed strong performance with consistent, mistake-free stints, strategic tyre choices in response to heavy rain showers, and effective management of race restarts, with 23 full course yellows interrupting the action.

Having qualified second in class, the team managed to climb the order with great runs from its starting driver, Chris Froggatt, as well as bronze-rated Jonathan Hui, who significantly made up positions in the second stint. Eddie Cheever and Lilou Wadoux then strategically navigated multiple full course yellows and Wadoux's impressive performance during her first run, amidst increasingly challenging weather conditions, ultimately advanced the team to the bronze class lead.

The expected rain showers started soon after, turning the race into a strategic game of tyre choice as Chris Froggatt took over for his second driving shift.

On wet weather tyres, the Briton charged through the field and nearly took the overall lead before a lengthy safety car during the night when conditions became undrivable. Bronze-rated Hui perfectly managed the challenging conditions at the restart during the rain storm, and the team maintained a strong position as the drivers alternated behind the wheel.

Mid-way through the race, Lilou Wadoux showcased again her speed and racecraft as the rain intensified again. While she made it back to second place in class in incredibly challenging conditions with lower temperatures, rain, and darkness, Lilou was hit and spun in the night by another Ferrari, which luckily did not terminated the race of the Sky Tempesta squad: Wadoux recovered and kept the car in contention for the leading position in the bronze class. In the following hours, in fact, Froggatt and Cheever cycled back from first to third in class in between the rounds of pit stops.

Lilou Wadoux, Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3, 2024 24 Hours of Spa
Photo credits: SRO/JEP

A few pit stops under green, while competitors capitalized on stops under cautions, progressively hampered the race of the #93 crew. During a caution, the team opted to complete its mandatory technical pit stop on Sunday morning and, despite receiving a pass around, then struggled to catch back the leading trio.

Nevertheless, Wadoux's final stints were particularly impressive, showing great pace and recording some of the best laps in the whole bronze class.

Having taken over from eighth in class, Wadoux cycled back up to fourth at the 18-hour mark, then started to log spectacular laps that set the team's new benchmark in the race. One fastest sector at a time, she clocked a 2:17.138, becoming the new fastest lap holder in the Bronze Cup class, and continued to be a couple of seconds per lap faster than the cars around her.

She eventually moved back up to second in class 20 minutes into the 19th hour of the race. After another lap in the 2:17 bracket, she completed a stunning stint from second and remained at the wheel with fresh tyres.

Soon out of the pits, she cleared two Pro cars and aimed to build back from eighth once again. Up to sixth, Lilou hunted down David Fumanelli's Kessel Racing Ferrari and completed a great pass under braking around the outside of Les Combes. Once ahead, she cleared the #35 Walkenhorst Aston Martin but had to slot back behind and overtake them again over the next laps, including a great maneuver into Pouhon.

Despite losing time in traffic, Lilou made it back up to fourth before a full course yellow with five hours to go when John Hartshorne hit the barriers in the #74 Kessel Racing Ferrari. This opened the door for the next pit stop under caution, and Wadoux made way for Jonathan Hui, who had one more hour of minimum driving time to complete.

After getting the wave around, Hui had a good restart and held position while going shoulder to shoulder with a big group of cars down the Kemmel Straight. A multi-car accident just in front of him saw Valentino Rossi hitting Nicolo Rosi, who spun across the track at Les Combes and hit the #35 Aston Martin, sending it into the barriers. Hui smartly took evasive action.

Lilou Wadoux, Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3, 2024 24 Hours of Spa
Photo credits: Ferrari Races

When the full course yellow was deployed once again, the driver from Hong Kong had retained fourth in class. More chaos erupted at the following restart, with Hui having to avoid spinning cars in front of him at Les Combes. Once the race finally got back underway, Hui had really good pace and set some fast sectors before eventually completing his driving time and handing back over to Eddie Cheever, still in P4 in class, with four hours to go.

The Italian improved the car's best lap by one tenth, also setting the new fastest lap in class at 2:17.003 on lap 380, in a mission to catch back the top three. Once he cleared a few cars, Cheever returned to set times in the 2m17s, although now with 20 seconds to close to third-placed Tommaso Mosca in the #52 AF Corse Ferrari.

At the 26th pit stop for Sky Tempesta, the team opted to keep Cheever in the driving seat as he resumed his charge at a 2m17 pace. When Mosca brought the #51 Ferrari back for its driver change, Jef Machiels took over the second-placed car, now 30 seconds ahead of the Sky Tempesta machine. In approximately 20 minutes, the Italian cut the gap to just over 10 seconds and continued to close in until the end of his double stint, which saw Lilou Wadoux returning in control of the #93 Ferrari for the final two hours of racing.

Wadoux was one of the fastest drivers on track in the bronze class and attempted an assault on the new fastest lap of the race, eventually clocking a 2:17.062, thousandths of a second from Cheever's benchmark. Finally in clear air, Lilou had an unreal run and lapped consistently in the low 2m17. On lap 442, the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini suffered a puncture from the class lead and had to limp back to the pits but managed to retain second place.

After a relatively longer green flag period, the 23rd full course yellow was out when Aurelien Panis' Boutsen Mercedes came to a halt with one hour to go. It was a quick yellow, as the race resumed immediately, and Sky Tempesta pitted Wadoux for the last time in the race while the race was back to green. After a stellar drive, Lilou remained at the wheel and, on new tyres, started to log fast lap after fast lap again, missing out on the fastest lap by one tenth.

Despite the effort, Tommaso Mosca was unreachable in third, as he improved the fastest lap and cemented third. Lilou Wadoux ran arguably one of her most convincing GT3 races and drove her heart out, just like teammates Froggatt, Hui, and Cheever, whose very close times eventually contributed to the highly positive result.

After 24 hours of intense racing through all sorts of weather conditions, Lilou Wadoux crossed the finish line for Team Sky Tempesta in fourth place in the bronze class and 16th overall, a remarkable achievement in such a world-class field.

Lilou Wadoux, Sky Tempesta Ferrari 296 GT3, 2024 24 Hours of Spa
Photo credits: SRO/JEP



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