Home  »  Car Racing  »  Features  »  Gallery

Mega Gallery and Report: Spa Six Hours, the Sound of Music 2023

Submitted by on October 12, 2023

Still unique in the world of historic motorsport after 30 years, the Spa Six Hours 2023 was held on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the last weekend of September, 2023. We were there to capture the action.

The 2023 anniversary edition was held on a bone-dry Saturday, although typical Ardennes weather conditions prevailed during qualifying on Friday evening. Among the hundreds of participating drivers were stars like multiple IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and multiple NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson.

The GT40 has dominated this unique historic endurance race for years. This year was again no exception. Of the twenty GT40s registered, seventeen eventually appeared at the start. Nico Verdonck convincingly drove the number 30 GT40 owned by Graf Marcus von Oeynhausen to pole position. The Belgian was even 2.2 of a second faster in qualifying than the number 21 GT40 of Oliver Bryant and James Cottingham.

Verdonck took off like a rabbit and created a gap in the early stages of the race. A true battle of attrition between the other competing GT40 drivers meant that contenders for victory, including the combinations Hart-Hart-Pastorelli, Bryant-Cottingham, Ditting-Hancock and Pearson-Brundle, did not reach the finish line. Thus, the battle at the end of the six-hour race was between former BTCC champion Gordon Shedden and the experienced GT racer Nico Verdonck.

Despite mediocre pit stops, Verdonck managed to connect with Shedden. However, thirty minutes before the race ended it turned out that Verdonck’s GT40 no longer had any brakes and the decision was made. Verdonck was able to resume the race, but could not prevent the Lotus Elan of the Jordan-Tordoff-Dorlin combination from taking second place. The drama was completed when Verdonck was overtaken in the very last lap by the GT40 of the Wood-Nuthall-Lyons combination.

As usual, the supporting program consisted of a large presence of the various series that fall under the banner of Masters Historic Racing. In addition, the historic grand prix cars of the HGPCA, the pre-war cars of Motor Racing Legends and the Belcar Historic Cup were also present. However, compared to previous editions, the number of participants in the supporting races was disappointing in some cases. Fortunately, the quality of the races made up for a lot.

The first race of the Masters Endurance Legends was dominated by the Peugeot 90X of Stuart Wiltshire. The Brit initially fought a nice battle with Steve Brooks in a similar prototype, until Brooks crashed. During the second race, youngster Antoine d’Ansembourg surprised friend and foe by outpacing Stuart Wiltshire in the usually lightning-fast Peugeot 90X with his Dallara-Judd SP1 and taking a spectacular victory.

During the formation lap of the Masters Racing Legends, it rained considerably in the start-finish area at Spa, while the other side of the circuit was still completely dry leading the race director to not to allow the field of Formula 1 cars to start and to install rain tires. Still, a number of drivers decided to opt for slicks. Pole sitter Mike Cantillon went straight after the start in La Source, allowing Nick Padmore to take the lead. After a neutralisation by the safety car due to a stranded driver, Cantillon regained the lead and did not relinquish it until the finish line.

During the second race the name ‘d Ansembourg appeared again. This time, however, it was Antoine’s brother Werner who left his mark on the race. The young Belgian rode to a convincing victory with the beautiful ex-Nelson Piquet Brabham BT49.

Lolas dominated the only race of the Masters Sports Cars Legends. Diogo Ferrao and Martin Stretton commanded the race, although Kyle Tilley applied some necessary pressure. These attempts came to an abrupt end when braking problems appeared, followed by a trip to Les Combes. The win then went to the Tilley-Stretton combination.

In Masters Gentlemen Drivers, John Spiers seemed set to take home the victory from pole position. However, Nigel Greensall put a stop to this and took the lead in the race and claimed victory. Sam Tordoff drove unthreatened to the finish line in the Pre-66 touring cars with his Ford Falcon Sprint.

In addition to these series in the support program, the public could also enjoy competitions from the Masters GT Trophy, Historic Grand Prix Car Association, the Belcar Historic Cup, the Pre War Sports Cars and Sport Proto 2000. The dates for the 31st edition of the Spa Six Hours have already been fixed, from September 25 to 29, 2024. More than reason to bookmark these dates for next year.

Results Spa Six Hours 2023

Spa Six Hours

  1. Miles Griffiths-Gordon Sheddon-Andy Priaulx, Ford GT40
  2. Andrew Jordan-Sam Tordoff-Dorlin, Lotus Elan, +1 lap
  3. Tony Wood- William Nuthall-Michael Lyons, Ford GT40, + 2 laps

Masters Racing Legends-F1 cars 66-85

Race 1

  1. Mike Cantillon, Williams FW07C
  2. Nick Padmore, Lotus 77, + 2.377
  3. Ken Tyrrell, Tyrrell 011, + 2.747

Race 2

  1. Werner d’Ansembourg, Brabham BT49
  2. Ken Tyrrell, Tyrrell 011, + 13.451
  3. Mike Cantillon, Williams FW07C, + 13.745

Masters Sports Car Legends

  1. Diogo Ferrao-Martin Stretton, Lola T292
  2. Jason Wright, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB, + 15.295
  3. Stephan Joebst-Andy Willis, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB, + 17.476

Masters Endurance Legends

Race 1

  1. Stuart Wiltshire, Peugeo 90X
  2. Olivier Galant, HPD ARX 03A, + 2.777
  3. Antoine d’Ansembourg, Dallara/Oreca DO-05, + 14.709

Race 2

  1. Antoine d’Ansembourg, Dallara/Oreca DO-05
  2. Keith Frieser, Zytek 09S, + 12.463
  3. Michael Birch, Ligier JSP217, + 1:52.446

Masters Gentlemen Drivers – Pre-66 Touring Cars

Race Gentlemen Drivers

  1. John Spiers-Nigel Greensall, TVR Griffith
  2. John Pearson-Gary Pearson, Jaguar E-Type, + 2.389
  3. Giles Dawson, Lotus Elan 26R, + 18.901

Race Pre-66 Touring Cars

  1. Sam Tordoff, Ford Falcon Sprint
  2. Rob Fenn-Jake Hill, Ford Mustang, + 1:17.227
  3. Richard McAlpine, Ford Falcon, + 2:46.058

Masters GT Trophy

  1. Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo, Chris Wilkins
  2. Chris Milner-Nigel Greensall, Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, + 33.195
  3. Rob Fenn-Paul Whight, Motorsport Elise, + 1:20.287

Historic Grand Prix Car Association

Race 1

  1. Tom Child, Brabham BT3/4
  2. Michael Gans, Cooper T79, + 8.729
  3. Rudi Friedrichs, Cooper T53, + 9.557

Race 2

  1. Michael Gans, Cooper T79
  2. Justin Maeers, Cooper T53, + 1.122
  3. Andy Middlehurst, Lotus 25 R4, + 31.485

Pre-War Sports Cars

  1. Ross Keeling-Calum Lockie, Delahaye 135
  2. Christopher Mann, Alfa Romeo 8C Monza, + 11.059
  3. Martin Halusa, Bugatti 35B, + 42.228

Sport Proto 2000

  1. Chris Lillingstone-Price/Freddie Lillingstone-Price, Chevron B8
  2. Charles Allison, Chevron B8, + 31.551
  3. Hugh Colman, Chevron B8, + 1:06.995

Belcar Historic Cup

Race 1

  1. Ilaria Stalliviere, Renault Clio
  2. Erik Qvick, BMW E36 STW, + 2.622
  3. Guy Fastres, BMW M3 E30, + 25.984

Race 2

  1. Wim Kuijl, Ford Capri 3100 RS
  2. Luc Branckaerts, Corvette C4, + 2.673
  3. Erik Qvick, BMW E36 STW, + 3.787

Don't miss out! Our best stories, direct to your inbox!

[dfp name="home_tile11_300x250"]

Sign up now - it's free, weekly, and spam-free.