TF Fan files: Spa 24 h (part 2)
We welcomed AMR fans extraordinaire Sarah and Martyn to our garage during the Total Spa 24H. Read the second part of their experience with the team as we wrapped up the Blancpain Endurance Cup and her thoughts on the ever-impressive Spa Francorchamps circuit.
We decided to watch the beginning of the race from the bottom of Raidillon/Eau Rouge, to experience seeing the cars thundering up there at full speed under race conditions for the first time. It sounded amazing!
For the earlier part of the race we were on the Pit Bar Terrace, then in the evening, we walked around the track which was wonderful. As we walked past the woods, we could see where the fans were camped & smell their delicious barbecues. One highlight at this time was seeing Jonny go four abreast on the Kemmel Straight!! I couldn’ t believe my eyes when we saw it – I must admit screaming!
By the time we were stood at the top of Eau Rouge looking down to Raidillon dusk had fallen & it was just perfect for videoing the cars at full speed.
Martyn & I then spent quite a lot of time with the team in the garage, chatting to Jonny’s & Euan’s families who we had met earlier in the day.
We were able to ask the team members questions. I was intrigued by one screen which Liugi sat in front of. He explained that it was linked to where Pirelli prepped their tyres, the different colours depicted which stage the tyre technicians were at in preparing the teams tyres.
Before the drivers went out to do their stints, they did some stretching exercises to help loosen up, as did the pit crew. Conditions were very hot in the car & when the drivers pitted at the end of their stints they needed a good rest & a drink, once they had debriefed with the engineers. It was interesting to hear the team planning how long a driver could sleep for before setting his alarm for the next stint.
Sitting in the garage, watching the race unfold – it was easy to sense the tension build slightly when they had to change the brake discs & pads in the early hours of Sunday morning. After that stop & some untimely safety car periods, the #97 dropped just out of the top 20 but Euan was able to get the car back up the leader board.
During one of wet spells, we watched some of the race via the live stream in the team’s hospitality unit whilst enjoying a hot drink.
We then decided to explore the track at night to gain a different perspective. Martyn & I sat in one of the Grandstands to watch the cars driving up Raidillon & Eau Rouge – it started to rain whilst we sat there but it still didn’t stop us from recording the action. Seeing dawn break over the circuit from La Source was beautiful, the colours were stunning. We popped back into the garage then went for a wander round the paddock.
Martyn & I had our lunch overlooking La Source – each time we saw #97 go past we smiled & cheered. It was so good to see her racing her heart out, lap after lap.
We spent the final few hours watching the race from within the garage with the team. The tension was building - #97 was back in #P2 in Pro-Am and trying to catch the Black Falcon Mercedes.
We were all very excited to watch the final laps of the race with Ahmad Al Harthy behind the wheel, & were over the moon when he crossed the finish line in #P2 after a very long, tiring & somewhat gruelling Spa 24 hours.
As you can imagine, everyone was hugging each other & celebrating the team getting on the podium & that Jonny & Ahmad had also won the 2017 Blancpain Pro-Am Endurance Cup title.
We absolutely loved our first visit to Spa Francorchamps & are hoping to return to this beautiful circuit to watch another Spa 24h or attend the FIA WEC race.
Watching the #97 go four abreast on the Kemmel Straight was one of our favourite parts, but the most memorable was to see the wall of Raidillon/Eau Rouge for the first time as seeing it on TV does not ever show the actual scale of it.
If we are lucky, we might be able to fit in seeing an extra round of British GT during the summer if not we like to go to the Donington Decider in September. The atmosphere there is fantastic but you can feel the excitement and tension with it being the final race of the season.
Martyn & I would like to thank everyone at TF Sport, especially Team owner/Manager Tom Ferrier for welcoming us so warmly into their garage throughout the whole Spa 24hr and allowing us to photograph & record the team at work. We feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to follow a team over an entire race event from the Driver’s Parade to the Finish.
TF Sport certainly helped making our first ever Spa 24 hours a very magical & memorable experience.