Bullitt Racing overcomes previous adversity to finish Crowdstrike 24Hrs of Spa at first attempt.

Monday, July 03, 2023


Bullitt Racing completed its very first GT3 24-Hour race Sunday afternoon (July 2nd, 2023), securing a solid sixth-place finish in the Silver Cup class in the Crowdstrike 24 Hours of Spa with drivers Jacob Riegel, Jeff Kingsley, Romain Leroux and Ruben Real del Sarte.

A frustrating car niggle aside, it was a near-flawless performance from both the team and drivers alike, equalling its best result of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. Crucially, the result provides momentum heading into the next round of the championship at Nurburgring.

The whole week in the Belgian Ardennes was special, especially given the trials and tribulations the team had been through over recent weeks. The brand-new #33 Aston Martin Vantage (Chassis 16A-018-1) made its debut this week following an incident in testing that destroyed the chassis that started the season. The hard work paid dividends as it completed one of the toughest challenges in global GT racing, passing the gruelling test with flying colours.

The opening stint of the race from Romain was impressive, gaining six positions on the track and three in the Silver Cup class to run P7. Ruben jumped in to make his GT3 race debut, and this was a more difficult stint, losing time in the pits and finding the green track challenging in terms of dealing with the understeer.

Jeff was next up, but by this point, an electrical issue with the centre switch panel meant that some crucial functions were unavailable to the driver, including creature comforts. This made for difficulties opening stints for both Jeff and Jacob.

The replacement panel took ten minutes to fix, unfortunately under green flag conditions, and this put the #33 Vantage firmly at the back of the Silver Cup class by two complete laps. By midnight, the team had pressed on and moved to P8.

There were several lengthy safety car periods in the early hours, and by sunrise (no sun, grey and chilly), the drivers had cycled through multiple stints without too much drama and ran sixth in Silver Cup and inside the top 50 overall for the first time. However, with six laps separating us from the #26 ahead in P5, it would take attrition over the final eight hours to make further gains.

Into the closing stages, Romain moved fifth as a rival hit trouble and into the final pitstop with 45 minutes to go, and all seemed to be well. However, a left rear shim failure meant a frantic final stop and the loss of the fifth position. Romain ultimately took the chequered flag and secured the team’s first 24-hour race finish in sixth position.

Team Manager Stefan Pattrick summed things up by saying “I am happy that we completed the race and took the chequered flag, albeit not in the position we were hoping for. Along with many of our rivals, it’s a challenge, and we suffered from some technical issues which hampered us in our ability to fight for a podium position.

“Nonetheless, we managed these issues very well. The electrical issue meant that we had to problem solve on the fly – especially during the night – just to survive whilst staying within the regulations. The boys did a good job behind the wheel, very consistent and cautious, which is not easy when all your instincts tell you to push. They understood the limits, did what they needed to ensure we finished the race.

“Next year, we plan to be back, and we will be making incremental changes to mitigate against some of these issues we have had and to capitalise on the pace of the car and the consistency that the platform brings. Overall, I am very proud of the drivers in a gruelling race. They have shown good rates of development with the team, engineers and together, we have managed to get there in the end.”

Source material - Bullitt Racing
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