After securing his first Silver Cup rostrum visit of 2022 last time out at Circuit Paul Ricard in France, racing to third place along with team-mates Diego Menchaca and Lewis Proctor during the six-hour ‘into the night’ race, Dundee’s Hutchison is determined to battle at the sharp end once again next weekend, 30th/31st July, with Team WRT.
As always, the build-up for the biggest event on the calendar – which this year will feature a grid of 66 cars – begins early next week with the parade into Spa city centre on Wednesday, 27th July, ahead of practice, pre-qualifying, qualifying and night practice on Thursday, 28th July. Superpole will follow on Friday, 29th July, ahead of the eagerly awaited race start on Saturday, 30th July.
Hutchison, Menchaca and Proctor, of course, will share their regular No.31 Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II for the twice-round-the-clock encounter and the trio head into the practice sessions focused on making the best possible preparation.
While carrying the realistic aim of challenging for the Silver Cup podium at Spa, Hutchison’s first target is to actually complete the race and reach the chequered flag at 16.45 local time a week on Sunday. In three previous attempts the Scottish driver has experienced misfortune of one form or another, so a race finish will be an achievement in itself.
Of course, though, big championship points are what the Team WRT drivers are also targeting as they go into the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa an improved fourth in the Silver Cup standings after the deserved Paul Ricard podium – only a single point outside the top three.
With points awarded at six hours, halfway through the race at the 12-hour mark and again at the conclusion of the 24 hours, there is plenty up for grabs and the difference it can make to a title bid is obviously significant.
“I always love racing at Spa and the 24 Hours really is the crown jewel of the GTWCE season”, said Hutchison, “Up to now we’ve not had the best of fortune there in the Endurance Cup, but I’m hoping we can change that this time around and especially after such a competitive weekend at Paul Ricard.
“The guys at WRT had the car working really well straight out of the box in France, so if we can do that again during practice next week and build from there I’m confident Lewis, Diego and I can do a good job in the race. We’re all working really well together, we’ve got good pace and the podium last time out gave us all a big boost of confidence.”
He added: “My first target is just to get a finish, there’s so much that needs to work out for you in a 24 Hour race and staying out of trouble is vital. There are a lot of points on offer so we’ll be doing all we can to score as heavily as possible and try and climb further up the championship.”
Opening free practice at Spa-Francorchamps will get underway at 09.50 UK time on Thursday with pre-qualifying at 15.15 UK time, qualifying at 19.40 and night practice at 21.20. Superpole takes place at 18.00 UK time on Friday with the big race starting at 15.45 UK time on Saturday, 30th July.
Live timing and streaming will be available for all of the main track sessions through the following link: https://www.totalenergies24hours.com/live
2022 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup – Silver Cup Standings
4th Finlay Hutchison/Diego Menchaca/Lewis Proctor, 23pts