Class-leading pace goes unrewarded at TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa

It was a case of what could have been at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa for Sam De Haan and RAM Racing. The early pace showed real promise, with the #69 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 leading the hugely competitive Pro-Am class in the opening laps, but heavy contact with little over two hours of the event completed hampered progress. Despite the best efforts to remain competitive, and the determined spirit of the team, the damage sustained proved terminal with less than four hours of the event remaining.

The weekend’s qualifying sessions saw the bold, pink Mercedes-AMG perform well. Against an entry list of 14 Pro-Am entries, Sam and teammates Fabian Schiller, Rob Collard and Ricky Collard combined to secure 2nd place on the grid, 38th overall.

An early incident during the race would bring out an extended Full Course Yellow period, and a change to strategies across the grid. On the restart, the #69 was leading the class with a strong buffer to the nearest rival before heavy rain added a new twist to proceedings. Further progress up the order was made during in tricky conditions, running as high as 4th overall with a strong gap to the chasing Pro-Am pack.

With the track drying, the pink Zenith-back Mercedes was handed over to Sam who joined the race 2nd in class, but in a strong position on a different strategy. Not long into the stint however, two separate incidents saw the rear of the car damaged and the aerodynamic balance heavily affected. The team did what was possible to have the car back out on track with minimal delays, still in contention within the class and running in the top half of the overall field, but  the damage caused following the rear impact meant a loss of overall pace which prevented Sam from being able to recover and challenge for position.

Despite the best efforts by the team and drivers, with race pace and performance heavily compromised, it was a case of managing the situation over the following hours. The early pace had built up a strong gap to the chasing pack, but gradually this buffer was reduced, also not helped by the prolonged time in the pitlane required to repair and maintain the car. By the midpoint of the race, the quartet had dropped to 8th in class, but determination remained strong as the team pushed on through the night. Further strategy calls and strong stints in the early hours saw a recovery to 6th in class and running within the top 30 overall. Following another extended Full Course Yellow period, it was clear that performance was heavily compromised, and further reworks were required for bodywork repairs. After battling against the issues, with less than three hours remaining and now running 10th in class, the decision was made to retire from the event.

“We had really strong pace going into the race, and the early stages looked really promising,” explained Sam, “but the contact did more damage than we expected. The team did a great job to get us back out but, from that point on, we were lacking outright pace and had to manage the situation in every stint. I had some good battles during my stints, and it is always great to race at Spa, but we just couldn’t keep the fight until the end. It was a really disappointing to not make it to the flag, but we will be back.” 

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium


British GT  – 28 june 2021

victory at silverstone for Sam De Haan and ram racing

Round 2 of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship saw a return to the top step of the podium for Sam De Haan and RAM Racing…

GT world challenge europe – 30 May 2021

strong pace for de haan sees top-4 finish at 1,000kms of Paul Ricard

Sam De Haan was back at the wheel of the 69RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the third round of the GT World Challenge Europe at Paul Ricard…