Porsche, Private Jota Team Prevail in (Extended) 6 Hours of Spa

fia world endurance championship 6 hours of spa
6 Hours of Spa Goes into OT, Porsche PrevailsJames Moy Photography - Getty Images

A brave move paid off for Sam Hignett and his private Jota Porsche team in Saturday's very long and very eventful 6 Hours of Spa race, leading to the first privateer hybrid win in FIA World Endurance Championship.

With 1 hour 47 minutes remaining in the original run time of the event, the No. 2 Cadillac piloted by Earl Bamber went airborne after contact with the No. 31 WRT BMW of Sean Gelael. At the time of the accident, Jota's No. 12 Porsche 963 was called to pit in the hopes of fueling and adding tires before the yellow to set themselves up for however much time remained once the accident was cleared up.

For a while, this looked to be an unlucky decision as teams and fans watched as the clock ran down to under 20 minutes. That looked like a disappointing end of the race and bad news for the big assembled crowd, but officials decided that the race would be finished under green anyway.


At 7:10 local time, around 10 minutes after the race was set to conclude, the two classes started slowly around the 7.004 kilometer track before going back green moments later. Now with a fully charged tank, a lead, and fresh tires, the No. 12 had their strongest change of their first victory.

“We didn’t think the race would restart," Hignett said, "Because the countdown had run out and we made the brave call of diving in the pits when we say the accident to capitalize on a potential restart. I think we were the most happy people when we saw there was going to be an hour and 40 to go.”

Steven Williams piloted the No. 12 from Lap 1 until l Lap 72 before Callum Ilott took over.

Ilott, who was the runner up to Mick Schumacher in the 2020 F2 Championship and more recently an IndyCar driver for two teams, was the driver at the time of the pit and remained until the race ended 4 hours later.

Hertz Racing Jota was racing with only two drivers as Norman Nato was pulled away to race Formula E's round 9 in Berlin.

“It’s amazing, we got close when you [Alex] were driving for us at Le Mans in 2017, but to win the 6 Hours at Spa. That’s something very cool," Hignett said.

Alex Brundle had the honor to interview his former boss after the team's first win, and they joked about what the difference maker was between almost winning together at the 2017 Le Mans and today's win.

The answer was Ilott.

“Callum Illot did an amazing job," Hignett continued, "I don’t think that we had the fastest car at times but when it cooled down we certainly did and they were able to capitalize on it.”

There was one other team that only needed one pit stop during the unexpected sprint to the finish. After the restart the No. 6 Porsche Penske piloted by Luarens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre, and Andre Lotterer pitted a lap before the No. 12 and a four tire stop allowed the Jota team the change to stretch out their advantage for the rest of the race.

Estre would hold on for a second place finish, marking the first of two 1,2 finishes in the 2024 running of the 6 Hours of Spa.

The Ferrari AF Corse entry No. 50 entry shared by Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, and Nicklas Nielsen that had to forgo their pole position after being underweight, completed the podium after starting in 19th position.

Continued Success for Porsche in LMGT3

fia world endurance championship 6 hours of spa
James Moy Photography - Getty Images

The LMGT3 class finish was a lot closer and more wild than the hypercars as teams pushed to the very end of their energy reserves. The Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan was leading with one lap remaining before having to turn in for fuel.

After rebuilding their car the night before the PureRxcing Manthey Porsche was set to capture it's first win, but with energy reserves low, the NO. 92 could not hold off fellow Manthey Porsche driver Richard Lietz and the No. 91 Manthey EMA.

Lietz took the victory and Klaus Bachler held onto second to keep the No. 92 at the top of the points.

The Iron Lynx entry recovered to finish third after their splash and go pit stop. The all-female Iron Dames entry of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey, and Michelle Gatting after starting on the pole and looking hopeful for a podium or possible win the majority of the day battled back for fourth after a 20-second pit placed them mid-pack late.

Porsche will be flying high in preparation for next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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