The 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa saw the race return to its traditional summer slot and delivered one of the most memorable finishes in the event's long history.
For many, the abiding memory will be Alessandro Pier Guidi's dramatic late pass on Dries Vanthoor, which gave the Iron Lynx squad victory and ensured that Ferrari returned to the top step of the podium for the first time in 17 years.
But there was far more to this year's race than the spectacle that played out during the final hour. Each edition of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa produces a vast amount of stories and statistics, both good and bad, that make the event what it is. These are just some of the numbers worth remembering from 2021.
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1 – By taking overall victory and a one-two finish in Pro-Am, Ferrari was the best performing brand at this year’s race. This ensured that the Italian marque took home the Coupe du Roi, which is awarded to the manufacturer that scores the best results across all classes.
2 – AKKA ASP ace Raffaele Marciello took pole position for the second year in succession, which also secured Mercedes-AMG its third in a row. No brand has achieved four straight poles during the GT era.
3 – Only the top-three finishers took the chequered flag on the lead lap at this year's race, compared with a record-setting eight in 2020. The last time that fewer than three cars came home on the lead lap was 2015, when the winning BMW lapped the entire field.
4 – A record four Silver Cup crews secured a spot in Super Pole at this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. Ricardo Feller ensured that Emil Frey Racing earned class pole, putting the #14 Lamborghini fourth on the final grid.
5 – After a lean spell by its own high standards, AF Corse returned to the top in Pro-Am this year. The #53 Ferrari of Cameron/Griffin/Mastronardi/Molina gave the Italian squad its fifth victory in the class and a first since 2015, while the sister #52 car ensured a one-two finish.
7 – McLaren achieved its best-ever result at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa by finishing seventh overall. The #38 JOTA crew of Bell/Barnicoat/Wilkinson qualified sixth and remained among the top-10 throughout the race to set a new benchmark for the British marque.
8 – Lamborghini matched its best finish as the #63 Orange1 FFF Racing entry came home one spot behind the McLaren in eighth, though this was a bittersweet result. The crew of Bortolotti/Caldarelli/Mapelli may have been the fastest this year, but its challenge was blunted by two pit speeding penalties, a puncture and late technical problems.
10 – Audi Sport secured its 10th visit to the podium since GT3 rules were introduced in 2011 thanks to the #32 Team WRT entry. Indeed, the German brand's 'worst' result of the past decade is fourth overall in 2019.
12 – Marc Basseng scored his second class victory in the Ardennes 12 years after the first. The experienced German driver was part of the Hägeli by T2 Racing squad that took Am Cup honours with its Porsche.
15 – This was the 15th edition for which TotalEnergies acted as title sponsor, as well as the first since the multi-energy company adopted its new name and visual identity. First joining as a partner at the end of the nineties, TotalEnergies remained with the event through the switch to GT rules in 2001 and stepped up to the role of title sponsor in 2007.
17 – Iron Lynx ended a 17-year gap between victories for Ferrari, earning the Maranello marque its fourth overall triumph in the Ardennes. Ferrari's previous wins came in 1949, 1953 and 2004.
19 – Two members of the 2021 grid can trace their TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa history back 19 years to the 2002 edition. In both cases, they represent the same brand now as they did back then: Romain Dumas still drives for Porsche, while Andrea Bertolini remains with Ferrari.
20 – This year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa marked the 20th race for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, which launched at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in 2016. The Belgian endurance classic has been ever-present on the calendar and opened the 2021 season.
35 – BMW said goodbye to its successful M6 GT3 model this year. The car won overall in 2016 and 2018, but there was no fairytale ending as both factory-supported cars hit trouble. The best M6 was the #10 Boutsen Ginion Racing entry, which came home 35th overall. This marked the second year in succession that the Belgian squad was BMW's best finisher at Spa.
47 – Only one car at this year's edition featured a trio of past winners: the #47 KCMG Porsche. Two of last year's victorious crew were present thanks to Laurens Vanthoor and Nick Tandy. They were joined by 2016 winner Maxime Martin, who raced a Porsche at Spa for the first time since 2006.
52 – After a disastrous qualifying for its #32 entry, Audi Sport Team WRT produced a stunning comeback. The crew of Vanthoor/Weerts/Van der Linde made up 52 places to secure a runner-up finish, only losing the lead 10 minutes from the chequered flag.
59 – Aston Martin earned a long-awaited return to the overall podium this year thanks to a sublime performance from partner squad Garage 59, which added a one-off Pro entry for the event. The crew of Thiim/Sørensen/Gunn were faultless on their way to third overall, matching the result scored by Gigawave Motorsport in 2008.
73 – This year's edition was the 73rd running of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa since its creation in 1924. By starting on 31 July and concluding on 1 August, it was the first instance of the race crossing between months since 2010.
201 – A total of 201 drivers from 33 nations competed in this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. Germany was the best represented with 36 entrants, followed by Italy (26), France and the United Kingdom (both 22). There were 11 nations with a single driver in the field, including Chile, Estonia and Zimbabwe.
556 – With relatively little rain and long spells of green flag conditions, the 2021 race ran for a total of 556 laps. This resulted in a distance of 3,894.22 kilometres, making this the 'longest' 24 Hours since 2013.
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Next year's edition of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will take place on 28–31 July. As ever, the event will be preceded by two days of official testing at the Belgian venue, which are scheduled for 21-22 June.