Last week, the highlight race of the Blancpain GT Series calendar took place: the 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

At the classic race in the Ardennes, Rinaldi Racing competed in the Am class with the green Ferrari 488 GT3. Pierre Ehret, Rinat Salikhov, Alexander Mattschull and Marco Seefried shared the wheel work.

It was a long week for the Rinaldi Racing Team; set-up started as early as Monday before the Bronze Test took place on Tuesday to allow the drivers to get used to the tracks. On Wednesday, the Blancpain GT Series received a warm welcome in the centre of Spa at the parade. A large crowd enjoyed the numerous GT3 sports cars and busily snapped up posters and autographs.

Regular track operations finally resumed on Thursday. During the two free practice sessions, the drivers had to deal with wet track conditions at times. When the track dried, the team could then work with the drivers on the set-up of the Ferrari 488. Qualifying was split into two sessions this time: a daylight qualifying session and the night qualifying session, where each driver had to complete two timed laps. The result was a fourth place on the grid in the AM classification.

On Saturday afternoon, the 69th edition of the 24-hour race started in dry conditions. The team sent Marco Seefried into the race as the starting driver. But misfortune struck on the very first lap: another vehicle hit the rear of the green Ferrari and sent it into the gravel. The team lost four laps before the Ferrari was pulled out of the gravel and returned to the pits with a puncture on the left rear. Now the race to catch up from last place began. The drivers completed their stints as planned and every hour the team was allowed to pit. With stable lap times and no defects, Rinaldi Racing reached third place in the Am class after 12 hours. The remaining 12 hours went off without a hitch: the crew did a great job at all the pit stops. After Marco Seefried had completed his driving time in the early hours of the morning, the three amateur drivers shared the work at the wheel of the Ferrari 488. One hour before the end of the race, the last pit stop was scheduled for the Rinaldi Racing team, where Alexander Mattschull handed over the Ferrari to Pierre Ehret for the final sprint. Half an hour before the end of the race, torrential rain began to pelt down on the track, causing numerous cars to run off the track in the final corner. Pierre Ehret, however, was able to keep the car on the track and bring it to the finish. This gave the team an excellent third place in the Am classification and 36th overall after 506 laps and 25 pit stops.

“What a race! Of course, it was very bitter to be sent to the gravel bed by a competitor already on the first lap, which puts you four laps behind. Otherwise, we could have been in contention for victory in the Am class. But nevertheless, it’s a great result for the whole team. Our drivers all did a great job, especially our three amateur drivers Pierre Ehret, Rinat Salikhov and Alexander Mattschull; it takes a lot to endure a 24-hour race and stay at a stable level. Respect. Marco Seefried also had a double job this weekend: not only did he do a very good job on the track, but he also did a great job coaching the amateur drivers. But also a big thank you to the whole team for working flawlessly throughout the race,” summed up Team Principal Michele Rinaldi. “We would also like to thank our sponsors and partners for their support. Especially Ehret-Family Winery, Lion Antique Cars, KS-Tools and Syntix – we couldn’t have entered the race without them.”

The next race event for Rinaldi Racing is the Blancpain Sprint Series in Budapest from 26-28 August.