Giorgio Maggi Finished his First 24 Hours Race at Spa
It was a field of 63 cars that took the start at the 24 hours of Spa, the season highlight of the Blancpain GT Series. At the end of the highly demanding race at the famous and difficult Belgian n track, only a bit more than of them saw the chequered flag. The Lamborghini Huracán number 67 of Attempto Racing, which the young Swiss Giorgio Maggi shared with his teammates Clement Mateu (F), Jürgen Krebs (GER and Sarah Boy from Belgium was one of them, with P6 in the AM category and P31 on the general classification. Maggi afterwards received some praise by Attempto team manager Nancy Kahnt: “I am proud of Giorgio, as he was very well organized during his first 24 hour race at all and showed a lot of stamina until the end.”
Nevertheless the Swiss driver was not completely content with how the weekend had progressed: “I am happy that we were able to finish the race, but our speed was just not there. During the first practice sessions the car felt completely different to how it was during the official test day at the beginning of July. We tried a lot of set-up changes, but never reached the times we were aiming for. We were significantly slower than during testing. And in such a situation you also tend to lose a bit of confidence in the car.”
After pre-qualifying the team changed the dampers all over the car, “and afterwards the handling got definitely better, especially under braking, but it was still not the same as in testing.” Later in, Maggi was rather impressed by night qualifying: “For me it was the first time at night at Spa, and it was really something special. All these flashlights of the photographers coming out of the dark forests… I needed a few laps to find my reference points again.”
During the race the main goal was to get through to the end of the race without having to encounter any problems, not to risk any accidents with too dangerous actions or by trying to just gain a few tenths of a second. Part of it was to always have an eye on the rear-view mirror to get out of the way of faster cars as soon as possible, which of course bears the disadvantage of having to leave the racing line quite often and so to collect a lot of pick up, which tends to make the car rather unstable and more difficult to drive. .
„During my first stint I was able to keep up with the traffic and to even gain a few positions,” Maggi was rather content. “Only after the field was spread more apart I got some problems not to lose contact. The original plan for me was to to only one stint at the beginning, but finally I did a double stint immediately.” The second time he took the wheel was during the small hours on Sunday: “During the first half of the stint I was completely on my own. I did not come across any other car. It was a good feeling to drive at night.”
The aim of getting the car through the 24 hours without any incidents was finally reached: “All my teammates did a good job, the car reached the finish line without any damage. The strategy of the team also worked very well and the pitstops were always fast enough”, Maggi was adamant. “It is a nice feeling that I was able to finish the first 24 hour race of my career, but still I wish we could have been a little bit faster.”