Gary Paffett will make his return to GT racing this weekend, as he heads to Belgium to compete in the third round of Intercontinental GT Challenge racing for the infamous Total 24 Hours of Spa.
After an intense debut season in the ABB FIA Formula E series, the Fitbit-sponsored driver returns to GT racing after the all-electric season finale in New York two weekends ago. Gary will team up with Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing as he and his team-mates Lewis Williamson and Tristan Vautier tackle the biggest GT endurance race in the world at the iconic Circuit de Spa Francorchamps.
So far this year, Gary has contested in both of the Intercontinental GT rounds, although has suffered unfortunate retirements on both occasions.
In the first round at the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia, Gary and his team had qualified second in the super pole shootout. Then, in the race, Gary continued to impress by leading various stints of the event. However, this came to a dramatic halt when the car was forced to retire due to mechanical issues.
The California 8 Hours marked a switch of teams and the outcome of the weekend was bittersweet. After running so well in free practice and qualifying, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 wasn’t classified in the results after a retirement on lap 159 due to a power steering issue. Up until that point, they had been in contention for a podium.
This weekend, however, the #44 team is hoping for better fortune as they compete in an Intercontinental GT class with a record-breaking 27 other entrants, for what is the biggest GT race in the world. Amongst that number are four other Mercedes entrants and there will also be an added element of competition as Gary will compete against two other 2018/19 Formula E drivers!
“This weekend is going to be challenging but the 24 Hours of Spa is such a brilliant race to be a part of,” Gary said ahead of the race. “I had a good result at Spa in 2016 when we finished fifth, so I’m optimistic for another good result.
“We perhaps haven’t had the best of luck this year in the IGTC, nor the luck we deserve, so I’m looking for a solid result this weekend in front of such a fantastic crowd of supporters! The track itself is one of the best in the world and it’s a joy to be able to race here.”
Gary’s weekend will get underway on Thursday with a practice session and pre-qualifying, before the qualifying showdown at 19:00 (BST). On Friday, the battle for super pole will take place which shall determine the top-20 cars for Saturday’s race start at 15:30.