All eyes on Spa

November 29, 2022  — 

The Crew Chief GT3 Masters VI reaches a crescendo this weekend as the Class of Season 61 congregates for the finale of our flagship series.

Masters Mania has engulfed the community over the last 6 months with unprecedented grids acting as the catalyst that has kept the fires raging, but who will survive the cauldron-like climate and emerge as Masters champion?

Since the season opener at COTA back in early September, the RRL circus has visited all 4 corners of the world with stops at Asia, Africa, Australia & Europe, taking in some of the most iconic tarmac on the planet. Races have not been without drama & incident but an overriding sense of duty and respect for the series has resulted in an enthralling championship.

In a calendar bursting with challenging circuits, the staging of our final round is arguably the most famous road racing venue in the world. It’s old school, it’s long, it’s fast and it’s a driver's delight although a thorough examination of their resolve.

It is, of course, Spa-Francorchamps.

Seven kilometers of tarmac, winding its way through the forrest. This is Spa- Francorchamps, host of the season finale...

This iconic Belgian track sleeps silently, deep in one of nature's unspoilt areas, rich in fauna and flora, with vast forests of broadleaf and fir, fast-flowing rivers and hills that will soon be awakened by thunderous echos of GT3 engines as drivers descend on the Arden Forest for the series decider.

Feeling the heat will be the 3 drivers who head the drivers' championship, all with a realistic chance of achieving the ultimate goal of being crowned Masters champion as the chequered flag is waved. They are:

🇧🇪 Bram Depraitere #44 | Team WRT

As a past Masters champion at RRL, Bram needs no introduction around these parts and will know what it takes to win this illustrious series. Driving the Audi R8 Evo II in what is believed to be Team WRT’s final collaboration with the German manufacturer, he finds himself leading the championship after back-to-back wins in Kyalami & Bathurst, although the latter being rescinded after a stewards penalty. Bram will relish the challenge of Spa on home soil but will it also invite unwanted pressure on the Belgian?

I can hardly believe it is time already for the final round of this Masters! I'm really looking forward to Spa. It is an absolute epic track and the ideal place to decide the outcome of this series. It always delivers fantastic racing but it can also be very unforgiving, especially in a 2 hour-long race... Best of luck to all competitors, and let's make it a cracking final race!

- Bram Depraitere -

🇩🇪 Max Beyer #392 | Grizzly Racing

Max must be considered the in-form driver heading into the final weekend. Back-to-back wins in the previous 2 rounds have seen the German leapfrog up the standings and now splits the Team WRT drivers. Forming one half of Grizzly Racing, what Max has achieved in the Nismo GT-R is a testament to his dedication. And with heavy clouds amassing over the Ardennes, Beyer must be fancying his chances for a strong result and also landing back-to-back ACC series at RRL.

An exciting championship final is coming up!

While Spa isn't exactly one of my stronger tracks, nor is it from my beloved GTR, anything is still possible. The Belgian weather will play a crucial role and can possibly change the race results completely. Pace-wise, I expect my main championship contenders Amedeo and Bram to be way faster, especially in the dry. But in a 2-hour race on Spa, not only pace will decide who gets the title. As soon as rain comes into play, it gets spicy. 🙂

The slippery track is both, risk and chance. And depending on how the weather develops, pit strategies can make the difference between victory and defeat. On top of that, it can be tricky to follow other drivers in dirty air on Spa. But as if that wasn‘t enough already, there are also the track limits, which can easily be exceeded, especially in dirty air. A drive-through penalty can quickly end the championship fight.

So it‘s going to be an exciting race in any case! My highest priority is staying out of trouble, having a clean race and avoiding a DT. I‘m really looking forward to it and hope, it‘ll be a great race to watch on the RRL broadcast, too!

- Max Beyer -

🇧🇪 Amedeo Dekeyser #8 | Team WRT

Also pulling strength from the home crowd will be Belgian Amedeo, who will be keen to land his 1st RRL driver title. Having flown out of the blocks with victories at COTA & Suzuka, Dekeyser's grip on the Masters has slipped somewhat after an absence and incidents at key moments of the season. With 3/5 poles and 4/5 fastest laps, there is no denying that Amedeo has some serious speed in the R8 but perhaps the pressure of this great Masters series has taken its toll.

Personally, I've been a bit disappointed with my last few races, in which I threw away a lot of points (Punted Cliff at Kyalami, crashed out at Bathurst on my own and screwed up the strategy at Imola). The pace was there or thereabouts every time, but silly mistakes cost me a lot of points. Because of that, I'm really keen to end the season on a high on WRT's home track. I'm fully focused to try and put in a top performance. If that means I still miss out on the title, so be it, but I don't want to have any regrets again after the race.

Whatever happens at Spa, this season has been a blast: I'd like to thank everyone at RRL for organising such a brilliant series for everyone to enjoy, especially Martin. All of the streams have been a joy to rewatch!

-Amedeo Dekeyser -

So, all eyes are on Spa as we eagerly await to witness who will be crowned Masters champion, and what a finale it is poised to be!

With 110pts available and just 30pts separating the top 3, this is not the time to rest on one's laurels as any sniff of opportunity will be pounced upon with a vengeance. Will team orders feature at Team WRT and if so, will drivers be compliant? Will it be the weather, an incident, a cut track, the stewards, a cruel act of fate or the immense talent of one of these drivers that shall prevail?

Whatever other sporting events are going down on Sunday, if you aren't competing, you simply must have eyes on this race as the drama unfolds. Don't miss a moment, all expertly narrated by resident caster, Hughesy!

→ RRL YouTube Channel
Round 7 of the CrewChief GT3 Masters VI, live from Spa-Francorchamps