Sandy’s Spa insights: How to achieve success over 24 Hours
K-PAX Racing heads to the Belgian Ardennes this week, ready for the marquee race of the 2023 season – the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, so who better to talk through the best way to succeed at the event than Lamborghini Squadra Corse Factory Driver Sandy Mitchell?
The team has enjoyed two strong showings at the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup summer spectacular, claiming tenth and 12th in 2020 and 11th last year, while Sandy himself has four podium finishes in five visits, across multiple classes.
Making his debut at the race in 2018, he finished second in the Silver Cup, taking the class win a year later and doubling up in 2020 with a Pro-Am win. In 2021 he was again on the Pro-Am podium finishing third, but last year, while on course for a Gold Cup podium, he was forced to retire.
The young Scottish racer has exclusively competed at the event in Lamborghini machinery and this year will be alongside Marco Mapelli and Franck Perera in the team’s Huracán GT3 EVO2, which has shown strong pace to open the season at Monza and at the 1000km Paul Ricard. During the latter weekend, the 22-year-old was happy to sit down and provide some insights into how to be successful at the 24-Hour event.
“There are plenty of things you can do to give yourself a chance to win, but a lot of it goes out the window once you get to the race,” he says. “I think the best thing you can do during the race and the week is trying to stay quite relaxed and get some good rest because it takes a lot out of you.
“Often the Friday before the race is quiet, so it’s a good opportunity to relax a bit, get some good sleep, and maybe sleep in a bit on the Saturday if you know you’re going to be in the car on Saturday night. You can also do things like staying hydrated, but at the end of the day, if you’re in the fight and the adrenaline is going, it’s pretty hard to sleep, so it can be quite tough.
“I always like to do the Sunday morning stint, bringing the car into the light, because you’ve still got quite a long way to go, but there’s something about it that makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere, whereas at points it can feel like it’s a long night at one or two in the morning. Once the sun is coming up the race settles down and you can really see what you’re going to be fighting for and then you can crack on and give it a good go. If you’re in contention for a podium you get that extra buzz and think ‘let’s go and attack the track and try and gain some time to the other cars out there.’
“Winning the 24 Hours of Spa is always the best. I did the last stint in 2019, when we won in Silver Cup. It was nice to be able to take the car home, do a good job, and hold off some cars behind. It is an amazing feeling to pull up in front of the big crowd at the end of 24 Hours of racing and stand on the podium.”
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