He may not have seen the chequered flag in what is the most demanding GT3 race in the world, but for Graham Davidson his first race at the Total 24 Hours of Spa provided valuable experience as well as plenty of racing between his British GT Championship duties.
Teaming up with Fernando Navarrete, Sylvain Debs and Immanuel Vinke in the #27 Daiko Lazarus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Graham entered the race week at Spa-Francorchamps off the back of the British GT weekend at the Belgian venue, very much looking forward to the challenge of the event.
Graham took part in the Bronze test on Tuesday and then the traditional Driver parade in the town of Spa. Thursday was the big challenge with multiple practice sessions followed by the all-important qualifying runs.
All four drivers recorded qualifying times culminating in a time good for ninth position in the Am class. The race got underway at 16.30 Saturday in very difficult and wet conditions, with Graham taking the first stint. A very successful one it proved to be too, as he made gains to run in sixth position and this became fourth as he pitted just over an hour into the race.
Navarrete took over the after two safety car periods the race settled into a rhythm with the #27 running in the top eight through the night. Heavy rain returned with daylight on Sunday forcing a near five-hour red flag period. The racing resumed but unfortunately after nearly 20 hours of competition, light contact with a rival send Graham hard into the barriers at Blanchimont.
After nearly two weeks in Belgium, Graham now prepared for the eighth and penultimate round of the British GT Championship at Brand Hatch.
“The end result wasn’t what we wanted as we really wanted to finish, but credit to the team in getting used to four drivers they don’t know and putting us in a position where we believe we could have finished in the top five,” he said.
“The week as a whole was a tremendous experience,” Graham continued. “From the parade through to the event itself, it was really well organised. On the competition side, we really thought the race would be largely wet and we set the Lamborghini up accordingly. My first stint was good in the wet – the car was really easy to drive in those conditions with good rotation – and I made up some ground, but in the dry, we lost time and then got a little unfortunate with one of the safety car periods.
“My night stint moved us back into the top six and after the red flags, it started to rain again so the car was back in the sweet spot.
“Then before I knew it, I was heading towards the barriers and that was the end of the race. It was a great event overall, and it was fun learning a new car in the Huracan. Managing the high-speed traffic was part of the challenge and I can only be stronger as I head back to Brands Hatch for British GT next weekend.”