An Exciting Turn of Events at Spa-Francorchamps
The partnership with the French-based Funyo series promised a spectacular and diverse prototype grid at Spa-Francorchamps. The stage was set for an action-packed weekend, and it did not disappoint.
Richard Morris entered the weekend with a mission: to secure a double win and clinch his overall Cup rankings title ahead of the Le Mans November finale. In qualifying, Morris and his co-driver Milan de Laet put their Revolution 500SC on overall pole position, leaving the competition in their dust, clear of any car by a stunning 1.9 seconds. However, a surprise was in store, with Joaquim Penteado securing an impressive second place on the grid, his best ever Cup qualifying performance. Third place was taken by a debutant double act, with World Champion Olympic figure skater medalist Elvis Stojko sharing the spotlight with Markus Zunker.
As the lights went out, Morris led the pack, but the safety car was deployed early on due to Nagy Kabaz's Radical RXC finding itself stranded in the La Source gravel. Meanwhile, Jim Booth, swapping his usual Radical SR10 for a Revolution 500SC, made a stellar start, climbing to third place and putting on a thrilling display.
Morris found himself under pressure from Penteado in the early stages, but cruel fate dealt him a rare mechanical retirement that denied him and De Laet a win. Penteado seized the lead after the refuelling stops, with Jim Booth gaining confidence with every lap, securing a strong second place. Zunker & Stojko, on their Cup debut, took third, with Stojko impressively close to Penteado's race-leading pace.
For Penteado, it was a well-deserved and long-awaited win, having first raced in the Cup at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix support race. The top three in the Sports Prototype Cup after the race were as follows:
SPC top three:
Sadly, the Morris/De Laet car could not be repaired overnight, meaning that the title race was thrown wide open. With the Cup being awarded to the driver with the most wins, rather than a conventional points system, it meant that every driver on the grid now had a chance of overtaking Morris’ three season wins with one Spa race and three Le Mans races still to run.
This unexpected twist added spice and tension to the race, which started in 5°c ambient temperatures, some 20°c cooler than Friday practice!
Penteado and Stojko lined up on the front row, ahead of the colourful mix of Radicals and fellow Revolutions. It was Kabaz in the Radical RXC Spyder who made the best start, but Penteado fended him off at the first corner.
The safety car was deployed on lap two as Martin Lucas’ Radical was stranded in a dangerous place. At the restart, Booth and Stojko got the jump on Kabaz to lead the chase of Saturday’s winner.
At half distance, Penteado was enjoying a 20 second lead over Booth, but was entertaining himself by passing many of the Funyos that had started on a separate grid, 25 seconds before the Cup cars. Stojko was closing on Booth, before handing over to Zunker at the pitstop. Both Stojko and Booth received a 10 second penalty for a start infringement, leaving Penteado a clear run to victory.
In addition to winning the Sports Prototype Cup, Penteado also had the satisfaction of leading teammate Booth over the line to take an overall 1-2 for the Revolution 500SC in a strong line-up of 28 prototypes.
The double win for the Portuguese driver has launched him into second place in the driver rankings with three rounds remaining at Le Mans.
SPC top three:
2023 Driver Rankings after Spa
The Road to Le Mans
The Sports Prototype Cup has announced its 2023 Grand Finale on November 10-12. The event marks the first visit to Le Mans, featuring the three regular Sports Prototype Cup classes: Revolution Trophy, Radical Trophy, and the Sports Prototype Open.
To ensure a large grid and close, friendly racing, the Cup will share the track with other championships, including the French-based Funyo Sport Prototypes. The Le Mans event will take place on the Bugatti circuit, known for hosting world championships like MotoGP. To capture the true spirit of Le Mans, a longer 2-hour race for two-driver entries has been introduced in addition to the solo driver format.
Schedule for Le Mans:
Friday 10th November
1000 - 1025 FP1
1430 - 1515 FP2
Saturday 11th November
Sunday 12th November
1000 - 1040 Race 1 for solo drivers
1000 - 1200 Race 1 for two-driver entries with two compulsory stops
1400 - 1420 Race 2
1630 - 1650 Race 3
All events are open to National as well as International licence holders, but a letter of 'participation for foreign participation' must be supplied from your local governing body, unless your licence already has the permission marking.
Interested in driving in the Sports Prototype Cup? Then click below and complete the enquiry form:-