Matteo Cairoli wrote a page of history at the 2023 edition of the 24h of Spa: in one of the most important races of the season and with more than 70 cars on track, the driver from Como was the main character of an outstanding weekend, bringing home the Bronze class win and finishing the race thirteenth overall. Cairoli was at the wheel of the new 992 model of the Porsche 911 GT3 R by Huber Motorsport, the German team with whom he had already raced and won in the Pro-Am class in the endurance round of the International GT Open in Spa. It was the 75th edition of the 24h of Spa, race valid for both the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and the Intercontinental GT Challenge, and Cairoli raced again with Antares Au, his teammate in that GT Open successful round, and with the German drivers Jannes Fittje and Tim Heinemann. Matteo proved to be very fast already from the free practice sessions, and during the Qualifying round he showed all his abilities: despite the pouring rain that was coming down on the Ardennes during the Q4, Matteo was able to close the session with the best lap, allowing the #20 Porsche to participate in the Superpole.On Friday the driver born in 1996 was able to close a lap in 2:16.880 and snatch a pretty iconic overall pole position. Thanks to his flying lap, the driver from Como gave the manufacturer from Stuttgart his very first pole position at the 24h of Spa since the introduction of the GT cars, and claimed the first pole position for a non-Pro team since 2013.
The race was full of challenges and breakdowns, starting from a pretty slippery track at the start of the race; after an optimal start and Cairoli leading during the whole first stint, the Huber Motorsport entry lost some ground due to a tricky track-limits management and to a crash when Fittje was at the wheel, relegating the German team to a couple of laps behind the leader. However, the #20 team kept doing its best: the Huber Motorsport car brought itself back on the podium battle thanks to Matteo’s incredible pace in the night stints, Heinemann closing the fastest lap of the race (overall record on the Belgian track) and a spectacular performance from Cairoli on Sunday. Matteo got back into the Huber Motorsport cockpit for the last few stints, where he brought the car to the first position in the Bronze Cup thanks to an amazing pace and thrilling overtakes, finally being able to maintain the lead up until the checkered flag. It’s the second success for Cairoli in the most prestigious endurance races, as he won the 2021 edition of the 24h of the Nordschleife: with this win Matteo not only wrote a page of history of the Italian motorsport, but also put his name between the best GT drivers, proving to be one of the fastest both on race pace and pure speed.
“It was a challenging weekend, also due to the horrible news that affected everyone. I want to express my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Dilano Van’t Hoff. On the sports side, I’m obviously very happy with the result that we were able to achieve. Racing with other 70 cars made the track very dirty and difficult to understand, and the weather conditions – mostly at the beginning of the race – surely didn’t help. I’m very proud of what we have done: the qualifying was really exciting and I’m happy to have gifted Porsche with their very first pole position here, and the race proved that we should never give up and try our best from the beginning to the very end despite whatever situation we are in. I want to thank Huber Motorsport from the bottom of my heart as they gave me this opportunity and for the incredible car they prepared. The work done with my teammates Antares, Jannes and Tim was amazing as we never stopped believing and did our best. It’s a result that I will remember forever and I’m really really proud of what we achieved”.