Alex Fontana’s 24 Hours comes to a premature close


What is so great about motorsport is the emotion the sport is capable of transmitting. Alex Fontana took part in his first 24 Hours race on the occasion of the 2016 edition of the Spa marathon. The fourth round of the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup was a great thrill for the Swiss driver who, together with Andrew Watson and Struan Moore, nonetheless had to give up on his dream of seeing the chequered flag. With Watson at the wheel, the McLaren 650S number 59 had spent the first hour's racing climbing through the field, with Alex Fontana taking the wheel for his first stint during the third hour. Due to a long neutralization while the guard rail on the Kimmel straight was repaired, the pit crew led by Bas Leinders decided to give Fontana a double stint and when the safety car peeled off and the racing restarted he took the 650S into 2nd place overall. After a pit stop for refuelling and with the first set of new tyres fitted, Alex completed 50 laps before handing over to Moore at around 8:00 PM when on lap 87 Alex had taken the car back up to 6th place overall. As night fell however, Struan was involved in a collision that meant the pit crew had to repair the front end of the car, with over 12 laps having been lost. Back in the car during the night, Alex suffered a blown front tyre at 2:10 AM and was obliged to make an extra stop. With Moore having taken over the wheel, the Woking manufacturer’s young team finally had to surrender at 3:45 AM with a broken steering box. Victory went to the BMW M6 GT3 of Alexander Sims, Phillip Eng and Maxime Martin.

Alex Fontana
“Racing at Spa has always been a thrill for me. I won here in Formula 3, was on the podium in Formula 2 and always did well in GP3. On what was my debut with the GT I was certainly expecting a different outcome, but I think that while we were in a position to we actually had a great race. After my night stint I had gone to rest for a while and I only learnt about the retirement a few hours later. It’s a shame given all the work Andrew, Struan and I put in and the enormous efforts made by the whole team. Finding myself in 2nd place during my first driving stint was great, but I knew it was always going to be difficult to stay there. The top 20 was nonetheless within our grasp with 65 cars starting and following what had been a difficult qualifying session. Let’s hope we get a chance to put things right next year and also to close this season next month at the Nürburgring with another good performance.”