Hot on the heels of her maiden points at Motorland Aragón, Belén García is ready to get back behind the wheel of the 360 Racing Team’s #25 Ligier JS P320 with British teammate Mark Richards. Together, the two drivers will have one single goal: accelerate their upward trajectory in the Michelin Le Mans Cup with another strong result at Spa-Francorchamps.
On the strength of her successful start both on and off the track, Belén García heads into the penultimate round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup calendar, intent on confirming her rapid rise through the endurance racing ranks. After a brilliant performance which saw her finish fifth in Motorland Aragón, the native of L’Ametlla del Vallès now heads to one of the most iconic tracks in motorsport, Spa-Francorchamps.
« I’ve already been once to Spa, but I don’t really have much experience there », says Belén. « We didn’t run a lot there when I was competing in the W Series, and all the running happened in the wet. I feel more comfortable in the wet now, so I’m prepared for anything, and everyone knows the weather can change quickly at this track. It seems like it will be a weekend in the dark, so we might have to improvise and work on being flexible but it is something we all have to deal with. I am also confident after testing in all sorts of mixed conditions in Portimão, where I felt ultra-fast, so we’ll see how it goes and I’m truly looking forward to enjoying any conditions we’ll have! »
Dreaded and feared by its very nature, the Belgian circuit is also one of the most demanding ones on the planet with its elevation changes and technical corners putting the emphasis on set-up and driving finesse. Hard working as ever, the 24-year-old driver focused on the many challenges awaiting to leave no stone unturned with the assistance of the Centro De Alto Rendimiento in Sant Cugat del Vallès.
« I did my usual preparation, mainly focusing on training and sim work, but this round has more significance for me as I had a huge crash there in 2021 », explains Belén. « I felt like I needed to work on my mental approach, so I’ve trained slightly differently for this one. I’ve always used the psychology aspect of the sport as I think it’s tremendously useful to be in a good mindset and headspace. We’ve done everything needed to put ourselves in a position of control to anticipate anything that can happen there. We will also race with Dilano in our hearts, so we worked a lot as it made things more real. Now, I honestly feel ready to go, even if I know it will be hard in some ways. »
Still tacking her telematics engineering studies at La Salle Campus alongside her racing programme, the Catalan driver is determined to keep moving up the leaderboard in Belgium The RACC Mobility Club supported driver will team up again with Briton Mark Richards, whose experience at Spa last year could be key for the duo.
« I think the main challenge will be getting quickly up to speed as it’s a long track, and you can lose a lot of time in tiny things, with lots of corners and straights », explains Belén. « When you add it all up, the differences can be huge. I have never driven here with this car or in the dry, so I will need to gather as much information and experience as soon as possible in the first sessions to hit the ground running. It will be a proper challenge, but having Mark’s experience is a tremendous advantage and can definitely help to put ourselves in a good position. »
Despite the challenges awaiting, Belén García remains determined to reach her goals, starting with another strong result as the Michelin Le Mans Cup enters the home straight.
« The season has gone by so fast and there are only two races to go », she concludes. « Racing is my passion and I would have loved to do more, but that’s racing. At the same time, I am thrilled because I’ve learned so much during the season. I feel like our work paid off in the previous round, so it’s been truly worth it so far. Points have always been the goal this season, so it felt like redemption after coming so close even when luck wasn’t on our side. Big points are now our target, but we definitely want more and race again among the frontrunners! »
Forty-one cars will be on track at Spa-Francorchamps, including 28 LMP3s alongside Belén García. She will get behind the wheel of her 5.6L V8-powered Ligier to rediscover the Belgian track from the first collective tests on Wednesday before two free practice sessions on Friday to fine-tune the set-up and strike the perfect compromises. Qualifying will be entrusted to Mark Richards according to the regulations on Saturday at 12:20 pm, just a few hours before the 110-minute race starts at 4:05 pm.