At only 17 years 6 months and 22 days old, Benjamin was the youngest entrant on the grid of 179 drivers – including some of the highest rated factory racers, former F1 stars and world champions, some with up to 30 years of racing experience.
Although endurance racing is not new to Benji – who finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Barcelona in 2019 – the 2020 running of the iconic 24 Hours of Spa turned out to be tougher than ever before in the event’s 72-year history. Due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, the race was held in October instead of mid-July, which resulted in 14 hours of darkness and the worst of the ever-challenging weather conditions.
Despite all the obstacles thrown his way, the Bullet Athlete got up to speed immediately. Alongside his long-time driver coach Stuart Hall (GB) and young GT talent Rik Breukers (NL), the #33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT crew qualified P25 overall (third place in the Silver Cup) for the biggest GT race in the world.
Unfortunately, the race started poorly, as the #33 Audi R8 LMS was thwarted by a short pit stop and a couple of penalties, which dropped it down the order. But that didn’t stop young Benjamin from showing what he’s made of; the 17-year old delivered a display of mature racing, matching the pace of the front-runners.
By Sunday morning, after a long and difficult night, the #33 Audi was up to P4 in Silver Cup. With four hours to go, heavy rain started to fall and Benji’s race was cut short when he lost control of the car at Eau Rouge and hit the barriers. Fortunately, Benjamin got out of the car uninjured, but the #33 Audi was forced to retire.
Benjamin Goethe: “It just wasn’t meant to be for us this time – it was a tough race with some tricky conditions but we showed good pace. I’ve learned a lot this weekend. Big thanks to Team WRT and to my teammates Stuart and Rik for all the hard work. We will be back next year!”
Benjamin now returns to the U.K. to continue his studies at Millfield School and also to start driving lessons to prepare for his driving test. His next race is in three weeks’ time at the Paul Ricard 1000km on 13-15 November.