RIYADH: Saudi racer Reema Juffali claimed victory in the Bronze Cup class at the grueling 24 Hours of Spa with her SPS Automotive Performance team in Belgium, but said that just finishing “was more than enough for me.”
Juffali shared driving duties with teammates Valentin Pierburg, George Kurtz and Tim Müller in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20.
Having produced a commanding performance to secure pole position, the quartet had to overcome a number of obstacles during the race including extensive repairs to their shock absorber before a not-at-fault collision with another team in the pit lane.
But they eventually battled back into the lead with Juffali crossing the finish line to secure first place.
“For me, just finishing the race was going to be an achievement in itself,” Juffali said. “We were always on our toes and we needed to keep evolving whether driving at night or avoiding the debris on the track. It was by far the most challenging and difficult race that I’ve been part of. When it came to the last few laps, I couldn’t believe that the race was coming to an end — it just felt like we had been driving forever.”
She added: “The podium finish was the icing on the cake and it made the race so much sweeter and more memorable but it really feels like my first 24 Hours race. The podium was a gift but finishing is more than enough for me.
“I definitely wouldn’t be here today without the team and my teammates and it wasn’t an easy feat to achieve and I am feeling very accomplished.”
As founder and one of the drivers of Theeba Motorsport, Juffali has been putting her skills and knowledge to the test during the International GT Open. She believes her experience in Spa will be invaluable for her development going forward.
“The experience that I have gained is everything,” she said. “We had so many good moments during the race and it will teach me so much going forward. If this is one of the toughest races out there, then I’m glad I have experienced this now. I don’t have any easy benchmarks now and I now have a good outlook going into the future races.”
The weekend also saw six female drivers including Juffali compete during the 24 Hours of Spa, with five triumphing in their class.
“It is really important to not just have females in the sport but also to see women competing in the top level and winning,” Juffali said. “This is what will change the conversation and allow the next generation to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.”