A new challenge. The first half of the year for Theeba Motorsport in the GT World Challenge Europe has delivered a sharp increase in the level of competition in 2023, with huge grids and thrilling competition.
On the track, the results on paper have not been fantastic for Theeba Motorsport despite promising performances, but the team has continued to lay down foundations for success in the coming years. Here is our story of the season so far.
The GTWCE features the very best GT drivers and teams racing around plenty of iconic circuits, with the Spa 24 Hours as its biggest event, and has put Theeba Motorsport in amongst the very elite in this discipline of motorsport.
We also welcomed new faces into the team for 2023. Former single-seater star Ralf Aron joined the outfit for his full-time racing return, while Alain Valente offered crucial sportscar racing experience. We were also joined by Yannick Mettler and Fabian Schiller at different points in the year.
The year began with a fast and frenetic race at Monza, with the team in contention for a top-10 finish early on, highlighting fundamental pace within the Mercedes-AMG GT3 package, but still work to do to extract the maximum out of it.
Circuit Paul Ricard – a circuit that demands maximum precision from team and driver – was the next race of the season. The team bounced back from Monza and showed improved form from Monza, with fifth in qualifying.
In the race itself, Reema, Alain and Ralf all put in great performances to work into contention for a podium finish before a technical issue prematurely concluded what had been a really strong run until that point, highlighting the hunger and desire from the entire team for success.
The team showed true grit and determination at the demanding Spa 24 Hours. Qualifying was compromised after the timing of a red flag left the team towards the back when there was a realistic chance of a really strong grid position.
With some great driving from Yannick, Ralf and Reema, as well as a strong strategy call from the team, the #81 had worked its way up the order in the early stages as intermittent rain and Safety Cars affected the race.
The team continued on despite a suspension issue costing a large amount of time, but unfortunately an incident with a car which was stuck at the exit of Malmedy corner brought the race to an end for the team as night fell.
Sprint cup action for the first time this year followed, around a sweltering Misano. Fabian stepped in for Ralf who had other commitments and delivered a great performance in the first race of the weekend where, along with Reema who held her nerve in the heat, the team narrowly missed out on a podium finish, proving the highlight of that weekend.
A cold and damp weekend at the Nurburgring concluded this part of the year. The team was firmly in the mix throughout the three-hour event, engaging in a race-long fight over a top-six finish that sadly ended in contact, but underlining the positive steps forward shown by the team.
The team now looks to build on the potential showcased in the first half of the season to deliver some strong results before the end of our first year in GTWCE, as Team Founder Reema herself highlights.
In her words:
“This season has provided many challenges for us, but one we have faced with strength and determination. We have moved our headquarters this year, which has been a major step, and have continued to grow as a team.
The atmosphere at base and trackside has evolved considerably from last year, with everybody working jointly to achieve the best results that we can. We aim in the second half of the year to take everything up to that next step required to produce the results everyone has worked so hard for.
I have also been working closely with my new team-mates, learning from them and building a strong rapport between us. Alain’s experience of GT racing has been of huge benefit, and he has offered a fresh perspective, while Ralf’s raw ability is phenomenal, and he brings a lot of knowledge himself from his own career. Together, we are all pushing each other to that next level.
It is no secret that we haven’t yet achieved the results we would have liked in this highly competitive championship, but we are getting closer to a stage where we can stand on the podium and do so on a regular basis, aiming for that top step.”