This weekend features another highlight of the endurance season – the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). For BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport, this also forms the third race of the season in the International GT Challenge. Walkenhorst Motorsport travels to the Ardennes as defending champion following last year’s victory in Belgium.
BMW teams claimed a stunning one-two at the 70th edition of the 24-hour race last year, with Walkenhorst Motorsport taking victory ahead of the ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3. This year, the team from Melle (GER) is back again to do battle at the head of the field. At the wheel of the #34 BMW M6 GT3 will be last year’s winner Christian Krognes (NOR), Mikkel Jensen (DEN) and Nick Catsburg (NED), who triumphed at Spa in 2015. The trio is contesting the full season for Walkenhorst Motorsport in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which includes the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
BMW Team Schnitzer also returns to Spa-Francorchamps in 2019 as a competitor in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After two fifth-places in the races so far at Bathurst (AUS) and Laguna Seca (USA), the two regular drivers, Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER) are currently third in the Drivers’ Championship. They will be ably assisted in Belgium by Nick Yelloly (GBR), who has driven the BMW M6 GT3 in the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER) and in the China GT Championship.
As well as the two BMW M6 GT3s in the Pro category, a further three cars will also race in the Am Cup. Walkenhorst Motorsport fields a second BMW M6 GT3 in this class, while Boutsen Ginion and 3Y Technology will each run a car.
Quotes ahead of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director):
“This weekend we return to the scene of many BMW victories in recent years and decades. The one-two for the BMW M6 GT3 and the first major endurance success for Walkenhorst Motorsport last year were fantastic achievements. In total, BMW cars have now won 24 times in the Ardennes, including three victories in the last four years. That is an outstanding record. This year, we once again line up with two teams that are capable of winning, in the form of BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport, who will also be doing their best to pick up as many points as possible in the third race of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge. I am delighted that we will also be represented in the Am Cup with three BMW M6 GT3s run by BMW customer racing teams. My fingers are crossed for all the teams and drivers.”
Augusto Farfus (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the biggest GT3 race in the world and also forms the highlight of the season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The points on offer here are crucial to our chances in the title races. As such, our goal is to challenge for the win and to continue the magnificent history that BMW has at this race. The test a few weeks ago went well. I am optimistic about the race.”
Nick Catsburg (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport):
“Since winning here for BMW in 2015, I always travel to the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – one of my favourite races – with very fond memories. The results in recent years have shown that BMW cars are always quick on this circuit. Furthermore, this year I am racing for last year’s winners, Walkenhorst Motorsport. We have a very strong line-up. I don’t see anything to suggest that we cannot challenge at the front again.”