spa24walkenhorst35

Walkenhorst Racing was not able to build on its one-two finish in the 8 Hours of Indianapolis at this year’s running of the 24 Hours of Spa, the third race in the Intercontinental GT Challenge Series’ season. The team’s #34 M6 GT3, driven by Nick Catsburg. Philipp Eng, and Augusto Farfus was involved in an incident on Catsburg’s stint about three hours into the race. It went to the garage for radiator repairs, returned for a time, and was then retired. Martin Tomczyk, in the #35 M6 GT3 that he shared with David Pittard and Nick Yelloly crashed out in the early morning hours on Sunday; it was a significant hit, but Tomczyk emerged unscathed.

One M6 GT3 finished the race; the #10 Boutsen-Ginion car, running a striking art car livery by American artist Peter Halley, achieved fifth in the Pro-Am class with Jens Klingmann, Karim Ojjeh, Benjamin Lessennes, and Giles Vannelet at the wheel.

The overall win in the race, run in a combination of wet and dry conditions, went to Nick Tandy, Laurents Vanthoor, and Earl Bamber in the #98 Rowe Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. It was the second consecutive endurance win for Rowe; the previous win came in a BMW, when the team captured the Nürburbring 24 in September with an M6 GT3 driven by Nick Catsburg, Alexander Sims, and Nick Yelloly.

Walkenhorst team manager Niclas Königbauer said: “You have race weekends when everything goes well and then you have race weekends when a lot of things all go against you. We had a weekend like that here at Spa. There were some minor technical problems, bad luck, and misunderstandings in the race, which then led to accidents. Primarily, I am glad that the BMW M6 GT3 is such a safe car, as Martin Tomczyk’s accident was pretty bad. From a sporting point of view, we are unhappy with how it went at Spa. We put a lot of work into the preparations and of course we were hoping for a different result. Nonetheless, this event is still one of the highlights of our season and we are already looking forward to competing again with the BMW M6 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, at Kyalami in December.”

The 2020 IGTC season ends with the Kyalami 9 hours on December 10–12. SRO, the series’ sanctioning body, announced at Spa that the 2021 season will again be run with four races. The 12 hours of Bathurst, the first race in the season last year, was recently canceled for 2021. As such, the new season will begin with the 24 Hours of Spa, to be run again at its normal time of year, on July 31 through August 1, followed by the Suzuka 10 Hours in Japan on August 21–22, back on the calendar after being canceled this year, the Indianapolis 8 Hours on October 16–17, and the Kyalami 9 Hours on a December date to be determined.—Brian Morgan

[Photos courtesy BMW Motorsport.]

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