The Walkenhorst Motorsport team competed in the first two rounds of the 2022 Asian Le Mans Series season this weekend in Dubai. As in 2021, the series is racing in the Middle East this season due to continued pandemic-related travel restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region. The 2022 season consists of just four four-hour races; two at the Dubai Autodrome and two next weekend at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. After that, the season will be over.
The Asian Le Mans Series is populated primarily by European racing teams and there were 35 entries at Dubai, with most of them in the GT and GT Am classes. Walkenhorst Motorsport fields the only BMWs in the series, with Americans Chandler Hull and Jon Miller teamed up with works driver Nicky Catsburg from the Netherlands in the #34 M4 GT3, and team owner Henry Walkenhorst teamed with Jorg Breuer and Mario Von Boehlen in the #35 M4 GT3. So, we had a German racing team with German, Dutch, and American drivers competing in the Asian Le Mans Series in the Middle East.
The M4 GT3 is still early in its racing life, and this showed at Dubai. The #34 car qualified in sixteenth for race one and in thirteenth for race two, over a second off the pole time in race one and around seven-tenths off in race two. The #35 car didn’t qualify for race one and qualified 22nd for race two, well off the pace.
The #34 M4 GT3 fared better in race conditions, running as high as fourth and finishing a strong sixth in race one before the team was given a 70-second post-race penalty for a drive-time infringement (in which one of the drivers didn’t drive the minimum time required by the rules), which put them in tenth for the final results. On social media, Chandler Hull said the first race was “probably the most intense and best stint I’ve had in racing.” They then finished seventh in the second race. The #35 car finished twentieth in race one (out of 22 cars) and nineteenth in race two.
For more information on the series, visit the series website.—David Haueter
[Photos courtesy BMW Motorsport, Asian Le Mans Series.]