The two BMW M6 GT3s finished in fifth and eighth positions in the “California 8 Hours”, the second of five races in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Augusto Farfus (BRA), Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Chaz Mostert (AUS) from the BMW Team Schnitzer crossed the finishing line in Laguna Seca (USA) in fifth place after 326 laps. They had recorded the same result at the season-opener in Bathurst (AUS). The Walkenhorst Motorsport drivers Nick Catsburg (NED), Mikkel Jensen (DEN) and Christian Krognes (NOR) secured eighth place in Laguna Seca.
The two BMW M6 GT3s started the 8-hour race from sixth and seventh positions, in sunny but cool conditions. Jensen performed strongly in the opening stint in the #34 car, moving into third place directly from the start and then handing the BMW M6 GT3 over to Catsburg in fourth position. Tomczyk got held up in the tightly-packed midfield, which cost him some time.
The #42 BMW M6 GT3 continued to improve as the race progressed, staying just ahead of the #34 car at the halfway point. A drive-through penalty for Tomczyk after his collision with an Audi saw the two cars swap places for a while, but the BMW Team Schnitzer prevailed to finish in fifth place. Walkenhorst Motorsport also received a drive-through penalty for being under the minimum pit-stop time, which set the team back by several places. Victory was claimed by Ferrari with the #27 car.
In the GT4 class, Daren Jorgensen, Brett Strom and Jonathan Miller (all USA) secured second place in the BMW M4 GT4 from RHC Jorgensen/Strom by Strom Motorsport.
There will now be a longer break until the third race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season. The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) is scheduled to take place on 27th/28th July.
Reactions to the race in Laguna Seca:
Augusto Farfus (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“I think that fifth place was the very best that we could achieve. We did not have the best car for this circuit, but we got the best out of our package. This means that we are still in the running in the championship. Of course, we would like to get wins and podiums, but fundamentally it is about staying within striking distance of the leaders. We managed that today.”
Martin Tomczyk (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“I am very sorry about the collision with Markus Winkelhock. I was really close to him in the Corkscrew turn, then I lost some downthrust on the front axle and hit him in the rear end. This caused him to spin around. Things like that shouldn’t happen, but they unfortunately do occur in motorsport. This incident was my fault and I have no complaints about the drive-through penalty. In general, it is very difficult to overtake on this circuit. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of ground early on. Our speed was very good later on, but the gap to the podium positions was already just too large in such a tight field.”
Chaz Mostert (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“That was my first time driving in Laguna Seca. Many thanks to BMW M Motorsport and the BMW Team Schnitzer for this fantastic opportunity. I think that fifth place is not such a bad result, all in all. I am already looking forward to the next chance to drive for BMW. I feel right at home in the BMW Team Schnitzer.”
Nick Catsburg (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“I am not displeased with that. If you take the extremely slippery track and the heavy tyre wear into account, then eighth place is OK. Circuits that demand a lot from the tyres do not suit the BMW M6 GT3, so we knew that this would not be easy.”
Mikkel Jensen (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“The circuit here in Laguna Seca is legendary. It is every racing driver’s dream to drive here one day and this dream has now come true for me. Unfortunately, the track is very slippery and we were not able to get the maximum level of grip. This does not suit our BMW M6 GT3, as it performs at its best when it can take plenty of grip and speed through the turns. That was not the case here.”
Christian Krognes (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“We had the speed to compete with the leaders. However, the key thing was to take care of the tyres on a circuit that was very slippery. We tried to keep them alive for as long as possible.”