Sights set on overall victory, whilst looking ahead to the future: BMW M Motorsport is focussing on two main sporting priorities at the highlight of this season’s FANATEC GT World Challenge Europe, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). In the race, Walkenhorst Motorsport, armed with the BMW M6 GT3 and a host of BMW works drivers, will be out to claim the team’s second overall victory, having previously won in 2018. The new BMW M4 GT3 will complete a number of demo laps after Superpole on Friday. Not only will the car be presented, but also the hybrid steering wheel, developed in collaboration with FANATEC. The flood disaster in Germany and Belgium is another important topic. Among other things, the BMW Group is donating 1.5 million euros to support the rescue services in the disaster areas. As an expression of sympathy, the BMW race cars at Spa-Francorchamps will bear the message ‘We stand together’.
As in the races already completed in this season’s Endurance Cup – at Monza (ITA) and Le Castellet (FRA) – Marco Wittmann (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and David Pittard (GBR) will compete in the #34 BMW M6 GT3 for Walkenhorst Motorsport. Timo Glock, Martin Tomczyk (both GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) will share the wheel of the #35 car. Both crews recently finished in the top ten in the 1000 km of Paul Ricard. The team receives support from BMW M Motorsport partners Akrapovič, BMW M Performance Parts, CATL, MultiBank, and Shell with the running of both cars.
Spa-Francorchamps was the scene of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s greatest success so far. The team from Melle (GER) took overall victory in 2018. Three years prior to that, Glock was among those who caused quite a stir when he shared the driving duties in a BMW Z4 GT3, sporting a Michel Vaillant look, with Bruno Spengler (CAN) and BMW brand ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA). Thanks to BMW M Motorsport Team Boutsen Ginion Racing, this year’s starting grid will again feature a BMW car with a Michel Vaillant design. In the Pro-Am Cup, BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (GER) races alongside Karim Ojjeh (KSA), Jens Liebhauser (GER) and Yann Zimmer (SUI) in the #10 BMW M6 GT3.
Glock and Klingmann will play a main role in a joint show event, put on by BMW M Motorsport and series partner FANATEC after Friday evening’s Superpole. The two BMW works drivers will complete a number of demo laps in the new BMW M4 GT3, during which they will demonstrate the globally unique feature of the steering wheel. It was designed to be used in both a real race car and a race simulator. To showcase this, Glock and Klingmann will use the identical steering wheel in both the car’s cockpit and a simulator.
The BMW M4 GT3, which caused people to sit up and take notice a few weeks ago with the best time at the official tests at Spa-Francorchamps, will be on display in the paddock all weekend. From 2022, the BMW M Motorsport teams will do battle for victories and titles around the world with the new GT flagship.
Quotes ahead of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:
Mike Krack (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “This 24-hour race is particularly poignant given the catastrophic flooding we have experienced, some of which has been very close to the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps racetracks which we all love so much. Our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the floods. From a sporting point of view, our goal is to bid farewell to the BMW M6 GT3 by adding another success to the outstanding record it has enjoyed at Spa-Francorchamps in the past. The car took overall victory in 2016 and 2018, and I am confident that Walkenhorst Motorsport can play a major role again this year. Furthermore, we are heralding the era of the new BMW M4 GT3 with a number of demonstration laps. It gave an indication of what sort of speed it is capable of a few weeks ago, at the official tests, even if that was without any opposition and in a classification of its own. We are looking forward to a varied weekend.”
Niclas Königbauer (Team Manager Walkenhorst Motorsport): “This weekend, we return to the scene of the Walkenhorst Motorsport team’s greatest success to date. We know that the BMW M6 GT3 is strong at this circuit, and want to mix it at the front of the field again in the car’s final race at Spa-Francorchamps. We have fantastic drivers, who are definitely capable of challenging for the podium, and hopefully even the win.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “I’m really looking forward to racing at Spa together with Marco Wittmann and David Pittard and trying to win again for Walkenhorst Motorsport, who have shown before how strong the team and the BMW M6 GT3 are on that track. I think it would be the perfect farewell for the car in its last year. We had strong pace in the last race at Le Castellet but couldn’t bring it home so we have some unfinished business. I would love to win this race, after having finished third there in 2018 – behind two BMW M6 GT3s…”
Timo Glock (#35 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “I am really looking forward to driving in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps again, having appeared alongside Alex Zanardi and Bruno Spengler last time out at this event. Unfortunately, on that occasion we only managed 23.5 hours instead of 24. As such, our goal for this year is obviously to finish the race – and, if possible, in a good position. It is a very special race. The circuit is simply outstanding, and Spa-Francorchamps always guarantees good racing. For this reason, I am looking forward to taking on the race together with Martin Tomczyk, Thomas Neubauer and Walkenhorst Motorsport. I am excited to see how it plays out, and am looking forward to the challenge of the 24 Hours of Spa.”
Jens Klingmann (#10 BMW M6 GT3, Boutsen Ginion Racing): “For me, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the biggest GT3 race in the world, with more than 60 cars in the starting line-up. Together with Boutsen Ginion Racing and my fellow drivers in the Pro-Am class, I will be striving to finish for the family, even if the class is a very strong one. I am also really looking forward to the show run in the BMW M4 GT3. It is a great honour to present the car to the fans and the other teams on this occasion.”