With no spectators there was no parade, an iconic event at the Spa24hrs, which gave a much more down to business feel to the event, no press, no autograph session, just racing!
Coming off of a strong result from Indianapolis, the cooler conditions also help the M6 in its tyre life and power, meaning BMW had a strong car for the event and looked to strengthen their manufacture championship lead in the IGTC.
Having missed the Spa test due to the extremely tight logistics schedule of the 1-2 the Indianapolis 8hrs, Thursday started very well with the #34 car finishing up Free Practice in P2 and Pre-Qualifying in P1 and #35 finishing up P12, which set a very high standard going into qualifying. However again due to the nature of 2020 and the late nature of this years race, the rain came for the Qualifying sessions to enter the Top20 shootout. Walkenhorst having contested the Spa24hrs for multiple years and experiencing the race in all conditions, however for qualifying the BMW cars found themselves lingering down in P24 & P32. However with a 24hrs ahead, a strong result was still well and truly on the cards!
The race weather was again very unpredictable in typical Spa fashion. Very similar to the Nurburgring 24hrs, even in the Summer this race can be red flagged for extremely bad weather, and this race didn’t quite have a weather warning, but the weather was far from straight forward. Starting the race in the dry, Tomczyk pulled off an incredible first stint to bring the #35 car upto P23 which was hugely impressive in such a competitive field before handing over to David.
The first 1/2 of the race would be plagued with set backs for the #35 car, Nick Yelloly had an off at Les Combes, breifly getting stuck in the tyres before getting the car going again, unusually high brake ware caused the #35 car to complete its 5min technical pitstop under green rather than waiting for a Full Course Yellow or Safety car, a drive through and then the rain came in the middle of the night. However all 3 drivers drove hard through the longest night to keep the #35 car in contention within sight of the lead lap by dawn.
However the fight back wasn’t to amount to anything as on the drying track, Tomczyk dropped a wheel onto the wet part of the track at Blanchimont, one of the fastest parts of the track and a large impact caused terminal damage, finishing Walkenhorsts hope of a strong result. Luckily Martin emerged unharmed from the destroyed BMW M6 GT3.
“It was a shame not to get to the end for this one. I wanted to at least finish and see where we ended up in arguably one of the most competitive Endurance races of the year. I am glad that Martin was able to walk away unscathed from a sizeable off.
I was happy with my performance, running with the top5 after our strategy allowed us to run with the leaders for part of my stints, setting the fastest lap for a BMW in the race, driving 5.5hrs in 8hours from 11PM to 6AM in mixed conditions was a real test of my focus and endurance. A 3 man 24hr race doesn’t leave you with much rest and it was an amazing to challenge for top positions with such compeitive opposition!”
The final round of the IGTC, the Kyalami 9hrs is due to take place in South Africa on December 13th, where BMW ran extremely strongly last year, they will be hoping to bounce back and end the season on a high.
Check out David’s race weekend VLOG below: