The Customer BMW team would field the Total & Yokohama supported M6 GT3 car with a top line up compromising of Christian Krognes, David Pittard, Mikkel Jensen and Jordan Pepper to fight for overall honours of the worlds toughest race!
The Yokoham’s dry weather pace isn’t under question at all. Having finished on the podium from 4 of the 5 NLS races leading upto the N24hrs, however the wet weather tyre is still under development meaning the team would be compromised if the track were to be wet. With the race having the most unpredictable weather in its normal calendar slot of May, the new slot of September would prove to be even more unpredictable!
Having already made the criteria to qualify for Top 30 Qualifying, the 3 qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday were extended test sessions to fine tune the M6 GT3 to the dry conditions, however the weather was firmly looking wet for the weekend…. Very wet!
The first rain fell on Friday, more specifically for the Walkenhorst car, it would affect the Top30 qualifying and determine the starting grid for the race. Christian Krognes was nominated for the Top shootout, and a drying race track greeted him, prompting an extremely late and aggressive tyre call for cut slicks again!
Christian did a great job to hold the car on track for the first 2 laps, and as others wet tyres were overheating, Christian made the perfect balance between attack and caution to qualify the car P9, a great start for the race.
“With the expected extreme wet weather reported for the race, our game plan changed to try and wait for the dry track to appear, wait for a Red Flag due to the weather and avoid more time loss, then wait for the better weather on Sunday to attack”
Chris would start the race, dropping back to within the top15 and all drivers would take a turn before the extended darkness would set in. Hovering around the top15-20, the drivers would crucially keep the car on the lead lap in P13 before the red flag was called at just before midnight and a minimum 7 hour race suspension was called.
Chris would again take the restart and charged up the field from P13 to run P8 before the pitstops and was able to run 1 lap longer than the rest of the field to briefly lead the race before handing over to Mikkel Jensen. As the track moved away from wet to damp, the #101 car lost some of its pace meaning it hovered outside the top10, however with 4 corners to go on his stint, Mikkel had an off and clipped the barrier bending the rear suspension meaning an extended stop which lost the car a lap to the leaders. As the #101 was one of the last cars on the lead lap, we had a comfortable margin to the cars behind and after the long stop David exited the pits inside the top15 with around 4hours to go. After the long pitstop, any good result was unfortunately out of the question and the team and drivers bought the car home eventually in P12.
“Overall I think we were pretty disappointed with the result after the expectations we set ourselves, however we can’t predict or control the weather, especially in the Eifel. The positives were that we learned a lot about the rain tyre and the intermediate tyre and we have made a big jump in progress with both tyres. However we still need to find the last chunk which is always the hardest to find. It was a pleasure to run with such a competitive team and line up but these big events only happen once a year and we can’t afford to have an off day and unfortunately our off day came this weekend. I hope to get another opportunity like this again.”
Check out David’s race weekend VLOG below: