Spa24hrs 2021

NLS5&6 – The double header
October 25, 2021
GTWC R4 Nurburgring
October 25, 2021

Spa 24hrs 2021

After the successes of both GTWC Paul Ricard and NLS6, David and the team had high hopes going to the 2nd highlight event of the year, the Spa24hrs!

David’s 3rd year of the Spa24hrs and with the strongest line ups he’d be crewed with BMW DTM drivers Sheldon Van der Linde and Marco Wittman, and with the M6 notoriously going well at the Belgium track, this was a proper shot at winning one of the biggest races of the year!

After a successful test where the #34 topped the morning session and the #35 topped the afternoon session, testing continued to go well on the extremely busy Thursday of the Spa24hrs with ended in the #34 car qualifying P5 in the average times from the 58 Car grid, and firmly into the top20 shootout which would take place on Friday.

Also on Friday was the SRO E-Sports race, where in the same format, David would take part in the 1hr race to compete for real world championship points in the teams championship. However, this time having had some good practice and help from the BMW E-Sports team G2 Esports and top Sim racer Nils Naujoks David was more than ready to virtually go head to head with the other drivers and stated his intent in qualifying by qualifying P1 in the final seconds of the session!

David would drop from the lead at the start and tuck into P2, he survived an assault from another competitor at the end of lap1 which would be the only highlight in a relatively quite first stint… however after aceing his pitstop catapulted into the lead and would spend the rest of the race fighting for the win with Porsche Factory driver Matt Campbell and Emily Frey driver Arthur Rogier, with it coming down to the last corner last lap, David held off to take the race win, 3 team championship points and 6000E cheque for the team.

Then the main event, David was nominated starter again where he continued his impressive run of start to jump from P5 to P3 and run there for the first stint before a long safety car for a big accident at Radion. At the restart having dropped multiple places, the rain came, a quick decision to swap to wets saw the #34 car hovering around P10-P15 after 2.5hours where the track dried up again and Marco Wittman took over before handing over to Sheldon who was hit and had a puncture, almost putting the #34 car off the lead lap.

However with some rapid pace and help from a safety car, the 3 drivers bought the car back into the top6 at around the midnight mark after 8hours. However disaster struck for David at 02:00, immediately after the #35 car announced it retirement, an engine failure stopped the car on track and it was game over for the whole Walkenhorst team.

“It was awesome to start of one of the biggest races of the year. 50+ GT3 cars with the best drivers all thundering into Eau Rouge for the first time, and I made a good start to make up 2 positions. The rain was tricky for the M6 so we dropped back a little, but knew when it dried we’d be back in the game and the race came back to us. It was a shame Sheldon got the contact induced puncture which almost put us on the backfoot, but we held on and used the next safety car to jump back again. After that we were settling into a good night stint running P3 before the engine issue which was extremely frustrating. As the track rubbered in we were getting faster and faster and I think we would have been in a very strong place to challenge come the end of the race. It was great to be so competitive is such a strong field, but a shame something out of our control let us down again…”