Spa 24H: Walkenhorst Motorsport secures record-extending Total 24 Hours of Spa victory for BMW at landmark 70th edition

Spa 24H: Walkenhorst Motorsport secures record-extending Total 24 Hours of Spa victory for BMW at landmark 70th edition

The #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 scored a truly memorable victory at the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa thanks to a superb team effort from the German squad and its driver trio of Philipp Eng, Tom Blomqvist and Christian Krognes.

It was a remarkable achievement for the Walkenhorst outfit, which was fielding the #34 BMW M6 GT3 as a one-off effort for the 70th edition 24 Hours and making its first appearance in the Pro class at Spa.

Its driver line-up had never previously contested a 24-hour race together and, while the squad has no shortage of experience as a full-time Blancpain GT Series entrant in the Am Cup category, its ability to beat the best GT racing teams in the world was nothing short of phenomenal.

While this was a memorable first for the team, for BMW the victory represented a record-extending 24th triumph at the Belgian endurance classic and a third in four years. Eng now has two wins at the Total 24 Hours of Spa to his name, having also triumphed in a BMW at the 2016 edition.

The #34 crew was among the front-runners throughout the race, moving into the lead by the nine-hour mark and remaining there into the early hours of Sunday morning. This proved their ability to manage the most challenging hours of an endurance contest, with the car navigating several full-course yellow periods during the 24 Hours.

Indeed, the Walkenhorst car was at the head of the pack when the race was red flagged for the only time following a sizeable accident involving the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley of Andy Meyrick and Jürgen Krebs in the #666 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Both men were extracted and transferred to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Walkenhorst car was shuffled back on pit strategy when the race hit three-quarters distance, but patient driving and a shrewd pit strategy eventually returned the #34 BMW to the front of the pack.

Their chief rival from the 18th hour onwards was another BMW M6 GT3, the #99 fielded by the ROWE Racing squad, which had made gradual progress from 11th on the grid.

The #99 BMW leapt up the order and into the lead during the morning hours, but the Walkenhorst machine remained within striking distance. Crucially, the #34 crew were able to reach the end of the race by making one fewer pit stop than the other BMW, which placed them back at the head of the order for the final quarter of the race.

They managed this high-pressure situation perfectly, edging away from the ROWE car over the final two hours to eventually claim victory by 10.4 seconds. The #99 BMW followed them home to secure a one-two finish for the Bavarian marque on a circuit it has enjoyed so much success on throughout the years.

The final place on the overall podium went to the #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, whose young crew of Kelvin van der Linde, Sheldon van der Linde and Jeffrey Schmidt delivered a performance that belied their years.

The Land car led at the six-hour mark and was a factor in the race from start to finish. The #29 Audi made more stops than any other top-20 crew, but the drivers – two of whom are silver-graded – delivered a mistake-free 24 Hours to secure their place on the rostrum.

Audi Sport Team Sainteloc narrowly missed out on backing up their win at last year’s race with another podium after running out of fuel during the final hour, costing the #25 R8 LMS significant time as it retuned to the pits. The #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon car of Maro Engel, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz completed the top five.

The #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 clinched the Pro-Am category and secured an excellent overall finish thanks to an accomplished comeback drive from Alexander Mattschull, Rinat Salikhov, David Perel and Daniel Keilwitz.

The crew made impressive progress during the 24 Hours, having qualified 11th out of 12 Pro-Am runners and 53rd overall. The Ferrari 488 GT3 moved into the lead during the final quarter of the race, then edged away to win their category by a lap.

They beat the #42 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which had led Pro-Am for much of the middle phase of the race but slipped to second during the closing hours.

Third place belonged to the #175 SunEnergy1 Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 machine, which took 20th spot overall. Indeed, all three of these Pro-Am cars finished among the top-20, with the winning Rinaldi-Ferrari an excellent 15th in the overall standings.

In the Silver Cup, the #12 Ombra Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was dominant at the head of the class for much of the race but had to fend off intense late pressure to secure victory.

The pole-sitting #54 Emil Frey Racing G3 Jaguar paced the early stages, but by the sixth hour the Ombra car had advanced to the head of the field, with the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 its closest rival.

This situation remained unchanged until the chequered flag fell some 18 hours later, but that tells only half of the story. With just 20 minutes to run the #12 Lamborghini came under huge pressure from the Barwell car, which almost forced its way past at La Source.

But Ombra pilot Alex Frassinetti held firm to secure class honours for the car he shares with Romain Monti, Andrea Rizzoli and Kang Ling. The Barwell-Lamborghini was next across the line, ahead of the #6 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG, which completed the podium after an excellent comeback drive from the very back of the grid.

While the Barwell squad could not quite secure Silver honours, they nevertheless took home a set of Total 24 Hours of Spa winners’ trophies thanks to their #77 Lamborghini Huracan GT3’s dominant Am Cup performance.

The Barwell machine assumed control at one-quarter distance and held its lead for the remainder of the race, spending more time at the head of its class than any other car in this year’s 24 Hours.

The crew of Leo Machitski, Richard Abra, Adrian Amstutz and Patrick Kujala finished five laps clear of their nearest Am Cup rival, the #9 Target Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, to seal the victory.

This was an especially sweet win for Amstutz, who was involved in a fiery accident during last year’s 24 Hours and required the bravery of track marshal Leen Coremans to save his life. 12 month later, he is a Total 24 Hours of Spa winner.

The Coupe du Roi, which rewards the manufacturer with the best results across Pro, Pro-Am and Am Cup at six, 12 and 24 hours, was won by Mercedes-AMG. The German marque was consistent across the categories and took home the award from a thrilling 70th edition of the Belgian endurance classic.

Philipp Eng, #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3: “This race is very exhausting. I must admit that I feel pretty tired, but I also feel very happy, especially for the Walkenhorst team. It’s the first time that they are running a Pro car at this amazing event and to come here and immediately win it is amazing. I am also very happy for my teammate Christian. He is not a professional driver and has a day job, but he put in a really good performance. Hats off to him, and to Tom of course. He was a legend, as always.”

Alexander Sims, #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3: “I know that Philipp’s ability is second to none and, realistically, I wasn’t going to be able to out-drive him today. We were on very similar strategies at the end of the race and I just kept on it to see what would happen. Full credit to the Walkenhorst guys, it’s fantastic to see them get this victory. I also want to say a huge thanks to ROWE, because our car has been reliable and fast. While we didn’t quite have the ultimate pace it’s been fantastic, and it’s very cool to get a one-two for BMW Motorsport.”

Kelvin van der Linde, #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS: “We pushed the whole way through and never gave up. Sometimes it went our way, sometimes not, but we really just drove like we were doing qualifying laps from start to finish. The car and the tyres stayed in one piece and we managed to bring it home. It’s Land’s first race in the Blancpain GT Series, and this is a fantastic result for them.”

David Perel, #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3: “A big, big thank you to Michele Rinaldi for giving me a chance to drive. For us to be here is so surreal. We did not have any issues and that is amazing. I had the same thing last year in the Am Cup car and I did not think that it could be repeated! Michele is a great engineer and gave us a perfect car.”

Kang Ling, #12 Ombra Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3: “It is unbelievable to win the Total 24 Hours of Spa on my first attempt. We had a very clean race. We were not the fastest, but we made no mistakes and I have three very strong teammates. I’m super, super happy about this result.”

Adrian Amstutz, #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3: “After my crash here last year I was not even sure that I would ever race again until this February. It is thanks to the marshals that I am here, especially Leen Coremans and Leopold Adriaans. Without them there would not have been a race for me today. I am eternally grateful.”

facebook feed

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

9 hrs ago

MotoGP

Throwing it back to the #Moto2 race of the #BritishGP 2012 🇬🇧

Enjoy the last laps battle for the 2nd place between Marquez and Redding! ⚔️

#MotoGP
... See Less

Comment on Facebook

Redding and Iannone can beat Marquez they just don't get competitive bikes

I was there.....Brilliant racing!!

Very drunk day but remember the race. Loved watching Scott race. All packed and ready for Silverstone Thursday morning.

Fantastic battle 👍

I was there, great finish. Home crowd went wild when Redding got back in front, then deadly silent when Marquez had a look up inside on last bend, then wild again when Redding cut back across. Amazing stuff!

Amazing

Great performance by Pol & Scott at the end💪🏼..that was a cracker💥..

Very nice

Very nice

All these guys are big talents. Many riders like Pol Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith, Antony West & many more are great riders and capable of winning championships ( capable ). People underestimate these guys by their bad results, but really..top material is key in these classes, especially in the MotoGp class. Give them a solid ride and they'll blow your mind

Redding never got the ride he deserved.

2019, #93 is the winner..😋🏁

special suter chassis for marc and mysterious team 😉 after marc step up to motogp, this team directly disappear, nobody know where are they now.

however Mac Marquez with his current performance does not have to be Marquez's best

Just shows how good Redding was but never really got the bike to really take it to them in Motogp.

Very cool video MotoGP. More like this one please!!!

Man, I miss Scott Redding in the padock "let's get it babi"

Muy buena carrera no apta para cardíacos 🤭🤭🤭

Luthi is moto2 governor.. 🤣🤣🤣

Forget just how good Redding could have been with a decent bike

now whrs redding? gone?

Nice to see maq battle for other place than 1st

Kaj mu je pa SCOTT REDDING naredil,šale in kape.😀

Bring back Redding

duel one on one in the final lap marquez lose .....

View more comments

12 hrs ago

MotoGP

The dramatic moment which cost Marc Márquez a shot at victory at Silverstone two years ago! 😱

The world champion's misfortune opened the door for Andrea Dovizioso to snatch the win! 💨

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
... See Less

Comment on Facebook

Good Day all.

Encore! Encore! Do it again!

Unlikely to be repeated! Hope Dovi brings his A game though. 👍🏼👍🏼

Gave the rest a chance

So what's new?? Sometimes these kind of technical failures happens in Motorsport... Very rare that engine blow sky high to premier class bike.

I love coming here and waiting for all the Yellow gob smokers.

I thought "the legend" was gonna win that day.. 😅

Was at this race, and that bike blowing up was almost as good as a Rossi win 😀

RAre footage for sure

Ah, I could watch that Honda blow up all day every day...

Alex Groenewold finger cross 😅👍.. voor komend weekend

#MM93 Come Back STRONGER! 💪💪💪😎👍👍👍

Fast forward >>>> he is the world champion!!

Wow

Wow

And finaly , the boss MM93 won the title one more time

Saya Mie Halim moh top fan sama sama

Nothing can stop him not even a broken bike ! Simply the king of MotoGP !

View more comments

14 hrs ago

F1

Cue the celebrations, Bob! 🍾👏 ... See Less

Comment on Facebook

“As you can see, I’m a bit high mileage” - 😂 - Bob’s funny! What a lucky guy - I’d give my right arm to work for F1❗️

( •_•) ( >💎 oh! Preciosa insignia! /︶\

Must be an awesome feeling..I certainly Would love to work with f1 even if it was to clean a window.

Nice. Long time lots of great words over the years

Awesome to get behind the scenes!

I love the voice of that guy

Cheers to the great Bob!!!

Amazing. I remember this voice. Thanks.

More than 660 wow ! I mean that’s amazingly nice, being with the next generation sharing your experience & catching something new from them it’s a nice way. Good going Bob keep it up & don’t forget to change the baton when you still can... 👍

Bobs Brilliant we love Bob in our house 👍🏻

Love these little insights into the F1 community 👍

It’s nice to now be able to put a name/face to the voice. Keep up the good work Bob. 🎤 🔈

Amazing with the “carmen opera” music

Awesome to put the face to the voice.

Hey I’m a top fan again, but it is really cool to put a face to the voice. I never really thought about it till I saw this

Big respect for Bob cheers 🍾🍾

I now have proof of what he does when he goes away. He is my legend

I should celebrate with champagne too after being promoted to top fan for god knows what reason 😂

Finally we get to see the man! 🙌🏻

I always wondered who did the podium announcements and if it was done locally or in England. 👍

Thanks for the Top Fan position!

Never seen the man behind the legendary announcements !

Wait, what if he is the meow guy! 😆

Always wondered who did the podium announcements and now we can put a face to the voice

660 races and counting .....give Bob some champaaaaaaaagne!! 🍾🍾

View more comments

Load more