Excited and ready to go, Matias Henkola is closing in on his Total 24 Hours of Spa debut. On the back of a VLN podium finish, the Finnish driver from Porvoo returns behind the wheel of the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 to take on the Ardennes classic and make a bid for Pro-Am victory.
“The 24 Horus of Spa was in my mind always the big one for 2017,” Henkola explains his excitement for the upcoming twice round the clock. “I had some options to race with other teams, but getting to do it with Walkenhorst, which I consider to be ‘my team’, is something special.
“It’s their first season in Blancpain GT and I know it’s been Henry Walkenhorst and Niclas Königbauer’s dream for some years to do the 24 Hours of Spa. It’s great to be on this journey together with people who are as excited as I am for the debut.”
Alongside Henkola in the BMW Motorsport Juniors-supported number 35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 will be regulars Christian Krognes and Nico Menzel, as well as 2015 race winner and compatriot Markus Palttala, making for one of the strongest Pro-Am entries.
“I feel super lucky to race with these guys. Christian and Nico are probably some of the strongest Silvers in the field. And to have Markus as our lead driver, that’s just amazing. It’s a strong package. Not only are all the guys very good drivers, but even more importantly, they’re mega cool guys.
“As the Bronze driver has a minimum driving time of six hours, my pace will be key to where we end up. I’ve gotten a lot of help from the guys already in terms of preparation and it’s always nice to go into a race knowing you have a lineup where all guys have each other’s back.”
The task ahead now, Henkola says, is keeping it cool and going for the class win.
“We’re definitely aiming to win Pro-Am. I think our biggest challenge will be to get through 24 hours of traffic and to stay out of trouble. We have the speed; we don’t need to push to the limit to be competitive.
“The M6 suits the track, is reliable, and even though we don’t have the best Balance of Performance, a steady car will make it easier to run consistently fast stints.”
First training for the Total 24 Hours of Spa begins this Tuesday with the Bronze test for which Henkola is eligible. The race starts on Saturday at 16:30 CET and can be followed live on www.blancpain-gt-series.com.