Christian Krognes makes his 24 Hours of Spa debut this weekend with the Walkenhorst Motorsport team. A Nordschleife specialist and VLN champion, it’s a whole new adventure for the talented racer from Norway. Follow Krognes this weekend in his daily blogs as makes his attack for Pro-Am class victory.
For a GT racing driver there’s a couple of races each year that stand out from the rest. Particularly in Europe you have the 24 hours of Le Mans and Nürburgring – both multi-class racing events with incredible starting fields and a great variety of track tools.
This weekend we’re having the Total 24 hours of Spa in front of us, which in some ways differs a bit from the two mentioned above. As part of the Blancpain GT Endurance Series, the focus is mainly on GT3 categorized cars, and while one often tend to see ‘endurance specialists’ at Le Mans and the Nürburgring, the race at Spa offers perhaps a more unique mix of fully professional endurance drivers along with DTM-professionals, former F1 drivers, current GT3-factory drivers and more. It’s maybe the most competitive field on the GT calendar, and when you add in that it’s on one of the best race tracks in the world, you can’t ask for much more from a 24 hours GT3 race, I believe.
I’ve only had the pleasure of watching it by the great live streams the last couple of years, but his year I’m very excited to be part of it together with Walkenhorst Motorsport. Compared to actually most at the Blancpain GT Series, we’re a relatively young team—not at all stopping us from having solid goals and high expectations of ourselves. So far we’ve had promising pace at all the foregoing rounds of the championship despite our relative lack of experience, and together with Markus Palttala, Nico Menzel and Matias Henkola, we should have a line-up to fight for a victory in the Pro-Am category with our BMW M6 GT3.
Personally speaking, the Blancpain series has been a bit of touch and go this year. Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Spa have all been new tracks to me, as I’ve mainly used my time in various of categories in the VLN championship on the Nürburgring the last couple of years. It’s been a tight but good learning curve, and I’m just looking forward fully attack from the get-go here at Spa—as is also the rest of the team!
As the rookie I am at Spa, I was allowed to join the bronze test on Tuesday evening despite being a silver driver. This already showed positive signs. I ended up with the fastest lap of the session, and although it’s still early days, it’s always nice to have a good start in front of such a beat of a race weekend. Today was filled with more media-related events such as the annual parade down to the city centre of Spa with all the GT3 cars, where we had some time to chat with all the thousands of fans that already gathered around the track. A fantastic experience to say the least! It’s certainly a dream come true to be here, but already tomorrow it’s straight down to business as the qualifying sessions are ending close to midnight. We have a solid team around us, a very well engineered car and a great quartet of drivers, so let’s see what we can do!