After last year’s shock win in the Spa 24 Hours, Walkenhorst Motorsport returns this week to the circuit in the Ardennes as the defending champion. Piloting the BMW M6 GT3 alongside works drivers Nick Catsburg and Mikkel Jensen is Walkenhorst’s very own Christian Krognes. The Norwegian is the only returning driver on the winners’ car.
“Heading into Spa as the defending champions is a great feeling,” Krognes says. “I feel like we are more in place than last year as we didn’t kind of know that we could – we hoped that we could, but we never pulled something like that off before. We are all going into this race with a huge chunk of self-belief in many ways. It’s a different line-up of drivers but I think we are just as strong as last year. Mikkel and Nicky have been extremely impressive in all the intercontinental GT rounds so far.”
Without a career as a professional race car driver, Krognes is mainly dependent on Walkenhorst’s program to build flying hours. In addition to the usual Nürburgring campaign where the team races with Yokohama tyres, the team takes on the full Intercontinental GT Challenge.
“I’ve learnt a great deal this year. I don’t have a lot of experience with the Pirellis [used in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT] and going back and forth with the Yokahamas to the Pirellis all the time and the GT3 spec on the Nordschleife is quite different, so I still feel that I’m… Not lagging behind, but I have things that I need to learn there and gain on,” he explained.
“Especially at Laguna Seca I feel like I learned a great deal driving with Mikkel and Nicky. I couldn’t get up to speed there as I wanted to and I analysed that extensively over the last couple of months and I’ve tried to develop a new driving technique on the Nordschleife and bringing that out to Spa, I hope it will bring me another couple of tenths and more places compared to last year.”
After a disappointing Nürburgring 24 Hours for BMW, Spa is the perfect place for redemption as the brand from Bayern leads the all-time wins list for the endurance classic.
“I’m very excited and I’m sure the whole team is as well. We have the car and the support from BMW, everything is in place for a good result and I’m sure BMW are putting an extreme amount of focus on this one, seeing as the season so far hasn’t worked out for them so far. I’m massively looking forward to that.”