Walkenhorst locks in BMW return to B12hr

SPA 24 HOUR winners Walkenhorst Motorsport will to return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, following confirmation that they will contest the full 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge. 

BMW Motorsport confirmed plans for the team to contest the GT series at the BMW Motorsport season gala overnight, Australian time.

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“Bathurst is such an unique place, the atmosphere brilliant and the track so extreme challenging that we as Walkenhorst Motorsport promised ourselves ‘we will be back soon’ after our first experience in 2017, where we had to learn the hard way that the track is an zero mistake one,” said Team Manager Niclas Königbauer told bathurst12hour.com.au.

“The race is challenging on many different ways, it is hard on the cars, the pit stop crew has to be perfectly trained and synchronized as there is no minimum pit stop time, the drivers have to keep their focus to 100% over the whole stints and there is no room for error around the track while fighting for position or overtaking cars from different classes.

“Our team will participate the whole Intercontinental GT Challenge and we are looking very forward to the challenges we will have this year.”

BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt confirmed that a second team for their expanded ICGT attack would be announced at a later date.

Walkenhorst has confirmed that Spa 24 Hour winner Christian Krognes is set to form part of the driving squad, while Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk were also confirmed as ICGT drivers for BMW, likely in the second entry from the marque.

28-year-old Norwegia Krognes has raced with Walkenhorst since 2016 in Blancpain GT and VLN endurance races at the Nurburgring.

He, with co-drivers Tom Blomqvist and Philipp Eng, also headed the BMW 1-2 for Walkenhorst in this year’s Spa classic.

A Bathurst start in 2019 will mark their second visit to Mount Panorama – though their first, in 2017, was not as successful as hoped by the team.

With a squad including Jorg Muller, Nico Menzel and Ricky Collard the team was expected to be a strong contender given the strength of the BMW M6 GT3 at Mount Panorama, however a heavy crash in practice saw them fail to make the race start.

The team are regular contenders in the Nurburgring-based VLN Endurance series alongside starts in other major GT3 events.

Outside of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, Mount Panorama has become one of the best circuits for BMW’s M6 GT3.

Though yet to score a major result, the one-lap pace of the car has been stunning since its debut in 2017.

Three M6 GT3s qulified in the Pirelli Shootout that year, Chaz Mostert qualifying second in a MARC Cars Australia run example.

Mostert then went one better this year when he stormed to pole in a car entered by BMW Team Schnitzer.

The best finish for the car also came this year, Steve Richards, Philipp Eng and Timo Glock finishing ninth outright in the BMW Team SRM Entry.