A Good Day For BMW At The 24 Hours of Spa

by Jean-Paul Hackett
Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), 29th July 2018. 70th edition 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Team of #34 BMW M6 GT3 - Walkenhorst Motorsport: Tom Blomqvist (GBR) Philipp Eng (AUT) Christian Krognes (NOR) and #99 BMW M6 GT3 - ROWE Racing: Jens Klingmann (GER) Nick Catsburg (NED) Alexander Sims (GBR)

After a long, tough 24-hour race, there was an unbridled joy for the BMW teams. Walkenhorst Motorsport and ROWE Racing recorded a one-two result for BMW at the 70th edition of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

BMW works drivers Philipp Eng and Tom Blomqvist topped the podium with their team-mate Christian Krognes, triumphing after 511 laps in the #34 BMW M6 GT3.

“That is just unbelievable. I am simply delighted to have won the race for a second time, ahead of such a tight field with these great drivers and cars”, said Phillip Eng.

“Our BMW M6 GT3 ran incredibly well, and my two team-mates were legendary. There is so much going through my head right now. I am overjoyed for the whole Walkenhorst Motorsport crew and for the BMW Motorsport guys here at the circuit and in Munich. Now I am looking forward to a cold drink.”

This was a maiden Spa victory for the Walkenhorst Motorsport team, which was competing in the PRO Cup for the first time.

The ROWE Racing #99 BMW M6 GT3 crossed the line ten seconds after the winner to claim second place. The three BMW works drivers Jens Klingmann, Alexander Sims and Nick Catsburg rounded off the one-two result for BMW.

Alex Sims told us, “I’m very pleased to be back on the podium. I won it with Maxime Martin and Philipp two years ago. I’m very, very proud of all the ROWE Racing guys and BMW Motorsport. They did an awesome job with this one-two victory. It’s a shame it wasn’t the first place for us, but I’m very, very pleased with second place and proud of what we achieved.”

This success marks the 24th overall win for BMW at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and the first one-two result since 1997. BMW is by far the most successful brand in the history of the legendary race. BMW has claimed three wins in the last four races at Spa (2015, 2016 and 2018).

This year’s race was characterised by several yellow flag and safety car periods and was red-flagged for nearly two hours after a severe night-time accident.

The ROWE Racing #98 BMW M6 GT3 started from 27th position and was also involved in the battle for victory for a considerable period. However, Marco Wittmann, Jesse Krohn and BMW Motorsport Junior Ricky Collard had to retire overnight due to a technical issue.

The fourth BMW M6 GT3 to compete, the #36 Walkenhorst Motorsport car, was in action in the AM Cup. The driving quartet of Henry Walkenhorst, Ralf Oeverhaus, Anders Buchardt and Immanuel Vinke secured fifth place in class and finished 38th overall.

Jens Marquardt, the BMW Motorsport Director, concluded, “Congratulations to the Walkenhorst Motorsport team on their victory in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. After 2016, this is now the second time that the BMW M6 GT3 proved unbeatable at the world’s largest GT race. This 24th triumph has cemented our position as the most successful manufacturer by far at the Spa 24-hour race. The fact that Jens Klingmann, Alexander Sims and Nick Catsburg also reached the podium, finishing second in the ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 and completing a one-two result, makes the 70th edition of the 24-hour race at Spa just perfect. Now we can celebrate.”

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