Nicky Catsburg said that having a clean run was key to victory in both Sunday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour and last weekend’s Nürburgring 24, as the Dutchman claimed a unique double of endurance race wins over a one-week period.
Catsburg helped take Walkenhorst Motorsport to a dominant win in the U.S. leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, just seven days after claiming overall honors at the Nürburging with fellow BMW squad ROWE Racing.
While facing a smaller grid of GT3 machinery in the first-ever professional long-distance endurance race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Catsburg’s co-drivers Connor De Phillippi and Augusto Farfus battled rain-soaked conditions in the opening stages of the race.
It helped set the stage for a commanding run by the German team, which scored BMW’s first IGTC win and its first 1-2 in the process.
“It’s very special to obviously have back to back wins,” said Catsburg. “Today was easier than expected, somehow. My teammates did a fantastic job.
“Connor De Phillippi, Augusto Farfus at the start, with no mistakes, which was the key to the success at the Nordschleife and again today.
“Team Walkenhorst did an unbelievable job with no mistakes. I only had to bring it back home.”
When asked what the keys to success were on Sunday, Catsburg said it wasn’t much different from those of a week ago, in a race that also saw treacherous conditions.
“You should just make no mistakes,” he said. “I think we had a really good setup for the dry.
“We always joke about it. Nobody wants to do the start in those wet conditions and then you have Augusto Farfus and you just know he’s going to bring it back without making any mistakes.
“That’s the key to success. We’ve been doing it two weeks in a row now and I’m super pleased to be here.”
Pittard: Walkenhorst Took Split Setup Approaches
David Pittard, who was part of the runner-up finishing No. 35 Walkenhorst BMW alongside co-drivers Martin Tomczyk and Nick Yelloly, said he felt his car had a slight advantage over the sister entry as the track started to dry in the early stages.
“When I jumped in we were going even — Connor and I — and it was important to pull a BMW 1-2 gap so I was happy to sit behind him,” Pittard said.
“We were quite split on setups between the two cars, which was great for Walkenhorst to have two cars and two options.
“I think the 34 car just had that edge on us. Nicky in particularly was absolutely flying.”
Pittard explained that the two BMWs took different approaches in setup, although ultimately didn’t make a significant difference by the end of the race.
“Since we had very little reference — and as the BMW project has been taken in-house by Walkenhorst rather than having the split teams we had last year — we could work much better with our engineers and drivers and went completely different with setup since Friday,” he explained.
“The 34 car went one way, the 35 car went the other with the idea of coming to the optimum setup for the race.
“However we stuck to our own guns since Friday. We felt what we had was the best and they felt what they had was the best.
“It’s really shown how close it is between the two cars.”