Nicky Catsburg admitted that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is a “bit different” to the Nordschleife he competed on last weekend, en route to victory in the Nürburgring 24.
The Dutchman and fellow BMW driver Nick Yelloly are a part of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s two-car lineup in this weekend’s Indianapolis 8 Hour, less than a week after both took BMW to its 20th overall win in the German endurance classic.
“It feels better than usual,” Catsburg told Sportscar365 upon arriving at Indianapolis as a Nürburgring 24 winner.
“It’s my favorite event, pretty much. Then to win it is an awesome feeling.
“After winning Spa 24 Hours and adding this one, it feels good and super cool to win these races for BMW and it’s nice that I’ve gotten these opportunities.
“Here is a bit different. It’s very low grip level, small track. As always it’s a cool atmosphere in America even though it’s very different now in the COVID times. It’s nice to be here.”
Catsburg, who uniquely holds factory ties with three manufacturers, has been through a busy week that’s included a single-day test with Corvette Racing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Wednesday.
“This is one of the first times in my career that I went to a track, I drove out of the pit lane and I didn’t really know whether it was left or right,” he said of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“I saw some onboards but I usually always practice on the simulator. This time there was just no time.
“I want from the Nordschlefe pretty much directly to America for Corvette and now here.
“I felt really unprepared but that’s the way it is, unfortunately.”
While working with zero data, the German squad spent Friday’s paid test and Free Practice in coming to grips with the 2.4-mile circuit, in what marked the BMW M6 GT3’s first laps of The Brickyard.
Catsburg said they may be hoping for rain, which is currently in the forecast for Sunday’s race.
“We seem to be a bit slower than some of the competition,” he said. “We’ve struggled a bit with tire wear and we really haven’t found the right setup yet. Hopefully we can find it today.
“The goal for sure is a podium but I think it will not be so easy.
“Let’s see in the wet. It seems like it will be raining tomorrow so maybe we’ll be able to switch the tire on when others are not.
“Usually the M6 is pretty hard on its tires but that also means that they work quite well in the wet.
“Hopefully in the wet we’ll be a bit more competitive.”
Walkenhorst Not Thinking Championship Implications
Despite being a full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round entrant, Catsburg said there isn’t much focus on points due to the deflated nature of the global GT3 championship.
Catsburg and season-long co-driver Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert failed to score points in February’s season-opener at Bathurst due to overheating issues in the No. 34 BMW.
BMW Team RLL factory ace Connor De Phillippi has joined Catsburg and Farfus this weekend.
“Somehow the championship is not so much in my head,” Catsburg said. “It would obviously be super nice but I’m more focused on race by race and see where you are in the end.
“Spa is obviously a very big one for all of us, one we will be focusing on.
“Let’s see. It would be nice if we will do good in the championship but it’s also only because the others are not out there. It’s kind of mixed feelings so let’s see how it planned out.”