Catsburg gears up for FIA WEC challenge with BMW Motorsport
It’s already been a busy season for Nicky Catsburg and BMW Motorsport with IMSA events at Daytona and Sebring followed recently by the Blancpain GT round at Monza with ROWE Racing. Now Nicky is all set to embark on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) which gets underway this week at Spa-Francorchamps.
Nicky joins Martin Tomczyk behind the wheel of the #81 BMW M8 GTE for the FIA WEC Super Season in the LMGTE Pro category. The championship encompasses five rounds in 2018 and a further three in 2019 - including two visits to the 24 Hours of Le Mans - and marks Nicky’s debut in the top-flight category.
Pre-season testing has been extensive for the German manufacturer which took part in the WEC Prologue recently at Paul Ricard where the pairing of Nicky, Tomczyk and Eng completed 180 laps. The sister car meanwhile took part in the extended endurance test overnight, notching up an impressive 680 laps, which all boded well for the team in the challenge ahead.
Q: Nicky, tell us a little about the test programme you ran at the Prologue?
“We had a great test at Paul Ricard, being able to do all the running that we planned. We did a shorter program with the #81, but then finished to rest of the test of with the #82 which we shared between the drivers. It was a great first taste of the WEC as well, running with the different classes on the track.”
Q: It’s hard to tell the complete pecking order form testing alone, but you there are ten very strong entries in the LMGTE Pro class, what are your predictions?
“It is hard to tell from the testing as you never know what kind of programmes the competition are running. I believe that it will not be easy for us at Spa, even though we have a strong team, strong car and strong line-ups. Of course, we need to see where we are in terms of BoP as well.”
Q: Spa Francorchamps is a favourite amongst many. You have had your fair share of success there – including the 24H race win in 2015 – this circuit seems to suit you?
“I love this track, the sweeping nature of the track seems to suit me and there is always a good atmosphere, I would say this is a very nice place for me to start my FIA WEC career!”