Nicky Catsburg’s participation in the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), a five-round series of races around the globe, was recently confirmed as part of his BMW factory commitments alongside his continuation in the World Endurance Championship with the German marque.
The IGTC is growing from strength to strength and this year will be represented by all of the major GT Manufacturers with top line factory efforts as the series visits five iconic circuits for a variety of different endurance race challenges.
Nicky will team up with Norwegian Christian Krognes and Dane Mikkel Jensen in the BMW M6 GT3 prepared by Walkenhorst Motorsport for the BMW customer programme project.
It will be Nicky’s first outings with Walkenhorst, who were notable winners of the prestigious Spa 24 Hours in 2018 with new teammate Krognes as part of the driving line-up.
“I am delighted to add the IGTC to my programme for 2019,” said Nicky, “With my WEC drive in the M8 GTE, my other M6 outings in selected endurance events and my full season return to the World Touring Car Cup with the FIA WTCR Series I’m going truly global in 2019!”
One of the many outstanding features of the series, is its iconic venues. It starts in February with a visit to Bathurst Australia and the legendary Mount Panorama circuit for a 12-hour night-into-day race before resuming in the United States and California’s Laguna Seca track for an eight-hour race.
Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is next with the Total 24H of Spa and then on to Suzuka in Japan for a 10-hour race. The series culminates with a trip to South Africa and the famous return of the Kyalami circuit for the season finale in November.
Read here what Nicky thinks about the tracks that make up his 2019 IGTC campaign:
Bathurst, Australia 1-3rd February 2019
Track Facts: 6.213km
Famous for: The run up The Mountain” with the blind crest and leap into the dipper on the way back down and the odd wayward kangaroo!
Nicky says: “Bathurst has been on my to-do list for a very long time. I was always watching the 12H from bed at home. The track is so unique with its crazy mountain section, I think the BMW will be strong there. I am happy to know finally be a part of it with Walkenhorst Motorsport”
Laguna Seca 29-31st March 2019
Track Facts: 3.602km
Famous for: One of the most iconic corners in motor racing, the impossibly steep “Corkscrew” corner.
Nicky says: “I raced at Laguna Seca a couple of years ago in a Porsche GT3. It is an awesome track with the famous Corkscrew in a beautiful part of the US. The track feels a bit like a rollercoaster.”
Spa Francorchamps 25-28th July 2019
Track Facts: 7.004km
Famous for: Being one of the best tracks on the planet, cutting its way through the Ardennes forest with the challenge of Eau Rouge corner and the unpredictable weather
Nicky says: “I have very good memories of Spa, it is one of my favourite race tracks. Winning my first ever race and winning the 24h of Spa in 2015 make this a place where I really love to race. Walkenhorst just won the race in 2018, let’s try to do that again!”
Suzuka Japan 23-15th August 2019
Track Facts: 5.807km
Famous for: The Ferris wheel that sits trackside and the world’s only figure of eight layout. Corners like 130R, a flat left hander will challenge any car and driver.
Nicky says: “Just like Bathurst, Suzuka has also been on the to-do list for a long time! I think it is the only figure eight race track in the world. The track has such a nice flow to it and I think it will suit the BMW M6 GT3 very well. Japan is one of my favourite countries in the world, so I am very much looking forward to this event.”
Kyalami, South Africa 22-24th November 2019
Track Facts: 3.89km TBC
Famous for: Being South Africa only International racing track, steeped in F1 history from the 80s including the famous drivers strike when Bernie Ecclestone took control of the sport!
Nicky says: “I honestly don’t know so much about this track, I also have no idea about the lay-out. Most tracks I haven’t been to I know from racing them on a simulator, but Kyalami seems to be pretty uncommon location. This is what makes it extra nice to go there. Also, racing in South-Africa is something I have never done before so I cannot wait to see a bit of the country as well!”