EN: From grip of corona to the world-class tracks - next up Asian Le Mans Series

The year 2020 was revolutionary for Trogen. A surprising call in February took Trogen to France for GT3 class tests to replace a driver who had to cancel at the last minute. A fluke, but for which he had done years of work, including blood, sweat, and tears. Now quite surprisingly, Trogen got a chance to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series, which is one week tour including four race events.

Back in Spring 2020 in France, the test runs on Paul Ricard's track ended with the race engineer's astonished utterance: "impressive lap times", and continued to home quarantine in Lohja – thanks to coronavirus.

"At the tests, everything went better than I could have expected. I took almost no pressure and I was just there myself, it was enough to convince the team. The infection, of course, was an unpleasant consequence, but I recovered from it in a week", Trogen says.

Trogen overcame the disease, and the first races were in June on the legendary as well as frightening Nordschleife track at the Nürburgring. Walkenhorst Motorsport’s oven-fresh BMW M2 C S Racing race car obeyed Trogen, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday, and the first bite was exhilarating. Even the next two races went without a major fuss, it was time for the prize: In September 2020, Trogen became a motorsport professional at Walkenhorst Motorsport.

"The first contact with the so-called "green hell" was pleasing. According to its nickname, the Nordschleife track is probably one of the most challenging in the world and I like it. The first races went without mistakes and the pace was good. The BMW M2 was a great car to drive. The fourth race was driven a bit harder in the legendary 24h race, where we had a BMW M4 GT4 car. The Nordschleife track had the wildest weather ever, the water pour was unimaginable. The race was suspended at night due to circumstances, but I survived from the race."

The new employer made virtual competition an important part of the contract and commented with the following words:

"We are very delighted to welcome Sami Matti Trogen in our line-up. Sami has proven his skills at such big races many times in the esports scene and now it is time to move on in real racing. After having Sami in one of our real racing cars, we directly could see his performance, skill level, and passion which suits perfectly to our team”, describes Niclas Königbauer, Head of the Walkenhorst Motorsport team.

The corona pandemic gave a little hope in the summer until the fall came with raising numbers and restrictions again. Germany was shut off, and motorsports ended in October. Trogen once again focused on virtual competing with Williams' esports team. There were as many as 39 competitions, of which 13 wins and 20 podium positions.

"In the summer and autumn, I ran a virtual DNLS series with a simulator, which is run on the Nordshcleife track. There were the same teams and drivers as in real life. I did well in the series! Virtual World Championships officially kicked me into the German team."

The 2021 and development as a professional driver – Asian Le Mans as an extra

The year 2021 is now underway, and if the world's situation gets. better, Trogen will jump on the wheel of the BMW M6 again, tighten the belts and press the full throttle. The goal of the season is to get to know and create a solid foundation for the series, as well as to get used to the Walkenhorst Motorsport team. The two-year plan for the second season is to be able to compete for the top positions and continue the development as a motorsport professional.

"This year's car is the BMW M6 GT of whose V8 engine produces a whopping 585 horsepower. The car is, in my opinion, quite a great drive and I really look forward to getting to race with it."

Recently, plans came with an unexpected but positive turnaround. Trogen was invited to run a four-race Asian Le Mans series. The series is close-paced, with the champion being titled only a week after the start. The Le Mans series provides a great experience for the main goal of the summer, the NLS series with nine races. Also, there are plans to participate in motorsport "marathons", 24h races.

"At the end of January, I received a call from Germany and the Walkenhorst Motorsport team asked me to attend races in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where the Asian Le Mans Series is being run. This was such a pleasant surprise, as I've been missing the tracks. Due to the corona situation, there has been no certainty when the season will begin. Now I can finally get on the track and gain important miles for the upcoming NLS series, which is the main thing this year", Trogen concludes.

The race calendar 2021


13.-14.2. Dubai Autodrome, Dubai
19.-20.2. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi


27.03. - Race 1
17.04. - Race 2
01.05. - Race 3
26.06. - Race 4
10.07. - Race 5
11.07. - Race 6
11.09. - Race 7
25.09. - Race 8
09.10. - Race 9

Picture: Tero Turunen