BMW Motorsport and the works-supported teams from Schubert Motorsport, ROWE Racing and BMW Team Schnitzer used the event to prepare for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, which will take place on 27th/28th May. The four-hour race took place in sunny weather and served as a comprehensive practice session for some intensive testing of the BMW M6 GT3 with the classic race in the Eifel mountains in sight. The best-placed BMW M6 GT3 was the number 19 car from Schubert Motorsport, which finished in 15thplace. The car was driven by Jens Klingmann (GER), John Edwards (USA) and Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR). This weekend, there were 22 cars competing in the BMW M235i Racing Cup, which takes place as part of the VLN. Thomas Jäger (AUT) and Rudi Adams (GER) claimed the first win of the season in the “Eifelblitz” from the Scheid-Honert Motorsport team. BMW Motorsport used the dry conditions at the VLN season-opener to continue testing the new BMW M4 GT4. Dirk Adorf (GER) and Phillip Eng (AUT) shared driving duties and gathered plenty of data for further development. Over 60 BMW race cars competed in various classes at the first VLN round of the season. They secured five class wins.
Three questions for … Jens Klingmann.
Jens, your preparation for the 24-hour race included the VLN season-opener. What conclusions did you draw from this weekend?
Jens Klingmann: “I feel positive. It is always great to compete in VLN. In addition, this race was important for us to gel as a team again and to test the procedures together, especially with the 24-hour race in sight. Even if we didn’t make it to the podium, the day was successful for us. It was also very important to get through the whole weekend without any technical problems.”
How did you feel about returning to drive on the Nordschleife after the winter?
Klingmann: “It’s always lovely to be here. There were plenty of fans at the circuit when I went out in the morning qualifying session. It really is something special to see all those tents and camper vans along the whole Nordschleife. That is what makes this circuit unique – the closeness to the fans, who can come up to the pits to collect autographs and are right where it’s all happening with the cars. That is great fun and that is why I really look forward to everything starting again.”
However, you won’t be there for the second VLN race on 8th April, as you will be competing at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race in Long Beach, California. Are you looking forward to that as well?
Klingmann: “Oh yes, a lot. I have never been to Long Beach, as this is my second season in the IWSC – and last year we didn’t compete at Long Beach in the GTD class. I believe it will be a real highlight. I like street circuits and to be in California, with great weather and great fans – what more could you want? I am already really looking forward to it.”
DTM: Wittmann receives BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition.
BMW DTM driver Marco Wittmann (GER) appeared as a guest at a special event this week at BMW Welt in Munich (GER): Together with 13 BMW customers, he was one of the first to receive a new BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition. BWM M GmbH created the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition, limited to 200 cars, to celebrate Wittmann’s DTM title win at the Hockenheimring at the 2016 season finale. The special edition has a specially-tuned engine delivering 368 kW/500 HP (combined consumption: 8.5 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 199 g/km) with increased torque of 600 Nm. The BMW M4 DTM is guaranteed to become an extraordinary collectors’ item, containing top-quality motorsport technology in the engine and chassis and boasting a special design that reflects the look for the BMW Motorsport DTM race cars. One model was reserved for the champion, Wittmann, while the remaining 199 cars will go to BMW customers worldwide. “The BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition 2016 is a fantastic car. Compared to the 2014 Champion Edition, this 2016 model is even closer to a racing car,” says Wittmann. “My Champion Edition is perfectly suited to the race track but I still would not want to drive it there because it’s one of a kind and has great value for me as a collectable. Many thanks to BMW M GmbH. I am very proud of the fact that there are two special editions bearing my name. That means a lot to me.” During the ceremony, the DTM champion was also happy to take the time to sign the other owners’ cars on the underside of the bonnet.
Australian GT: BMW M6 GT3 competes at Albert Park.
The second race of the 2017 Australian GT Championship season took place this weekend at Albert Park in Melbourne (AUS). The GT championship held four races as part of the Australian Grand Prix. The BMW Team SRM competed with two BMW M6 GT3s. Team principal Steve Richards (NZL) and his team-mate James Bergmüller (AUS) finished twice in eighth place, and recorded one 17th place and one 13th place finish. New driver Danny Stutterd (AUS) celebrated his racing debut for BMW Team SRM and took to the track in the team’s second BMW M6 GT3. He claimed 18th, 12th and 16th positions in the first three races but had to retire in race four.