I’ll be driving an M6 GT3 for pretty much the most famous BMW team of them all: BMW Team Schnitzer. For those with long memories, they’re the guys who competed in the great 1990s days of the British Touring Car Championship with top stars like Jo Winkelhock and Steve Soper. For the Nurburgring, I’m teaming up with double DTM champion Timo Scheider and my fellow Macau Grand Prix winner Antonio Felix da Costa, while Augusto Farfus – who’s been a big BMW hero for years – will be a ‘floating’ driver between our car and our team-mates’.
It’s actually a very short journey for me because I’m just about to leave Spa, which is just over the Belgian border, where we’ve had a two-day test in the G-Drive ORECA-Gibson to prepare for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Of course, we were on a high after winning the Spa round of the World Endurance Championship earlier this month, and the test was to fine-tune the low-downforce Le Mans aero kit before the official Le Mans Test Day, which is coming up on the first weekend of June. It’s a big change from the full-downforce kit we’ve raced so far, but the test went well and we feel confident.
Back to the Nurburgring, and we’ll be picking off where we left off after the qualification race at the end of last month. That was my first race in the BMW M6 GT3, and I felt really in the groove by the end of it. To be honest, because the track’s so long – it’s 25 kilometres! – I’ll probably get no more than four or five laps through free practice and qualifying, so it’s going to be quite relaxed. Augusto will do the Super Pole session in our car because he’s got good experience of the track, so really my focus is already on the race.
I’m excited with the potential of the car, and with the potential of my team-mates. Their records speak for themselves, and I can’t wait to get going. I’ve driven the Nordschleife at night, but not in a race yet, and this is an experience I can’t wait to have. It’s going to be absolutely mega. What’s more, I really do think we’ve got a chance of winning. We’ve got all the might of BMW behind us, and a team such as Schnitzer doesn’t go into anything expecting to do anything other than win. Realistically, we’ll see where we are at 3 or 4 in the morning, as we come towards dawn, and then we’ll give it the berries.
It’s going to be a busy old track. Incredibly, there are over 200 cars that take part in the 24 Hours and they’re entered in all sorts of different classes. I’ve kind of had an experience of this from the Sebring 12 Hours, which I won in March, but compared to that this will be on a whole different level. It’s going to be crazy. I’ve also had experience of the traffic from the VLN races I’ve done in a BMW 235i, but at least this time, being in the M6, we’ll be looking ahead all the time rather than checking our mirrors!
This is a really cool time of the season for me because after the Nurburgring it’s straight into preparation for Le Mans. But for now the aim is to do as good a job as I can for BMW, and then for certain we’ll have a great crack at a top result.
Source. Alex Lynn