BWT Mücke Motorsport reached the next big milestone in their team history this weekend. After making their successful GT3 debut in 2017, the next big challenge came with the 24-Hours of Dubai. The well established Berlin-based outfit rose to the demanding task supremely well with the Audi R8 LMS, taking a strong fifth place in the highly contested and action-packed race in the desert emirate state and finishing as the best-placed Audi in the entire field.
The five drivers – Markus Winkelhock, Andreas Weishaupt, Mike David Ortmann, Ricardo Feller and Christer Jöns – were on the ball right from the start of the weekend. The gaps between the top teams on the timesheet were infinitesimal. The BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi managed to finish at least in the Top Eight in every session, and so Peter Mücke’s team were very pleased to ultimately secure fifth place in qualifying.
The race got off to a promising start on Friday at 11am CET, but a problem with a defective wiring harness cropped up early in the evening, which only affected radio communications initially. However, the damaged component caused other parts to fail. A stop for repair was unavoidable. It took the mechanics just 20 minutes to replace the wiring harness, but the car dropped back behind the competition by a similar amount.
However, all five drivers showed their fighting spirit out on track. The Audi R8 LMS subsequently ran like clockwork, enabling the drivers to drive continually on the limit. By the end of the race, the team had fought their way back into fifth place overall after dropping out of the Top Twenty for a time.
Fans were able to get close to the action during the entire weekend. The team had come up with the idea of making a special gift to all their BWT Mücke Motorsport fans as they contested their maiden 24 hour race – a specially installed on-board camera, which proved to be a runaway success for all concerned.
The team are now planning to contest more endurance races in the future following their impressive 24 hour race debut.
Mike David Ortmann: “The race was a real roller-coaster of emotions. The start went very well, but we had one or two problems as the 24 hours ticked down. Still, it’s our finish up front that really counts and we can be mega happy with fifth place in our first 24-hour race. The whole team worked really well and we drivers had the best equipment at all times. Our pace was excellent. We can be very satisfied with the result.”
Markus Winkelhock: “Basically, it’s a bit of a shame when you finish the race in the position that you started on the grid. However, considering how much time our problems cost us and the highly competitive nature of the field, then fifth place is extremely respectable. We turned in a strong performance as a team and drove a faultless race.”
Andreas Weishaupt: “It was an absolutely fabulous experience and a terrific accomplishment after a year’s break from racing for me. My stints were consistently good and my team-mates also performed extremely well as did the guys in the pits and on the pit wall. This was a major achievement by the entire BWT Mücke Motorsport team, finishing fifth in our first 24-hour race.”
Ricardo Feller: “The race was an incredible experience for me. It was a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time in the car – especially at night. The car was very much to my liking the whole weekend. The team did an excellent job. It was a great experience for all of us.”
Christer Jöns: “We were top contenders throughout. We started from fifth place but had some bad luck with the Code 60s and technical problems, which caused us to drop back, unfortunately. The car ran smoothly again after we’d replaced the defective wiring harness. We then had to reduce the deficit, which we succeeded in doing in an impressive manner. We can take some comfort from fifth place after all our problems. Thanks a lot to the entire team. They were extremely impressive in our maiden 24 hour race.”
Peter Mücke (Team Principal): “We survived our baptism of fire and I’m very relieved. However, it was not that easy, because we had a succession of problems to deal with. Unfortunately, the technology did not do what it’s supposed to. Repairs cost us a lot of time. Also, we quickly lost another five minutes thanks to the code 60s that we had here. Nevertheless, we gamely fought our way up through the field and moved forwards to take an excellent fifth place. The team have learned a lot, our younger drivers in particular. Ricardo and Mike David posted great lap times alongside our more established drivers. They all drove on a similar level, and we’re very pleased with that. Of course, it’s great to have the best Audi in the field, but in terms of performance, a podium finish would even have been possible.”
Matthias Kieper (Team Management): “We’ve reached the next milestone in the history of BWT Mücke Motorsport with the 24-Hours of Dubai. I think it’s still one of the most exciting races on the calendar and makes a nice start to the new motor racing season. We travelled to Dubai well prepared and full of ambition, ready to post our first hot laps of the new year and drive non-stop some 4,100 kilometres while always on the limit. It’s a real challenge for man and machine, but all in all, our drivers and the whole team performed exceedingly well. It’s brought us together even more as a team. Everyone was well motivated and focused on the task in hand until the last lap. It all paid off ultimately with fifth place and the accolade of being the best Audi team. We can be very satisfied with that. I’m really proud of our squad and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them again.”
Michael Weiss (Technical Director): “The 24-Hours of Dubai were a real roller coaster with plenty of lows and highs – just like any 24-hour race. There isn’t a single one where you start, drive and then simply finish. We had a really strong weekend and were one of the top five cars in the field. We crossed the finishing line in fifth place following the unfortunate retirement of the WRT-Audi that had led the race until just before the end. I would say in retrospect that we had what it takes to get on the podium. Nevertheless, we’re more than satisfied with P5 and are delighted with this success in our first ever endurance race. Everyone in the team has now tasted blood and can’t wait to line up again for our next 24 hour race. We’ve already got one or two definite plans in the pipeline.”
Source. Mücke Motorsport/Photo. Gruppe C Photography