The BMW teams successfully completed the final endurance test ahead of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (GER) on 12th/13th May. In the six-hour qualifying race, the best-placed BMW car was the #99 BMW M6 GT3 of ROWE Racing which finished in second place. The two BMW WEC drivers Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Nick Catsburg (NED) were at the wheel. Catsburg took part in a thrilling duel for first place with the ultimately victorious Mercedes in the final laps, and celebrated the podium success with Tomczyk after the race. Augusto Farfus (BRA) was also in action at the Nordschleife. Together with his driver colleagues Markus Palttala (FIN), Christian Krognes (NOR) and Fabian Schiller (GER), he prepared for the start in the Shell BMW M6 GT3 at the endurance classic. The test went well for much of the race, but 90 minutes before the end, an accident forced the car to retire.
In addition to the race, this year the qualifying was also crucial as the teams had the opportunity to clinch their coveted starting positions in the top 30 qualifying four weeks in advance of the event by achieving a top ten result in the qualifying session for the qualifying race. Both of ROWE Racing’s cars achieved that goal. The Shell BMW M6 GT3, in action for Walkenhorst Motorsport, had already secured its eligibility in advance at a VLN race. Furthermore, the #100 BMW Z4 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport with Jörg Müller, Peter Posavac, Rudi Adams and Alex Lambertz (all GER) at the wheel made it into the top 30 thanks to a strong fourth place in the qualifying session. The two BMW M6 GT3s of Walkenhorst Motorsport and FALKEN Motorsports that are not yet eligible for the top 30 qualifying still have a chance to secure their slots at the weekend of the 24-hour race.
Reactions to the qualifying race for 24 Hours Nürburgring:
Martin Tomczyk: “For the team and me, the most important thing today was to secure the blue light as one of the fastest 30 cars in the 24-hour race. That was the main objective of the weekend. It was also important for me to complete as many laps as possible on the Nordschleife. As a driver, you need a good rhythm on this track. I’ve got that again now. It’s fantastic that we even managed to finish on the podium, and I’m delighted for the team in particular, who I really get on with and who did a great job.”
Nick Catsburg: “The final rounds were a great deal of fun. I noticed that I was able to make up ground on the leading Mercedes and give it my all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch him in the end, but second place after the win for the car in the last VLN race is another great success, which gives us confidence for the 24-hour race. It was real racing today. Driving on this track with this car, and having so many free laps is the greatest pleasure that you can have as a racing driver.”
Augusto Farfus: “Working with a new set-up of drivers, car and team is an exciting challenge for me. I had a lot of fun on the track today. It is always something special driving on the Nordschleife. We still have a fair bit to work on in terms of the set-up of the Shell BMW M6 GT3, but we were able to gain a lot of important insight during the qualifying race. Of course, it’s a shame that we weren’t able to finish the race after the accident but overall I’m feeling very positive. I have strong team-mates and the guys at Walkenhorst Motorsport are doing an outstanding job. I’m really looking forward to coming back here for the 24-hour race.”