At the start of the week, BMW Team Schnitzer announced that 2019 will herald some personnel changes for the long-established team from Freilassing (GER). On 1st January, long-term team principal Charly Lamm (GER) will hand over management duties to Herbert Schnitzer Jnr, son of team founder Herbert Schnitzer Snr. Lamm will be actively involved in the changeover to the next generation, before taking a step back after nearly four decades in the front line at BMW Team Schnitzer. This weekend, the successful team principal is competing with BMW Team Schnitzer in the ADAC GT Masters. At the start of the second race day at the Sachsenring, Lamm talks about his motives, his connection to BMW and what the future holds.
Charly, it is hardly possible to imagine BMW Team Schnitzer without you at the pit wall. How did your decision come about?
Charly Lamm: “To start with: I’m still at the pit wall here at the Sachsenring – and I’m committed to the team as ever. But I had been thinking for some time about what the future could hold for me. I am 63 years old and motorsport has driven my life since I was 17. There wasn’t much time for a private life. On the other hand, for a race team like Schnitzer Motorsport it is extremely important to move with the times and put young, modern structures in place. Motor racing is always changing, so I felt it was the right time for the team and me to take this step. I would like to thank Herbert Schnitzer Snr, who gave me this opportunity for a long and exciting journey in motorsport.”
How did BMW Motorsport react?
Lamm: “BMW Motorsport indicated that it will fully support the changeover to the next generation. During one of our many discussions, Jens Marquardt also made it clear that he would like it if BMW Motorsport could continue to benefit from my experience – regardless of my role at Team Schnitzer. I was delighted to hear that, and it is something I can see myself doing. The support our team receives from BMW – and the level of personal appreciation for my efforts in this context – do mean a lot to me. The reactions from the BMW Motorsport family to our announcement have brought back many great memories. We really had a great time together, and continue to do so.”
Is it possible for someone like you to really let go of motor racing?
Lamm: “As the saying goes, two hearts beat in my chest: one for BMW and one for Team Schnitzer. That will always be the case. I owe much of my motor racing career to BMW and I remain connected to the brand with all my heart. Over the coming weeks, Jens and I will meet to consider what new role I could assume in this context. Of course, I will be on hand to advise Herbert Schnitzer Jnr to deal with any questions. But first, it is important to devote all our energy to completing the ADAC GT Masters season and keeping the BMW flags flying in Macau.“
Do you think that Schnitzer Motorsport is well set to face the future?
Lamm: “Yes, we have put Schnitzer Motorsport on the right path together. In this context, it was really important that BMW Motorsport was involved in all considerations about the future of Schnitzer Motorsport at an early stage. This exchange of views was crucial as we naturally enjoy a close connection. Our colleagues from Munich support us as we strive to reach our common goal: continuing the Schnitzer success story as a BMW team in touring car and GT racing. In that respect, we have already come up with some interesting ideas for the coming year. The team is as motivated as ever. Extensive experience mingles with fresh ideas and innovation. That is a recipe for success in motorsport.“
This weekend will see your penultimate appearance in the ADAC GT Masters this year. What do you think of the season so far?
Lamm: “We are experiencing a season of ups and downs. The highlight was Spielberg, when we got all four Schnitzer drivers on the podium. We were able to show there that we can still really compete with the BMW M6 GT3, just like in the previous year. However, we have also had some races in which we couldn’t make the most out of our opportunities. That has a noticeable effect in a series as tough as the ADAC GT Masters. We definitely want to complete the season with good results and positive experiences in the remaining races.”
How do you view this year’s Schnitzer project landscape and what would you like to see in the future?
Lamm: “Our departure from touring car racing was an important moment for the team. However, Schnitzer has always been actively involved in international GT racing so it was not difficult for us to assume this new role. We have been getting to know the ADAC GT Masters as an exciting challenge in the GT racing segment since 2017. The team was made welcome right from the start. We have added to our racing schedule with appearances in international classics, such as the 12-hour race in Bathurst or the GT world finale in Macau. There are also tasks and activities that the general public might not notice, such as support for development work. From my angle, the team would be suited to competing in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring again. The same is true of more starts in international GT racing. This love for the ‘Green Hell’ on the one hand, and for races around the world on the other hand, have long been the driving force for me and the team.”