Gabriele Piana (ITA) and Hofor Racing are the winners of the Drivers’ and Team competitions in this year’s BMW Sports Trophy. BMW Motorsport traditionally honours the most successful privateers from the previous season at the end of the year. The ‘Night of Trophies’ at BMW Group Classic in Munich (GER) on Friday saw the coveted trophies presented at a joint evening with BMW Motorrad Motorsport for the first time. Furthermore, the new BMW M2 CS Racing was also presented live to the customer teams and drivers from around the world.
With 844 points to his name, Piana was top dog in the Drivers’ Competition during the 2018/19 scoring period. He was rewarded for his efforts with a winner’s cheque for € 30,000. His team-mate, 16-year-old Marius Zug (GER), also picked up the trophy for the best young driver. In the Team Competition, Hofor Racing took victory for the first time. The 25 most successful drivers and the top ten teams shared a total prize purse of € 350,000. This season, 339 drivers and 71 teams were registered for the BMW Sports Trophy competitions.
Roughly 200 guests joined BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, together with presenters Eve Scheer and Alexander Hofmann, as they started the evening by looking back on the highlights of the Customer Racing season. They included overall victory for Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport in the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring with the BMW M240i Racing, the Driver title in the GT4 European Series with the BMW M4 GT4, and overall victory in the Driver and Team competitions in the China GT Championship with the BMW M6 GT3. After that, the main participants on two and four wheels, who once again delivered many victories and titles in 2019, took turns on the stage.
“Congratulations to Gabriele Piana and Hofor Racing on their overall victories in the BMW Sports Trophy,” said Marquardt. “Both Gabriele and Martin Kroll’s teams have been successfully entering our traditional Customer Racing competition for many years and regularly achieve great success in BMW race cars. As such, I am all the more delighted that they have now been rewarded for their efforts with first place in the BMW Sports Trophy. However, at BMW Motorsport we are also very proud of all the other participants. Every single top-ten result, every single podium, and every single race win is very valuable to us. I would like to thank all the drivers and teams, who have once again proved to be fantastic ambassadors for the BMW brand – regardless of which championship, which car, and which corner of the world they have been competing in.”
Driven to the top by passion: Gabriele Piana and Hofor Racing.
After finishing 15th last year, Piana made it to the very top of the overall standings this time. The 33-year-old finished well clear of Americans Johan Schwartz and Alec Udell. Piana contested the full season in ADAC GT4 Germany and the GT4 European Series in a BMW M4 GT4 for the RN Vision STS Racing team. He took eight class victories and scored a total of 844 points. “That would not have been possible without Marius, the team and all the people who support me,” said Piana. “We are a small team and we worked very well. It was not an easy season and we had some disappointments too. But that just makes me all the more delighted. I would like to thank the whole team, Marius and my family.”
The Hofor Racing team was unbeatable in the BMW Sports Trophy Team Competition. With 1,076 points, the Swiss team finished ahead of Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport and Rooster Hall Racing in second and third place. As well as 25 podium finishes, Martin Kroll’s (SUI) team also won the team title in the 24h Series Champion of the Continents, the 24h Series European Championship, and ADAC GT4 Germany. As well as the trophy, Hofor Racing also picked up a winner’s cheque for € 30,000 for its victory in the BMW Sports Trophy Team Competition.
“We’ve been involved for ten years now and we have been working with Bonk Motorsport for the last two years“, said Martin Kroll. “And we have managed to secure the BMW Sports Trophy title after these two years. That is a great feeling.” Michael Bonk (GER), Team Principal of Bonk Motorsport, adds: “We’ve already experienced the winning feeling as a team, but this is the first time we’ve won a title. When we joined forces, winning the team championship was one of our main objectives. But no-one expected it to happen quite so quickly.”
Zanardi honours exceptionally talented Marius Zug as “Rookie of the Year”.
Marius Zug can also look back on an extraordinary debut season with BMW. At just 16 years of age, the youngster performed impressively alongside Piana. He claimed top-ten finishes in ten of twelve ADAC GT4 Germany races. He ended the season in second place, just six points off the lead, and also won the Junior competition. Zug also went up against some big names in the GT4 European Series and, despite taking five race wins, missed out on the Drivers’ title by a whisker. For those performances, he was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ by BMW works driver and Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA). “This award is a lovely way to end the year, even though the season didn’t go perfectly”, said Zug. “This is my first event with BMW and I am really enjoying it.”
FIST-Team AAI produces the BMW Customer Racing ‘Moment of the Year’.
After the ‘Win of the Year’ was awarded at last year’s BMW Motorsport end-of-season event, this year fans on BMW Motorsport social media channels had the opportunity to vote for their personal BMW Customer Racing ‘Moment of the Year’. They could choose between five highlights from the 2019 season. With 70 percent of the votes, victory went to FIST-Team AAI, which won both the Drivers’ and Team titles in this season’s China GT Championship. Champion driver Nick Yelloly (GBR) accepted the award on behalf of the team.
The event concluded with another premiere, as the customer racing teams and drivers present were officially introduced to the new BMW M2 CS Racing for the first time. The new entry-level model from BMW M Motorsport not only boasts impressive driving performance, but also offers newcomers to motorsport the performance of a thoroughbred race car.