Daniel Harper enjoyed a superb debut outing in a BMW M4 GT4 as he secured a class podium finish alongside his BMW Junior Team stablemates in the fourth round of the 2020 Nürburgring Endurance Series on Saturday (01 August).
The third race weekend of the season started an exciting new chapter for Harper with the BMW Junior Team, as he and team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen traded in their BMW M240i Racing for a 430bhp BMW M4 GT4 prepared by Walkenhorst Motorsport.
The Northern Irishman, who headed into the meeting with confidence high following a class victory in the previous round, got his first run in the car during free practice on Friday. A fresh challenge was presented to them the next day though as rain fell at the Nürburgring overnight.
Harper therefore started the qualifying session on a wet track. With conditions improving, his focus was on learning as much as possible behind the wheel before handing over to his team-mate Verhagen, who posted a great late lap to go second in class.
Lined up to take the final stint of the race, Harper watched on as Verhagen tackled a damp circuit at the start. Two laps in the decision was made to switch to slick rubber, with the American racer settling into second in class as the race wore on.
After a strong stint from Hesse maintained their podium standing, BRDC SuperStar Harper took to the wheel and produced impressive pace across the final hour. Posting the fastest lap of the race for the team, a composed performance saw him bring the car home second in class and fifth of all the GT4 entries.
The BMW Junior Team will now tackle their longest race to date next time out, with a six hour race coming up in four weeks’ time (29th August). That continues their preparations ahead of the ADAC 24 Hours of Nürburgring in late September.
Daniel Harper: “It’s been a really good week with the BMW Junior Team. It was a challenge being our first time in the BMW M4 GT4 and I only got one lap around the Nordschleife on Friday, which meant qualifying was important for me to get to grips with the car.
“Neil and Max both drove very well and put me in a great position to bring the car home to a competitive finish. A class podium is good, but our focus was on comparing ourselves to all the GT4 entries and finishing fifth of those is better than we expected.
“We’ve still got some work to do to catch the fastest GT4 runners, but that will come with time in the car. The most important thing for us going forwards is to get as much time and experience in the car as possible ahead of the 24 Hour race next month.”
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. BMW