Daniel Harper is confident that the BMW Junior Team can be challenging for a front-running result in the ADAC TOTAL 24 Hours of Nürburgring next month after battling for the top ten once again during the event’s qualifying race this past weekend (08/09 May).
After some promising performances during the opening two races of the Nürburgring Endurance Series last month, Harper was in confident mood as he prepared to team up with regular team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen, and BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus.
With a mechanical issue costing them track time during warm-up on Saturday morning, Harper’s first opportunity to drive their BMW M6 GT3 came during free practice. A couple of laps around the 15 mile Nordschleife was a good confidence builder heading into a pair of qualifying sessions.
Building up their pace across the two outings, the team comfortably secured a place within the final top 30 shootout. The positive run continued in that session too as they lapped as the fastest BMW on track to take seventh on the grid for the six-hour race.
Farfus started behind the wheel of their Shell backed car and put in an impressive stint to keep them right in the top ten battle through the first two hours. He then handed the car over to Harper, with the Northern Irishman continuing their challenge.
Whilst traffic cost him time at points through the stint, the 20 year old lapped with impressive speed and consistency throughout his time in the car. This ensured they remained in the mix for the top ten as he swapped places with Hesse.
Unfortunately some small problems in the closing portion of the race ultimately cost them a top ten finish, but his team-mates brought the car to the chequered flag for a 16th place finish in the 29 car class.
Harper now turns his focus to the ADAC TOTAL 24 Hours of Nürburgring, one of the most prestigious twice round-the-clock events in world motorsport, which he will be contesting for a second time next month (03-06 June).
Daniel Harper: “Overall, I’m very happy with how the weekend went. It was important to have a clean race and maximise our track time ahead of the 24 hours and we did exactly that, whilst also being able to showcase again the potential we have in the BMW Junior Team.
“Having Augusto [Farfus] back alongside us was fantastic and once again his input and advice was invaluable for me as I continue to improve in the GT3 car. I’m happy with the lap times I posted and felt I pieced together a consistent and competitive stint in the race.
“While we ended up finishing lower than our pace deserved, we still have lots of positives to take away and will come back stronger as a team. We’ve showed in the shootout and the race that we have the pace to be fighting for top positions in the 24 hour race.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. BMW