The race debut of the BMW M4 GT3 has had to be postponed. The plan was for the new race car to take part in round four of the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series, on Saturday on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER), but this has had to be cancelled at short notice. The car suffered damage in a crash during the closing stages of the test and set-up session on Friday evening and could not be repaired overnight. BMW M Motorsport is currently analysing the cause of the crash in detail.
Up to this point, the intense week of testing with the BMW M4 GT3 had run smoothly. On Monday and Tuesday, BMW M Motorsport had the opportunity to take part in the official SRO tests ahead of the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). After the new car’s first outing at the Belgian circuit, BMW M Motorsport drew an extremely positive conclusion in all areas. Augusto Farfus (BRA), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) alternated behind the wheel at Spa-Francorchamps.
From the Ardennes, the BMW M4 GT3 headed straight to the Eifel region of Germany, where Jens Klingmann (GER) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) took over in the cockpit. Friday’s test and set-up drives on the Grand Prix Circuit and Nürburgring-Nordschleife were also going very well until the crash, which occurred shortly before the end of the session. A technical issue resulted in Van der Linde losing control of the car and crashing into the barriers.
“It is a great shame that our test week with the BMW M4 GT3, which had been very successful up until that point, ended prematurely – and that we have had to postpone the car’s race debut, to which we were all very much looking forward,” said Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport. “The impact caused damage to the car and so we decided to withdraw from the NLS race on Saturday. We did not take this decision lightly. However, our priority now is to find out exactly what caused the crash. It is not uncommon to have a technical issue in the development phase of a new car. That is precisely what these intensive tests are for: to identify potential weaknesses during the development phase, and to eliminate these for the future. That is what we will do now.”
Generally speaking, the BMW M4 GT3, the new flagship in the BMW M Motorsport range, once again impressed in terms of driveability and handling at Spa-Francorchamps and on the Nordschleife. “Friday was our second outing with the BMW M4 GT3 on the Nordschleife, and I felt very comfortable in the car from the first lap,” said Klingmann. “It definitely confirmed the positive impression I got last time, and the further development since then has certainly made the car even better. Clear progress has been made with the BMW M4 GT3 in the sections, in which the BMW M6 GT3 was weaker. At the same time, it has retained the strengths of the M6. I am feeling very positive: the car feels good and gives you a lot of confidence from the first lap.”
Yelloly, who set the fastest time with the BMW M4 GT3 during the test at Spa-Francorchamps, agreed: “We did a lot of driving in the rain on day one, while the second day was dry. That gave us the opportunity to complete a lot of laps with the BMW M4 GT3 in all conditions. The car felt fantastic, ran like clockwork, and the balance is outstanding. We completed a lot of test work in a wide range of areas at Spa-Francorchamps. The fact that we set the fastest time was obviously a nice bonus.”