Daniel Harper produced a sensational performance to fight his way up the order from seventh to second and put the BMW Junior Team on course for a brilliant third podium finish of the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series season on Saturday (11th September).
After a lengthy two month break since the last rounds, Harper and team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen returned to action eager to carry the momentum from a fantastic pair of overall race victories across the previous three races of the season.
The talented trio benefitted from a full day of testing on the 15 mile Nordschleife on Friday, with Harper emerging in a confident mood for qualifying the following morning. Overnight rainfall presented them with a wet circuit, though it would soon start drying as the 90 minute session wore on.
That meant the session ultimately came down to the final lap, with Harper in the hot seat of their Shell-backed BMW M6 GT3. The Northern Irishman dealt with the pressure and delivered a rapid lap to secure fifth on the grid for the six hour race that afternoon.
Harper went on to start the race behind the wheel and put in a brilliant opening double stint. The 20 year old talent stayed in the top six battle through the close-fought opening stages and into the first round of pitstops, which he emerged from in an improved fourth.
Pounding in some fast and consistent lap times, Harper impressively caught and passed the next two cars to rise to second position. Further progress got him onto the tail of the race leader, with some exciting side by side action between the two at over 170mph.
That came in the final moments of Harper’s stint, as he handed the car over to Hesse in second place. From there, his team-mates produced exemplary drives to remain in that position throughout the final three and a half hours to secure a memorable podium finish.
Daniel Harper: “What a great way to return to racing on the Nordschleife. This is such a competitive championship, with leading manufacturers, teams and drivers holding so much experience around this circuit, so to pick up a third podium finish in four races is an incredible feeling.
“We knew it was going to be a tough challenge after a balance of performance change for the BMWs since the last round, but Team RMG worked hard to extract everything they could from the car and it was a pleasure to drive across every session.
“After six hours of racing, to finish up just 19 seconds behind the winners of the Nürburgring 24 Hour race is a great achievement as we continue our development programme with BMW. There’s just two NLS races remaining this year and we’re determined to end the season strongly.”
The next round of the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series takes place in less than two weeks’ time, with a four hour race on Saturday 25th September.
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. BMW