BMW M Motorsport enjoys a long success story at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER). This weekend, the BMW M4 GT3 takes to the track in the ‘Green Hell’ to add another chapter to that illustrious history. A strong contingent races in the top SP9 Pro category, with ROWE Racing, BMW M Team RMG and Walkenhorst Motorsport, as well as 14 BMW M works drivers. The goal is to claim the 21st overall victory for BMW, strengthening its status as the most successful manufacturer at the endurance classic on the Nordschleife.
Starting for BMW M Team RMG are the members of the BMW Junior Team, BMW M works drivers Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA). ROWE Racing, the latest winners at the Nürburgring for BMW M Motorsport in 2020, fields two BMW M4 GT3s with eight BMW M works drivers: Connor De Phillippi (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Maxime Martin (BEL), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Dries Vanthoor (BEL), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR). Among those at the wheel for Walkenhorst Motorsport, who compete with two cars in the SP9 Pro class and one in SP9 Pro-Am, are BMW M works drivers Jake Dennis (GBR), Jens Klingmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN).
BMW M4 GT4 Media Car.
This year, the new BMW M4 GT4 takes its place on the starting grid for the 24-hour race for the first time. Six cars are registered in the SP10 and SP8T classes. Three of them are run by FK Performance Motorsport, while Walkenhorst Motorsport and Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing each send one car into the fray. The #73 BMW M4 GT4 is the media car, in which BMW M test and development engineer Jörg Weidinger (GER) will share the driving duties with the three renowned motorsport journalists Jethro Bovingdon (GBR), Christian Gebhardt and Guido Naumann (both GER). The car, which starts in the SP10 class, is run by BMW M Team RMG. In total, more than 30 BMW race cars are registered for the coming weekend – from the BMW M4 GT3 and BMW M4 GT4 to many models assembled by customer teams themselves.
BMW M Motorsport history at the 24-hour race.
Since the very first 24-hour race back in 1970, BMW has amassed 20 overall victories – far more than any other manufacturer. The first BMW victory came courtesy of Hans-Joachim Stuck and Clemens Schickentanz (both GER) with the BMW 2002 Ti in the inaugural race in 1970. The most recent success came in 2020 when ROWE Racing triumphed with the BMW M6 GT3. With 210 class wins to its name, BMW has more than twice as many as the opposition. BMW also leads the way when it comes to pole positions, with 15 to date. Nick Yelloly secured the most recent of these for ROWE Racing with the BMW M6 GT3 in 2021.
BMW M programme at the Nürburgring.
With its test centre, the Nürburgring is more than just a racetrack, it is a second home for BMW M. All BMW M production cars are put to the ultimate test on the Nordschleife. As such, it goes without saying that we have always been an integral part of the fringe programme for the 24-hour race. In the M Showroom on the ring°boulevard, fans are able to dive into the world of BMW M and, among other things, admire vintage race cars at first hand (M Showroom opening hours: Thursday & Friday, 10:00 to 20:00, Saturday 10:00 to 20:30, Sunday 10:00 to 17:00). A hospitality is available for guests in the T14 area. As is tradition, there will again be an M Corso parade of production vehicles before the start of the race on Saturday.
Quotes ahead of the race.
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “This season is packed with one highlight after another for BMW M Motorsport. However, the Nürburgring 24 Hours is always a very special event. The challenge is greater than anywhere else, but at the same time the atmosphere is probably more intoxicating than at any other racetrack. BMW M Motorsport has an illustrious history on the Nordschleife, to which we are determined to add a new chapter this year with the BMW M4 GT3. Three victories in the warm-up races have shown that all our teams and drivers, as well as the employees in Munich, have done a fantastic job. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of them for their efforts! We are ready and will do everything we can in the race to ensure that our hard work over the past few months is rewarded. The opposition is strong, and you always need a bit of luck in the ‘Green Hell’, but I am very confident that we have done everything we could in the run-up to be as well prepared as possible. I wish all the BMW M Motorsport teams and drivers at the 24-hour race every success and hope they have a great weekend!”
Neil Verhagen (#72 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team RMG): “This is now my third Nürburgring 24 Hours in a GT3 car – and it remains the biggest challenge you can face in motor racing. However, every year I gain more experience together with my team-mates Dan and Max, and I want to use that to get the very best out of our package this time. As a team, we have improved from race to race this season. I am now really looking forward to a very special weekend with a fantastic atmosphere.”
Dries Vanthoor (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing): “I am very much looking forward to starting this race with BMW M Motorsport for the first time. I have won it twice in the past and am obviously determined to do so for a third time with the BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing and my team-mates. I believe we are very well prepared, but we cannot afford to make any mistakes at all, as this race is tricky. A lot can happen, particularly in the night. We simply have to get through it well.”
Philipp Eng (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing): “I am very happy that we line up with a very experienced and well-versed team. We drivers know each other very well from the IMSA series, as well as many GT3 races. ROWE Racing is extremely experienced on the Nordschleife and has almost always been in contention with at least one car in the 24-hour race. Although preparations have not been ideal for our car, I really hope that we can get the win. I think the BMW M4 GT3 has earned that, as has everyone in the team and at BMW M Motorsport.”
Jesse Krohn (#101 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “I don’t think we could be better prepared. In the three races we had in the run-up to the 24 Hours, we have learned an incredible amount about the car and the tyres. I really benefit from sharing the car with genuine Nordschleife specialists, who have taken me to a different level on this track. Walkenhorst Motorsport is also doing a magnificent job. Now it is all about putting what we have learned into practice on the race weekend, and surviving the 24 hours in the ‘Green Hell’. It will definitely be another crazy race, but I am hugely looking forward to it.”
Jens Klingmann (#102 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “We are well prepared going into the weekend, although we have not yet focussed on pure speed. We have concentrated more on gaining knowledge for the race, which will hopefully put us in a position to challenge for victory during the 24 hours. That is our clear goal. The BMW M4 GT3 definitely has the potential. The first task for our car is to make it into the Top 20 Qualifying, which will allow us to achieve the best starting position possible. After that, we will see what happens in the race.”
Jörg Weidinger (#73 BMW M4 GT4 Media Car): “I am really looking forward to racing in the 24h Nürburgring again, this time with the brand-new BMW M4 GT4. I was involved in the development phase, not only as a driver, and so am very much enjoying the opportunity to bring all the test work that the whole team has done onto the best racetrack in the world in a race. With the car, team RMG and the driver line-up, I believe we have a really good overall package.”
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