Festival of GT racing in the Eifel Mountains: BMW teams all set for the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

MIL OSI – Source: BMW Group – English –

Headline: Festival of GT racing in the Eifel Mountains: BMW teams all set for the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

Munich (DE), 24th May 2016. This weekend, the eyes of the motorsport
world are on the Eifel region of Germany: the 44th staging of the
24-hour race at the Nürburgring (DE) pits the best drivers, teams and
cars that GT racing has to offer on what is probably the most
demanding circuit in the world. Since 1970, the event on the iconic
Nordschleife has been a permanent fixture on the race calendar, and
has thrilled fans all around the world. With 19 overall victories to
its name, BMW is the most successful manufacturer at this endurance
classic, and once again goes into the 2016 race with a strong contingent.

The provisional entry list for the race, which will take place on the
25.378-kilometre combination of the Nordschleife and parts of the
Grand Prix circuit, includes no fewer than 40 BMW racing cars. Six of
these will race in the SP9 class for powerful GT3 cars: the hopes of
the BMW teams of Schubert Motorsport, ROWE Racing and Walkenhorst
Motorsport rest with the newly developed BMW M6 GT3, with all three
teams fielding two cars. They are joined by 13 BMW M235i Racings, the
successful entry-level model in the BMW Motorsport range, as well as
many other BMW racing cars run with great passion by privateer teams.

The BMW M6 GT3 is making its debut at a European 24-hour race, and
has a tough act to follow: its predecessor, the BMW Z4 GT3, finished
runner-up at the Nürburgring in both 2013 and 2014. The last victory
came courtesy of Augusto Farfus (BR), Jörg Müller (DE), Uwe Alzen (DE)
and Pedro Lamy (PT) with the BMW M3 GT in 2010. The BMW Z4 GT3 claimed
a highly-acclaimed victory at the 24-hour classic at Spa-Francorchamps
(BE) last season. The BMW M6 GT3, which caused a stir with victory at
the dress rehearsal in the VLN Endurance Championship on 14th May, is
now charged with continuing this success story.

Behind the wheel for the BMW teams are some of the best and most
successful drivers ever to race in the “Green Hell”. Three drivers in
the BMW M6 GT3 have won the Nürburgring 24 Hours in the past: Müller
(2 wins), Farfus (1 win) and Lucas Luhr (DE, 2 wins), who is looking
to return to the top step of the podium exactly ten years after his
first victory. Five drivers from BMW Motorsport’s current DTM squad
are taking time out from the popular touring car series to take on the
Nordschleife. Timo Glock (DE) will not actually be behind the wheel at
the weekend, but will accompany his team-mates as a TV expert, giving
him a completely different perspective of the weekend. RTL and RTL
NITRO will provide extensive reports from the highlight of the 2016 season.

As well as those watching on television, the fans at the racetrack
can also look forward to a top-class motorsport spectacle. As in
recent years, fans of BMW Motorsport and BMW M will be in their
element at the M Festival. For the sixth time, visitors will be able
to follow the action from areas next to the Grand Prix circuit and in
the “Fan Base” in the heart of the “Green Hell”. For three days, BMW M
Hospitality is the home of the ever-increasing M community from all
over the world.

The first highlight of the weekend is the Top-30 Qualifying, which
takes place at 19:50 local time on Friday. Four BMW M6 GT3s have
already secured a place in this individual qualifying session. The
race itself begins at 15:30 on Saturday.

Selected quotes ahead of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring:

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is the next big test for our new
BMW M6 GT3 – and, naturally, one of the absolute highlights of our GT
season. It goes without saying that we would love to get a top result.
However, you can’t plan success at the Eifel marathon. And this is all
the more true when you compete with a brand-new car like we will be
doing. At the dress rehearsal in the VLN, we saw that the BMW M6 GT3
seems to be competitive on paper. However, we can only talk about our
own performance – not what our rivals have shown or not shown. Either
way: Our drivers are some of the best of the best on the Nordschleife.
On top of that, with Schubert Motorsport and ROWE Racing, we have two
teams hungry for success in our ranks, and with Walkenhorst
Motorsport, we have a strong privateer team in the SP9 class. And of
course we not only look to the BMW M6 GT3 in the field, but also to
the countless privateer BMW teams and drivers who will do battle for
top places in the various classes. In combination with the M Festival,
which, as in recent years, will take place at the same time, the 24
Hours Nürburgring will once again be a real festival for the fans of
BMW Motorsport and BMW M this season – and fitting for the year of
BMW’s centenary.”

Jörg Müller (Schubert Motorsport, #18 BMW M6 GT3):
“I am already really looking forward to this race. Our preparations
were great and we are in good shape for the weekend at the
Nürburgring. The most important thing is that the car survives the 24
hours. The race is unique. And you can’t forget about the weather
since it follows its own rules at the Nürburgring. The particular
challenge for the teams is having the right driver on the track at the
right time and with the right set-up.”

Marco Wittmann (Schubert Motorsport, #18 BMW M6 GT3):
“Naturally our win at the last VLN race helps the motivation of the
team and us drivers. We have a much better feeling going into the
24-hour race. When you compete on the Nordschleife with BMW, you
always want to win. But there are a lot of pitfalls on this track, you
need to be focussed all the time, also due to the slower cars. The
whole atmosphere at this event is fantastic and the fans are unique.”

Augusto Farfus (Schubert Motorsport, #18 BMW M6 GT3):
“It will be a fantastic weekend. We have a good team. I hope that we
will have good weather and a lot of fun. The fans that come to the
Nürburgring are real fans. Naturally they support BMW or other
manufacturers, but they primarily come for the show and really want to
see all of the cars. That is so special.”

Martin Tomczyk (Schubert Motorsport, #100 BMW M6 GT3):
“It is sensational once again to come to the 24-hour race. It is one
of the absolute highlights of the year. It will be exciting to see how
our new car does and what the performance will be like. We are feeling
positive, but so much can happen at the 24-hour race that you also
need to have luck on your side. Our driver pairings are very, very
good. We are well prepared, as the third VLN race showed.”

Lucas Luhr (Schubert Motorsport, #100 BMW M6 GT3):
“Naturally it is the track in particular that makes this race
special. The Nordschleife is unique in the world. Together with the
atmosphere and the fantastic fans, as a driver they give you that
extra motivation. However, there is no doubt that the race will be far
from easy; the competition is extremely strong. But we have a good
overall package. Naturally, you can’t forget that our car is new and
something can always go wrong. In terms of the driver line-up, we have
a superb squad.”

Maxime Martin (ROWE Racing, #23 BMW M6 GT3):
“It is a really important race for BMW. Things are going well for the
first year with the new car and I am looking forward to the first
24-hour race with the BMW M6 GT3 at the Nordschleife. This type of
marathon has its own rules. To be at the front, you first have to make
it to the finish line. I think that we are in with a good chance.”

Dirk Werner (ROWE Racing, #23 BMW M6 GT3):
“The 24 Hours Nürburgring is unique – and accordingly as a driver,
you are particularly motivated. In the IWSC, we compete on many
incredible racetracks that have a long tradition in North America. But
the Nordschleife is in a league of its own. With the ROWE Racing team
and the new BMW M6 GT3, we are well equipped. Now we are highly
motivated as we take on the challenge of the ‘Green Hell’.”

Klaus Graf (ROWE Racing, #22 BMW M6 GT3):
“The GT3 field is extremely close this year, but we are doing well
with the new BMW M6 GT3. The 24-hour race is the biggest motorsport
event in Germany. And the track is a real challenge. For us at ROWE
Racing, the race with BMW Motorsport as a new partner is definitely a
very special event.”

Richard Westbrook (ROWE Racing, #22 BMW M6 GT3):
“I started my first 24-hour race with BMW last year – and finished
second. I would have nothing against us finishing one place higher
this time around. The BMW M6 GT3 is a brand-new car, but everything
looks good so far. But it is difficult to predict this race. This is a
24-hour sprint.”

Tom Blomqvist (Walkenhorst Motorsport, #999 BMW M6 GT3):
“I’m really looking forward to the race. The preparations have been
made, I know the track, the car and my team. And you need to prepare
well for this race. I have never driven a 24-hour race before, this
will be a big challenge for me. I will just do my job, enjoy it as
much as possible, learn from it and take all the experience I gain
with me for the future.”

The driver line-ups of the six BMW M6 GT3 for the 24-hour race
at the Nürburgring:

#18 BMW M6 GT3, Schubert Motorsport
Augusto Farfus (BR), Jesse Krohn (FI), Jörg Müller (DE), Marco
Wittmann (DE)

#22 BMW M6 GT3, ROWE Racing
Klaus Graf (DE), Richard Westbrook (GB), Nicky Catsburg (NL), Markus
Palttala (FI)

#23 BMW M6 GT3, ROWE Racing
Alexander Sims (GB), Philipp Eng (AT), Maxime Martin (BE), Dirk
Werner (DE)

#100 BMW M6 GT3, Schubert Motorsport
Jonathan Edwards (US), Jens Klingmann (DE), Lucas Luhr (DE), Martin
Tomczyk (DE)

#101 Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop
Matias Henkola (FI), Kazunori Yamauchi (JP), Max Sandritter (DE),
George Richardson (GB)

#999 Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop
Victor Bouveng (SE), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Christian Krognes (NO),
Michele di Martino (DE)

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