Second place for ROWE Racing and the BMW M4 GT3 at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
We are back from our journey to Germany, where we were giving support to many teams which raced at the 51th staging if the Nürburgring 24 Hours, specially to our friends from the BMW M Motorsport.
We want to express our felicitations to the ROWE Racing team finished on the podium at the 51st staging of the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER). Dries Vanthoor (BEL) crossed the line in second place in the number 98 BMW M4 GT3, 26.911 seconds behind the winning Ferrari. Vanthoor had alternated at the wheel with Maxime Martin (BEL), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Marco Wittmann (GER) on their way to completing 162 laps. For BMW M Motorsport, this was the first podium with the BMW M4 GT3 at the endurance classic in the Eifel Mountains.
Starting from 31st on the grid, the quartet of drivers steadily worked their way up the field in the opening hours of the race, and were already in the top ten after the second round of pit stops. Afterwards they were embroiled in a long-range battle with the eventual winners, which saw the lead repeatedly change hands between the two cars. The ROWE Racing crew made up a lot of ground on the winning Ferrari due to a shorter final pit stop, but were ultimately unable to close the gap. The number 100 BMW M4 GT3 also made it to the end of the marathon at the Nürburgring. The Walkenhorst Motorsport Pro-Am car, with drivers Christian Bollrath (GER), Jörg Breuer (GER), Sami-Matti Trogen (FIN) and Henry Walkenhorst (GER), came home 16th, which earned them fifth place in the Pro- Am class.
It looked for a long time as though several BMW M4 GT3s would have a say in the battle for overall victory. However, that all changed as incidents occurred thick and fast in the early hours of the morning on the 25-km Nordschleife. Thirteen hours into the race, Connor De Phillippi (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) were forced to retire from the race in the second ROWE Racing BMW M4 GT3, after De Phillippi collided with a slower car. Shortly after, the BMW Junior Team hit trouble; the number 72 BMW M4 GT3 suffered more damage as the result of a puncture. BMW M Team RMG spent a long time trying to repair the car and get it back out onto the track. Eventually however, Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) had no choice but to retire, having spent much of the race in the top three.
Walkenhorst Motorsport was also unlucky with its remaining SP9 cars; on course for a top-ten finish in the seventh hour of the race, the #101 BMW M4 GT3 was forced out after two crashes in close succession. The race also came to a premature end for the number 102 car after an accident in the early hours of Sunday morning. At the time of the crash, the BMW M4 GT3 was running seventh.
This all means that BMW remains on 20 overall victories in “Green Hell”. No other manufacturer can look back on a more successful history at the 24-hour race. The last BMW win on the Nordschleife came courtesy of ROWE Racingwith the BMW M6 GT3 in 2020.