From a BMW M Motorsport perspective, the 49th staging of the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER) on 5th/6th June 2021 will be full of highlights, both on and off the track. After the victory for ROWE Racing last year, the focus from a sporting point of view is on the mission to defend the title. Four BMW M Motorsport teams line up in the “Green Hell” with seven BMW M6 GT3 and a host of top-class BMW works drivers. They include the BMW Junior Team, which will be making its 24-hour debut in the GT3 class. BMW M CEO Markus Flasch will experience the challenge posed by the Nordschleife for himself at the wheel of the BMW M2 CS Racing. In the run- up to the race, the focus is on the launch of the new BMW M4 GT3 and a very special lap of honour.
On the Wednesday before the 24-hour race, BMW M Motorsport will unveil the BMW M4 GT3 in the livery, in which it will contest its first test races over the rest of the year. The car will replace the BMW M6 GT3 as the top car in the BMW M Motorsport range from 2022.
On Friday, ahead of Top Qualifying, a replica of the legendary BMW M3 “Eifelblitz” from 1996, built up by BMW M Motorsport, will do an honorary lap of the Nordschleife in memory of Sabine Schmitz, who passed away recently. It will be driven by Johannes Scheid, who won the 24-hour race alongside Schmitz in 1996 and 1997.
In the BMW M2 CS Racing, Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH, will don his racing helmet and start in the CUP5 class alongside Jörg Weidinger, Matthias Malmedie and Niki Schelle (all GER). After intensive preparations within the Nürburgring Endurance Series and the 6-hour qualification race, Flasch will be making his debut in the endurance classic. In total, roughly 30 BMW cars are registered for the 24-hour race in eight different classes.
Leading the way are the seven BMW M6 GT3 in the top SP9 class, which will be going all out to defend the title and claim the 21st overall victory for BMW. ROWE Racing fields two cars and, as last year’s winners, will sport the prestigious number 1 on one of their cars. The BMW Junior Team, with support from BMW works driver Augusto Farfus (BRA), will be making its 24-hour debut in the top class in a BMW M6 GT3 run by BMW Team RMG. Schubert Motorsport lines up with one BMW M6 GT3, while Walkenhorst Motorsport takes to the grid with three BMW M6 GT3.
Quotes ahead of the Nürburgring 24 Hours:
Markus Flasch (CEO of BMW M GmbH): “What a fantastic week we have ahead of us! BMW M Motorsport has a programme littered with highlights, both on and off the racetrack, underlining, as ever, how important motorsport is to the BMW brand. With an impressive contingent here at the Nürburgring, BMW M Motorsport is showing that it is alive and kicking in the present. That will remain the case in the future. A symbol of that future is the official presentation of our new GT icon, the BMW M4 GT3, which will conquer the racetracks of this world from 2022. From a sporting perspective, we are very much looking forward to challenging for overall victory with the BMW M6 GT3 in its farewell season, and hopefully to defending the title that ROWE Racing won in 2020. A particular focus will be on the debut of the BMW Junior Team in the GT3 category. Our new entry-level car, the BMW M2 CS Racing will line up in the CUP5 class at the endurance classic for the first time, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity myself to take part in the race alongside my fantastic team-mates. Johannes Scheid’s lap of honour in the BMW M3 ‘Eifelblitz’, built up by BMW M Motorsport, in memory of Sabine Schmitz, is sure to be very emotional. We are honoured to be able to pay tribute to her with this legendary car.”
Hans-Peter Naundorf (Team Principal ROWE Racing): “We are very proud to come into the race as defending champion. Lining up with the number 1 on the car is very special. The memories of our victory in 2020 are still very fresh. We obviously have ambitions of being out in front again this year, although we know that this is an ambitious goal. However, we are a very well-rehearsed team with an enormous amount of team spirit and we will take our opportunity, should it come our way. I am particularly pleased that we will have fans back at the circuit this year for this remarkable race.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal BMW Team RMG): “This is a very special race for me personally and my team. During our time in the DTM, we always tried to get involved in the 24-hour race. Unfortunately, however, it never worked out. Now the wait is finally over, and we are all really excited about our home race. Our approach in the collaboration with the BMW Junior Team has always been to be just as professional as in the DTM. As such, we had high expectations of the boys, but they totally lived up to them. Their lap times are all very good. It was important for us to see that, and gives us another boost ahead of the race. With his experience and speed, Augusto is extremely important to the whole team. He is one of the fastest drivers on the Nordschleife, and knows the processes and the BMW M6 GT3 extremely well. As such, he is not only a great help to the Juniors, but to everyone in the team.”
Torsten Schubert (Team Principal Schubert Motorsport): “It is nice to be back at the 24-hour race with the BMW M6 GT3 after two years away. Unfortunately, we have not had the good fortune you need to convert our speed into top results in our previous outings. As such, we are really hoping we can bid farewell to the BMW M6 GT3 with a good result this time. We have drivers who know the Nordschleife very well and we have already worked together with the majority of them on numerous occasions. After finishing on the podium at the recent season-opener in the ADAC GT Masters in Oschersleben, we arrive at the Nürburgring full of motivation and optimism.”
Niclas Königbauer (Team Manager Walkenhorst Motorsport): “We are delighted to be fielding four cars in this year’s 24-hour race. We are very happy with the drivers in our three BMW M6 GT3 and are confident that we can really make a mark on the race with them. We are also represented with a BMW M4 GT4. We hope the weather gods are kinder to us than they were last year. If so, we will certainly have a very exciting race ahead of us.”
The key driver line-ups at a glance.
ROWE Racing, #1 BMW M6 GT3:
Nick Catsburg (NED) John Edwards (USA) Philipp Eng (AUT) Nick Yelloly (GBR)
ROWE Racing, #98 BMW M6 GT3:
Connor De Phillippi (USA) Martin Tomczyk (GER) Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) Marco Wittmann (GER)
Schubert Motorsport, #20 BMW M6 GT3:
Jesse Krohn (FIN)
Jens Klingmann (GER) Alexander Sims (GBR) Stef Dusseldorp (NED)
BMW Junior Team, #77 BMW M6 GT3:
Dan Harper (GBR) Max Hesse (GER) Neil Verhagen (USA) Augusto Farfus (BRA)
Walkenhorst Motorsport, #100 BMW M6 GT3:
Henry Walkenhorst (GER) Friedrich von Bohlen (GER) Jörg Breuer (GER)
Andreas Ziegler (GER)
Walkenhorst Motorsport, #101 BMW M6 GT3:
Christian Krognes (NOR) David Pittard (GBR)
Ben Tuck (GBR)
Jörg Müller (GER)
Walkenhorst Motorsport, #102 BMW M6 GT3:
Mario von Bohlen (GER) Sami-Matti Trogen (FIN) Jörg Müller (GER)
Jakub Giermaziak (POL)
Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive, #241 BMW M2 CS Racing:
Markus Flasch (AUT) Matthias Malmedie (GER) Jörg Weidinger (GER)
Niki Schelle (GER)