2010 once again sees BMW celebrate victories across the world.
BMW Motorsport can once again look back on a successful motor racing season. Whether with the BMW M3 GT2 in endurance racing, the BMW 320si WTCC in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, or various models from the Customer Racing programme: For many drivers domiciled across the world, BMW Motorsport race cars provided the means for pole positions, victories and titles.
In line with the strategic realignment of BMW's motorsport programme, the company broadened its presence in GT racing in 2010. For the second consecutive season, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team campaigned two BMW M3 GT2 cars in the GT category of the American Le Mans Series -- managing to clinch both the manufacturer and team titles after a dramatic finale in Road Atlanta (US).
The debut of the BMW M3 GT2 in Europe's 24-hour races, was equally triumphant: At the Nurburgring's Nordschleife (DE) Team BMW Motorsport's driver line-up of Jorg Muller (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Uwe Alzen (DE) and Pedro Lamy (PT) crossed the line in first place after 154 laps to score the brand's 19th outright victory in the "Green Hell". Victory in the LM GT2 class in the finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in Zhuhai (CN) enabled BMW Team Schnitzer to impressively demonstrate the potential of the BMW M3 GT2 on Asian soil.
In the FIA World Touring Car Championship, BMW Team RBM fought for the title through to the final rounds in Okayama (JP) and Macau (CN). Andy Priaulx (GB) managed to score six wins -- the highest victory score of any season in his successful world championship career. In Japan BMW privateer Colin Turkington (GB) added another win to BMW's tally.
However, an FIA International Court of Appeal ruling, which retrospectively excluded Priaulx and team-mate Augusto Farfus (BR) from the Okayama event, ensured BMW was unable to fight for the title -- to add to those scored in 2005,2006 and 2007 -- during the season finale in Macau. In Okayama the FIA Stewards found the BMW 320si GBS, fitted with a sequential transmission, conformed with the regulations. The FIA's Court of Appeal appeal, though, overturned that ruling.
Impressive results for BMW privateers.
Private BMW teams and drivers continued the success of the BMW Customer Racing programme during 2010 by driving various BMW vehicles to numerous victories in a variety of racing series across the world. Thus Sergio Hernandez (ES) celebrated his second victory in the Independents' Trophy of the WTCC with a BMW 320si WTCC, while Richard Goransson (SE) used the same model to win the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC). Caspar Elgaard (DK) -- also driving a BMW 320si -- triumphed in the Danish Touring Car Championship (DTC).
Thomas Biaggi (IT) set the pace in both the national and international classifications of the Superstars Series with a BMW M3, while Mario Merten and Wolf Silvester (both DE) celebrated the title in the Nurburgring's VLN Endurance Championship with a BMW Z4 with the same vigour as did Mikhail Ukhov (RU) after winning the Russian Touring Car Championship (RTCC) with a BMW 320i. Further titles were clinched by Hans-Christian Zink (CH) in the DMV Touring Car Championship and Japan's Masataka Yanagida and Nobuteru Taniguchi with their Malaysian team-mate Imran Shararom in the Super Taikyu Series.
The BMW Z4 GT3, too, made a successful debut in 2010: The Schubert Motorsport team claimed two victories in the FIA GT3 European Championship with the latest addition to BMW's Customer Racing range, further posting numerous strong performances in endurance campaigns. The production-based BMW M3 GT4 facilitated victories and podium places for BMW drivers in a variety of championships.
The 2010 BMW Sports Trophy goes to Sweden.
Richard Goransson (SE) crowned his successful 2010 season with another trophy. On 4th December, the 32-year-old was presented with a winner's cheque for 30,000 Euros by BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen in Munich. Goransson, who won the 2010 Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC), scored 474 points in the traditional BMW privateer competition over the course of the season. This proved enough to clinch the coveted title, ahead of the Japanese duo of Nobuteru Taniguchi and Masataka Yanagida, who finished tied in second place having won the Super Taikyu Series in their BMW Z4 M Coupe. Fourth place went to BMW M3 driver Thomas Biagi (IT), who won this year's Superstars Series.
Since its introduction in the 1960s, the BMW Sports Trophy has been awarded each year to the most successful private BMW drivers around the world. This year's record entry figures -- 214 drivers from 25 countries -- were emphatic proof of the huge interest in BMW Motorsport's Customer Racing programme. Over the course of the season, success reports were submitted to the company headquarters in Munich from 32 racing series across the globe. The 2010 competition once again boasted a total prize purse of about 250,000 Euros.
"Congratulations to Richard Goransson on winning the BMW Sports Trophy," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "Richard has consistently been one of the most successful BMW privateers. He won the competition back in 2004 and has since been a worthy representative of the BMW colours, winning countless races. This year's triumph with the BMW 320si in Sweden deserves the greatest respect. My compliments go to all 214 BMW Sports Trophy participants. Thanks to their performances in a wide range of BMW racing cars, they have played a significant role in the presence of BMW in international motorsport."
Goransson claimed three race victories and seven further podium finishes in the STCC. These results earned him his eighth successive invitation to the BMW Sports Trophy Award Ceremony. His incredible record in the competition includes six top-three finishes. He said: "The title in Sweden means an awful lot to me. To come out on top at the BMW Sports Trophy as well makes it twice as nice. I really like the atmosphere at the Award Ceremony in Munich. It is fun meeting and chatting to the other drivers from around the world, and to be able to do that as the winner is fantastic. I would like to thank BMW for its support."