BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS will compete in the European Le Mans Series in 2015, with a BMW Z4 GTE. One driver has been confirmed for the program: BMW Motorsport’s triple world-champion, Guernseyman Andy Priaulx.
The Belgian team will be the first to race the BMW Z4 GTE in Europe, showing their strong and continuing relationship with BMW Motorsport. The two parties will work closely together to ensure the best possible results. The pedigree is good, as Marc VDS took on the final round of the 2014 ELMS season and won the GTC class, while the GTE version of BMW’s Z4 has shown race-winning pace in America.
The ELMS features five four hour, multi class races – two of these classes are for GT cars. Marc VDS will be stepping into GTE, for the fastest GT racing cars. The team must field at least one silver and one bronze driver alongside platinum rated Priaulx – no drivers have yet been confirmed, while the team search for the perfect fit.
Priaulx is one of the most successful British racing drivers in history. He has won the World Touring Car Championship three times, and the European championship before that. He has raced in DTM as well as several GT racing series as a BMW Motorsport works driver. His success was recognised by the British monarchy in 2008, when he was awarded the prestigious Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Bas Leinders, Team Principal
“This is one of the most exciting programs we’ve ever taken on as a team. Racing the GTE is a new challenge, and one we’re all thrilled about. Technically, the car might look similar to the GT3, but it’s a wholly different beast. To get Andy Priaulx on board is also fantastic – I know him from my early racing days in the UK, so I know he’s a great racer. He spent last year driving this car so he knows it well, and that will be very important. We know that the ELMS is a strong championship, with an excellent level of competition – it’s not going to be an easy year!”
Marc van der Straten, Team Owner
“I’m really pleased to take a new step with BMW Motorsport. We’ve worked strongly with them in the last few years and it was only natural we moved our relationship forwards. It’s an exciting time for me and for the Marc VDS family, and to have BMW’s top GT car racing under our name is a real honour. I look forward to seeing what this team can achieve with this program.”
Andy Priaulx, Driver
“This is a nice program, it’s going to be an enjoyable team. I’m really looking forward to doing these five races with Marc VDS, and hopefully we could have a championship to our name – that would be lovely. I’ve really enjoyed the racing in GT – there’s no easy stint. I really like the long distance races – they’re great, and all the ELMS races are four hours so that’s a nice length to share with other drivers, you can get into a nice rhythm. Let’s not forget that there are some brilliant tracks – which I know really well – on next year’s calendar. I’m really looking forward to it.”