24h Nurburgring: Triumphant comeback in the "Green Hell". Team BMW Motorsport celebrates 19th victory on the Nordschleife. After an intensive preparation programme, which saw Team BMW Motorsport contest podium places in rounds of the VLN ...
24h Nurburgring: Triumphant comeback in the "Green Hell".
Team BMW Motorsport celebrates 19th victory on the Nordschleife.
After an intensive preparation programme, which saw Team BMW Motorsport contest podium places in rounds of the VLN Endurance Championship, BMW set itself the challenge of conquering the Nurburgring-Nordschleife in 2010. The brand was officially represented in this long-distance classic for the first time since 2005, when the team managed by Charly Lamm (DE) scored a second consecutive one-two result, having previously done so in 2004.
The return to the 24-hour race in the "Green Hell" proved triumphant, with one of the most competitive field of competitors ever: Five years after the latest win, the no. 25 BMW M3 GT2 took a perfect win to record BMW's 19th victory in the marathon event. The winning car, driven by Jorg Muller, Augusto Farfus, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy, crossed the line in first place after 154 laps of the 25.378-kilometre circuit. Its driver quartet delivered a flawless performance, having fought their way to the top of the podium despite gearbox problems in the closing three hours.
An impressive fight-back saw the second BMW M3 GT2 (car number 26), driven by Dirk Werner (DE), Dirk Muller (DE), Andy Priaulx and Dirk Adorf (DE), chase through the field to finish an eventual seventh in a race attended by 220,000 spectators. A crash while swerving to avoid a collision saw the squad of four lose an hour in the pits early in the race, dropping them to 182nd. In cool yet dry conditions, the car with the number 26 on its sides steadily worked its way up the field on a lap-by-lap basis, with the drivers' fighting spirit being ultimately rewarded.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "That was a fantastic return for us to the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. This win reminds me of our victory at Le Mans in 1999. I have never known excitement such as I experienced today. After some of our direct rivals fell by the wayside, our victory also hung by a thread. At about 12:00hrs the winning car developed transmission problems, resulting in the loss of a gear.
Shortly after 13:00hrs further gears gradually gave up. It was a masterful performance by Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen to bring the car home in first place in this crucial phase. For all of us the tension was enormous, so the relief was all the greater when the car crossed the finish line. A big 'thank you' to every single member of the team. Everybody worked perfectly together. Thanks also to our loyal fans, who have taken us to their hearts after our five-year break, and given us such tremendous support."
Two privately-entered BMW Z4 GT3s numbered 76 and 69, run by Schubert Motorsport and Dorr Motorsport respectively, rounded off an excellent overall result for BMW by finishing fourth and ninth. In addition to the overall victory, BMW teams secured ten class wins at the Nordschleife to consolidate BMW's position as the most successful manufacturer in the history of the race. Of the 198 cars which took the start of this year's event, no less than 63 were BMWs.
24h Spa: Drama in the final hour.
Technical failure costs BMW victory in the final stage in Belgium.
The 22nd outright victory for BMW at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours in Belgium was literally within reach. In the end, Team BMW Motorsport had to make do with third and fourth positions in the final classification. Dirk Werner, Dirk Muller and Dirk Adorf completed 540 laps, covering a distance of almost 3,400 kilometres, before the number 79 BMW M3 GT2 with Werner at the wheel crossed the finish line in third place -- first in the GTN class. The second car, number 78 driven by Jorg Muller, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy, produced an impressive fight back, finishing fourth after several technical problems had hampered the team's progress in the opening stage of the race.
Following a successful start, the two BMW M3 GT2 cars temporarily held first and second before heavy rainfall on Saturday evening made conditions difficult. Although it stopped raining relatively quickly, for a long time the track remained too wet to switch to slicks. Once the 7.004 kilometre circuit had dried out sufficiently, car number 79 secured its lead and clocked consistently quick times over the final third of the race to establish the necessary advantage over the eventual winners in their BMS Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
With a lead of more than two laps, Werner seemed destined to guide the car to victory when, with just 40 minutes of the race remaining, the front-left track rod broke, causing him to crash into the barriers. Werner did make it back to the pit lane, but the necessary repairs forced the BMW M3 GT2 back into third place shortly before the finish. After two unscheduled pit stops, BMW M3 GT2 number 78 dropped back to 14th and was at times up to nine laps behind its sister car. The team never stopped fighting though, and fought back to end the race in fourth.
"We have experienced everything in motorsport," commented BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "There have been races, in which we have celebrated on the top step of the podium having started as outsiders. It was a different story here. We were excellently prepared. The team harmonised very well and produced excellent work over the course of the weekend. We dominated the race and ultimately missed out on victory thanks to a comparatively small technical fault in the last 40 minutes. That is a bitter pill for the entire team, especially after a 24-hour race, at which everyone is on their feet all day. But that kind of drama is also part of the sport." The result meant BMW still has 21 outright victories to its name at this endurance race, which was held for the 63rd time this year. No other manufacturer has won the Spa 24 Hours more often than BMW.