Published on March 18th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW finalises team for VLN Endurance Championship
Endurance racing is nothing to sniff at. Making a race car that can run lap after lap with sheer consistency and reliability under race conditions can be one of the more difficult engineering feats in the world, perhaps only topped by rally engineering. But equally important to the engineering and support team behind these contenders are the drivers themselves.
BMW has a strong team going for it when it comes to endurance racing, having achieved success over the past few years. Bar for some unfortunate incidents like tyre malfunctions or collisions on track, the BMW endurance racing teams have a pretty good track record (pun unintended).
This year sees the use of the BMW Z4 GT3 once again, as developments for the new BMW M6 GT3 are still under way. The Z4 platform was used previously, before the introduction of the M3 GT3. The M3 GT3 was succeeded by the current generation Z4 GT3, which is still running to this day.
The two BMW teams will start the VLN season with some of the most experienced drivers on the Nordschleife. This track is like a second home to Lucas Luhr (DE), Jörg Müller (DE), Dirk Müller (DE), Dirk Werner (DE), Dirk Adorf (DE) and Claudia Hürtgen (DE). They have all celebrated countless victories there. The other drivers – Jens Klingmann (DE), Markus Palttala (FI), winner of the 2014 BMW Sports Trophy, Alexander Sims (GB), Dominik Baumann (AT) and Nick Catsburg (NL) – also have a vast experience of GT racing and the Nordschleife. Richard Westbrook (GB), who has been an established name in international GT racing for many years, makes his debut in the BMW Z4 GT3.
Also, four BMW DTM drivers, notably reigning champion Marco Wittmann (DE), are in action for the VLN and the qualifying races. Augusto Farfus (BR) celebrated overall victory in the 24-hour race with BMW Motorsport in 2010, Maxime Martin (BE) won the heart of fans with strong performances in the Eifel in the past. Martin Tomczyk (DE) and Wittmann have also contested many successful races on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and are looking to add to their success rate on this track.
BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert and BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS are using the first two VLN races (28th March/25th April) and the qualifying race for the 24 Hours Nürburgring (12th April) to prepare for the endurance classic on 16th/17th May. The selection of drivers used for the preparatory races will also provide the drivers who will take the wheel of the two BMW Z4 GT3s in the 24-hour race.