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BMW Motorsport News - Issue 20/2019.

BMW V12 LMR returns to Le Mans - Philipp Eng commemorates Roland Ratzenberger with special helmet design.

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24h Le Mans: anniversary of legends.

This racing car still sets hearts racing among today’s motorsport enthusiasts: the BMW V12 LMR. In 1999, the prototype celebrated the overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA), competing for the BMW Team Schnitzer and driven by Joachim Winkelhock (GER), Yannick Dalmas (FRA) and Pierluigi Martini (ITA). Twenty years on from this triumph, the BMW V12 LMR returned to Le Mans. It was on show at the circuit as part of the programme for this year's 24-hour race – as was the BMW 328 Touring Coupé, which recorded a class win 80 years ago to mark the start of the BMW story at Le Mans. The two historic racing cars took to the track just before the start of the classic endurance race on Saturday afternoon, thrilling fans with a demonstration lap on the ‘Circuit de la Sarthe’. Dalmas, one of the winners from 1999, was behind the wheel of the BMW V12 LMR. “That was a difficult, but very special, race back then. It is very tricky to describe what you feel when you cross the line,” said Dalmas as he recalled the victory of 20 years ago. “The car was perfect for 24 hours, the team was very efficient and we did a good job as drivers. Everything worked just as it should. Winning Le Mans is about teamwork. Everything has to be perfect. It was a great experience to drive at Le Mans with BMW Team Schnitzer and BMW. The BMW V12 LMR was efficient and strong.” For the demonstration lap, the BMW 328 Touring Coupé was driven by BMW Group France Event Manager and racing driver Romain Brandela (FRA).

 

24h Le Mans: Philipp Eng commemorates compatriot Roland Ratzenberger.

When BMW works driver Philipp Eng (AUT) is asked about his role models in motor racing, one name always gets a mention: Roland Ratzenberger (AUT). 25 years ago, the then Formula 1 driver suffered a fatal accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola (ITA). Before making the step up to Formula 1, Ratzenberger had also competed for BMW. In 1987, he raced for Schnitzer Motorsport in the BMW M3 in the World Touring Car Championship. He also celebrated successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA). Eng sees numerous parallels between his own motor racing career and that of Ratzenberger. To honour one of his compatriots during his appearance at Le Mans this weekend, Eng sported the red and white helmet that was Ratzenberger's hallmark during his career. “The first thing that Roland and I have in common is, of course, that we are from the same country,” says Eng. “But our careers have followed a similar path as well. Neither of us had much money and we had to work really hard to progress. I saw a documentary about Roland that impressed me so much that I contacted his family and arranged to meet them. After learning so much about Roland, it was a real honour for me to wear a helmet in his colours for this race.”

 

BMW Sim Racing: reunion at Le Mans.

This weekend, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) was the venue for another meeting between the winners of the ‘BMW 120 at Le Mans’ event on iRacing and the BMW Team CATENG, which consists of BMW works drivers Philipp Eng (AUT) and Nick Catsburg (NED). At the end of May, sim racers Alexander Voss and Laurin Heinrich (both GER) from the Williams eSports team had won the race with the BMW M8 GTE – with Eng and Catsburg among the beaten drivers. Their prize was two tickets for BMW M Motorsport VIP Hospitality at Le Mans. The four drivers met there for a shoot-out at the controls of a Fanatec simulator. This time, it was Eng who managed to finish just ahead. “We had a great weekend at Le Mans,” said Voss. “Philipp Eng and Nick Catsburg are really nice - and they both love sim racing.” Heinrich added: “It was very interesting to meet Philipp and Nick. They are mega fast in the virtual world as well.”

 

BTCC: double win for BMW driver Jordan at Croft.

Andrew Jordan has recorded another double win at the fourth race weekend of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Croft (GBR). The BMW Pirtek Racing driver won the first and second races with his BMW 330i M Sport. Jordan claimed eighth place in race three. Reigning BTCC champion Colin Turkington (GBR) also reached the podium with a second-place finish in the second race in his BMW 330i M Sport. Turkington finished fourth and sixth in the other two races. Tom Oliphant (GBR) completed the three races in fifth, 18th and 23rd positions. Stephen Jelley (GBR) crossed the line in 13th, twelfth and 28th positions.

 

GT4 Scandinavia: victory for the BMW M4 GT4 at Skelleftea.

The BMW M4 GT4 success story continued at the third race weekend in the GT4 Scandinavia. Oliver Söderström and Robert Serwanski (both SWE) from the Förenade Bil/Lestrup Racing team claimed victory in the second race at Skelleftea, Sweden. The duo had also reached the podium with a second-place finish in the first race. In the first race, Alfred Nilsson and Joakim Walde (both SWE) secured fifth place in the team's second car. They retired early from the second race. After their fourth win of the season, Söderström and Serwanski now lead the Pro-Am standings with 126 points.

 

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