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BMW M Motorsport News, 14th February 2023
14.02.2023 Press Release
Our BMW M Motorsport News allow us to give you a regular overview of the race action in various championships around the world and any success enjoyed by the BMW M Motorsport teams.
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Asian Le Mans Series: Two wins for Walkenhorst Motorsport.
Dubai Autodrome (UAE) remains a happy hunting ground for BMW M Motorsport teams in 2023. After BMW M Team WRT won the 24 Hours of Dubai with the BMW M4 GT3 in January, Walkenhorst Motorsport followed suit last weekend. On the first of two race weekends in the Asian Le Mans Series, the #34 BMW M4 GT3 triumphed in the GT class in both four-hour races. Alternating at the wheel were Nick Catsburg (NED), Chandler Hull and Thomas Merrill (both USA). The trio started from pole position on both occasions and went on to take two commanding victories. The second part of the season takes place this weekend, when Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi (UAE) hosts a further two four-hour races.
“Congratulations to Walkenhorst Motorsport on this perfect start to the season,” said Björn Lellmann, Head of Customer Racing at BMW M Motorsport. “They were the second and third wins of the year already for the BMW M4 GT3 – and all at the same circuit. Dubai has proved to be an excellent hunting ground for our GT flagship. I am now looking forward to seeing the car in action at many other racetracks around the world over the coming months, and hopefully to celebrating many more victories for our BMW M Motorsport teams and drivers. The same goes for our new BMW M4 GT4, which has already had a few tests in its first year and will start in the strongest GT4 racing series in the world in 2023.”
British GT Championship: Dan Harper to drive for Century Motorsport.
BMW M works driver Dan Harper (GBR) will race on home soil in 2023. The 22-year-old will contest the full season in the British GT Championship in a BMW M4 GT3 run by Century Motorsport. “I am hugely looking forward to lining up with Century Motorsport in the British GT Championship,” said Harper. “In recent years, people have always asked me when I will be back racing at home. It is fantastic to line up again at all the fantastic British racetracks.” Harper’s team-mate will be Darren Leung (GBR). The same two drivers shared the cockpit of the BMW M4 GT3 at the Gulf 12 Hour in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in December 2022.
Sim racing: Season-opener for BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION.
Sim racing once again forms a pillar of the BMW M Motorsport programme in the 2023 season. BMW M works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN) will be operating on two fronts. As BMW SIM Racing Ambassador, he is the face and voice of the whole project. At the same time, he is also the team captain of the official BMW M Motorsport works team BS+COMPETITION. They were in Katowice, Poland, last weekend for the opening two rounds of the season in the virtual racing series ESL R1, which formed part of the ‘Intel Extreme Masters’, a major Esports event. Four world-class sim racers – Ryan Barneveld (NED), Phil Denes (USA), Nils Naujoks (GER) and Rainer Talvar (EST) – took on the best teams in the world on the new motor racing platform with BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION. Also competing in the virtual BMW M4 GT3 were BMW SIM Team Redline, G2 Esports and FURIA. The two competitions on Saturday and Sunday were held in a tournament format at the virtual Spa-Francorchamps and Hockenheim circuits. A driver from BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION made it through to the semi-final on both tracks. The Spring Season features a further six ESL R1 races.
Interview with Bruno Spengler.
Bruno, what was your impression of the Esports event in Katowice?
Bruno Spengler: “That is definitely the biggest Esports event I have ever attended. The organisation and number of spectators – it is awesome! I also really like the set-up for the live races in the simulator, and the ESL R1 race format. The races have plenty of action and overtakes to offer for the spectators. However, it is also a lot of pressure for the sim racers, who are not used to driving in front of a crowd. You could see that with some of them.”
Does your racing experience mean you are able to offer advice? How would you interpret your role as team captain?
Spengler: “When it comes to driving in a simulator, they don’t need any advice or coaching from me. They are among the best on the sim racing scene. Where I can help is in how to cope with pressure situations whilst competing. I am only too happy to share my experience of how to approach events like these. I now know my way around both worlds – real and virtual motor racing – and can call on my experience gained in all areas. That makes me a good person for the guys to speak to and get advice from.”
Generally speaking, how would you describe the role of BMW M Motorsport in the world of sim racing?
Spengler: “I am very proud to represent BMW M Motorsport as a sim racing ambassador. The brand has a long tradition in real motor racing. You can now see the same passion in their involvement in sim racing. BMW M Motorsport is working flat-out in both worlds and is heavily involved as a manufacturer. I think that is awesome.”
2023 will also be a busy year for you on the track. What does the year have in store for you?
Spengler: “I drove my first race in the BMW M4 GT3 at Daytona in January. Next up, in March, is my first test with BMW M Team Studie in Japan. I am really looking forward to that! I will discover a lot of new circuits and work with a great team, about whom I have only heard good things. The same goes for Ceccato Racing in the Italian GT Championship. I know team principal Roberto Ravaglia very well and am sure we will have a fantastic time. As well as the races and tests, I will also have many outings in sim racing and as an ambassador for BMW Group Classic. So, I have plenty to do!”