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BMW M Motorsport News, 18th April 2023
18.04.2023 Press Release
Our BMW M Motorsport News allows 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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DTM: Pre-season test in Spielberg.
Last weekend, the Red Bull Ring (AUT) hosted the official pre-season test for the DTM. Among those involved were the two BMW M Motorsport teams, Schubert Motorsport and Project 1, who ran the BMW M4 GT3. Of the three BMW M works drivers who will contest the 2023 DTM season, only René Rast (GER) was present on Saturday. Defending champion Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Marco Wittmann (GER) arrived on Saturday evening, following their race in the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS), and took to the track for testing on Sunday.
Rast used the time to familiarise himself with the new BMW M4 GT3, completing more than 150 laps over the two days and setting the seventh fastest time overall: 1:28.417 minutes. “I am happy with the two days. We did a lot of laps and tried some things out. As an engineering crew, that also helped us make a lot of progress with my car. Sheldon joined us on Sunday and was able to show me a few things, as I am still adapting myself and my driving style to the BMW M4 GT3, even despite the good test.”
Van der Linde did not take long to find his feet in the #1 car on Sunday. After roughly 100 laps, the 2022 champion had set the second fastest time of the whole weekend, with a lap of 1:28.138 minutes. “The test day was extremely important for me, especially as an opportunity get to know the new Pirelli tyres. Short runs, long runs – we tried everything, did a lot of laps and had good pace. With this in mind, we are happy. However, that was ultimately just one test at a circuit, at which the BMW M4 GT3 traditionally does well. As such, we should not read too much into it.”
Wittmann completed more than 80 laps for the Project1 team on Sunday, and his fastest time of 1:28.403 minutes was the fifth fastest of the weekend. “The double shift at the Nürburgring and Spielberg was quite stressful, I must say. However, it was definitely worth the effort. As a new team, we desperately need every test day to gain experience. Generally speaking, Sunday went well. However, we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and there is not a lot of time until the season-opener.”
NLS: BMW M Motorsport teams claim more class wins.
As well as the overall one-two for the BMW M4 GT3, courtesy of the BMW Junior Team and ROWE Racing, there were also more class victories for BMW M Motorsport teams in race three of the 2023 Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) on Saturday. Adrenalin Motorsport Team Motec was successful in two categories on the Nürburging-Nordschleife (GER). Victory in the VT2-R+4WD class went to Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Philipp Leisen (all GER) in the #1 BMW 330i. The BMW M240i Racing class was won by Adrenalin Motorsport Team Motec with Sven Markert, Nils Steinberg and Yannick Fübrich (all GER) in the cockpit of the #650 car.
Schubert Motorsport triumphed in the BMW M2 CS class with the #888 car, driven by Stefan von Zabiensky, Michael von Zabiensky (both GER) and Andreas Jochimsen (DEN). First place in the V4 class went to Juha Miettinen (FIN) and Dan Berghult (SWE) with the #730 BMW 325i. In the SP4 class, Jörg Schönfelder and Christian Schotte (both GER) were successful in the #250 BMW 325i for MSG Bayerischer Wald Hutthurm e.V. im ADAC. Bernd Kleeschulte and David Ackermann (both GER) won the H4 class in the #600 BMW M3. FK Performance Motorsport also took second place in the large SP10 class. Nick Hancke, Thorsten Wolter and Nick Wüstenhagen (all GER) alternated at the wheel of the #187 BMW M4 GT4.
Japanese Super GT: Season-opener with BMW M works driver Bruno Spengler at Okayama.
BMW M works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN) contested his first race with BMW M Team Studie in the Japanese Super GT Championship at the weekend. An extremely turbulent season-opener awaited the Canadian at Okayama (JPN). Spengler and his team-mate Seiji Ara (JPN) overcame tricky conditions in qualifying to secure third place on the grid for the #7 BMW M4 GT3.
“The conditions were very difficult in practice, with a lot of water on the track,” said Spengler after qualifying. “Then there was a red flag, which meant I only managed to complete two laps so I went into qualifying with only a few laps under my belt and had to get to know the track here in the rain during qualifying, which was basically my first practice session. However, it went very well for us. The car was fantastic in the wet. The team had done a fantastic job of preparing it.”
The race itself started in sunny, dry conditions, but a storm soon gathered. Heavy rain, hail and strong winds resulted in two red flags before the race was terminated after 62 of the scheduled 82 laps. Spengler and Ara ended the chaotic race in sixth place.
“The race was crazy,” said Spengler. “So much happened in that one race. We were running in a solid third place while it was still dry. Then it began to rain heavily and we changed tyres. We were a bit unlucky with the red light upon exiting the pit lane, and I was spun before I got to the garage. We lost a lot of positions as a result. We dropped back to 21st and fought our way back to sixth. That was a great comeback. We could definitely have finished on the podium in this race, but so much happened that we can be very satisfied with sixth place. The guys did a great job during the pit stops. It was very difficult for everyone. I thank the team for its hard work and the good job it did. This result is a good start to the season.”
British GT Championship: Successful start to season for Century Motorsport.
BMW M Motorsport team Century Motorsport made a successful start to this season’s British GT Championship on the Easter weekend. Among those in action was BMW M works driver Dan Harper (GBR), who shares the cockpit of the team’s #91 BMW M4 GT3 with Darren Leung (GBR) this year. The duo finished sixth in both races at Oulton Park (GBR). Harper also set the fastest lap time of the weekend.
Century Motorsport ran two new BMW M4 GT4s in the GT4 class – and claimed its first podiums at the season-opener. Carl Cavers and Lewis Plato (both GBR) in the #22 BMW M4 GT4 finished second in the Pro-Am class in the first of the two races, followed in third place by their team-mates Michael Johnston and Chris Salkeld (both GBR / #14 BMW M4 GT4). Johnston and Salkeld also came home third in race two.
GT4 France: Easter Cup at Nogaro.
GT4 France kicked off the 2023 season with the traditional Easter Cup at Nogaro (FRA). Here too, the BMW M Motorsport teams ran the new BMW M4 GT4. The L’Espace Bienvenue team finished sixth and fifth in the Silver class in the first two races of the year. The #17 BMW M4 GT4 was again driven by Ricardo van der Ende (NED) and Benjamin Lessennes (BEL). In the AM class, Carla Debard and Eric Debard (both FRA) came home fourth and eighth in the #21 BMW M4 GT4 for the Debard Automobiles By Racetivity team.
BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux: Debutant Senna van Soelen dominates at Zandvoort.
The dune circuit at Zandvoort (NED) was the venue for the opening round of the BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux at the weekend, and it was a debutant who dominated proceedings: Senna van Soelen (NED). The 17-year-old from the Bas Koeten Racing team won both races.
Van Soelen shone in the first race. Starting from pole position, he led from lights to flag. The duo of Sen Roodenburg / Gianni van de Craats (both NED) was initially hot on his heels, but van Soelen opened a five-second lead after the mandatory pit stop. Jop Rappange / Dirk Warmerdam (both NED) were third, meaning the podium was occupied solely by Bas Koeten Racing drivers.
Debutant van Soelen repeated his success in race two. This time too, he led from start to finish. Second place went to Berry van Elk (NED) from the BlueBerry Racing team, with Roodenburg / van de Craats having to settle for third place this time.