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Indianapolis 8 Hour: BMW M Team WRT wins – BMW maintains its lead in the IGTC manufacturer standings.
08.10.2023 Press Release
Victory for BMW M Team WRT and the BMW M4 GT3 at the Indianapolis 8 Hour, the fourth and penultimate race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) season. BMW works drivers Philipp Eng (AUT), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), and Dries Vanthoor (BEL) secured a triumph at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (USA) with a 53 second margin.
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Indianapolis. Victory for BMW M Team WRT and the BMW M4 GT3 at the Indianapolis 8 Hour, the fourth and penultimate race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) season. BMW works drivers Philipp Eng (AUT), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), and Dries Vanthoor (BEL) secured a triumph at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (USA) with a 53 second margin. With this third consecutive IGTC win following the Kyalami 9 Hour (RSA) in February and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) in July, BMW defended its lead in the manufacturer's standings ahead of Mercedes. Eng remains second in the driver's championship but closed the gap on the top spot. BMW M Motorsport will compete in the season finale in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in December, contending for titles in both categories.
The #30 BMW M4 GT3 started from fourth position, but Eng managed to take the lead in the first corner. The BMW M Team WRT trio temporarily lost the lead when they received a drive-through penalty for exceeding the maximum stint duration. However, with excellent speed – the BMW M4 GT3s tyre wear was reduced significantly by cooler temperatures on race day – Eng staged a comeback from fourth to second place. Leading the race with a little over two hours remaining was the #31 BMW M4 GT3 with the WRT trio of Augusto Farfus (BRA), Maxime Martin and Charles Weerts (both BEL). However, Farfus collided with another car while attempting to overtake a lapped opponent, damaging the front suspension of his car. BMW M Team WRT managed to repair the damage but lost more than ten laps in the process. Nevertheless, the joy of the team's first victory in the USA clearly overshadowed the setback.
North American BMW M Motorsport teams BimmerWorld and ST Racing also competed in Indianapolis but faced their fair share of issues. Samantha Tan (CAN), BMW works driver Neil Verhagen and Jake Walker (both USA) finished in 12th place, while Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and Chandler Hull (all USA) retired from the race shortly before the end.
The ‘Gulf 12 Hours’, the IGTC season finale, will take place on 9th/10th December in Abu Dhabi.
Reactions after the race:
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “Congratulations to BMW M Team WRT and our BMW M works drivers Philipp Eng, Sheldon van der Linde and Dries Vanthoor on their victory at the Indianapolis 8 Hour! This marks the third consecutive win for the BMW M4 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge following the double victory at Kyalami and the triumph at the 24h Spa-Francorchamps. This once again highlights the global strength of our GT3 car. It's a pity that the sister car had to retire while leading due to a collision because it was also performing exceptionally well until that point. Thanks to all drivers, team members and BMW M Motorsport staff for their efforts! This includes the North American teams of BimmerWorld and ST Racing, who gave good performances despite their misfortunes in the race. Now, we focus on the upcoming tasks, including the season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in Abu Dhabi in December.”
Vincent Vosse (Team Principal, BMW M Team WRT): “It's a great feeling to win a race in the USA for the first time with BMW M Team WRT. We had two very strong cars, and it was a big help that tyre wear was low on this track and in these temperatures. That gave us an advantage over our competitors. The setback is the retirement of our second car because we were on course for a double victory, but such mistakes happen. We're racing at the highest level and take corresponding risks. That's racing. Now, let's see what we can achieve in the title fight in Abu Dhabi.”
Philipp Eng (#30 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “Hats off to the fantastic performance of our team. They truly deserve this victory. Yesterday, they worked on the car for a long time, and today, everyone did a perfect job. I managed to keep the driver's championship title fight open. Now it all comes down to the showdown in Abu Dhabi.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#30 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “I'm thrilled to win this race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on my very first attempt! We realised early this weekend that we had a good car here, and the team did a fantastic job. What a moment to kiss the 'Bricks'!”
Dries Vanthoor (#30 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “What a great victory! Thanks to BMW M Motorsport, the team and my fellow drivers! After the mistake with the stint time, which we paid for with a drive-through penalty, we didn't give up, fought hard, and were rewarded in the end.”
Augusto Farfus (#31 BMW M4 GT3, 17th place): “The collision was my fault. I decided to make the move and overtake the lapped car in front of me on the inside. I went too deep into the corner and hit the Ferrari that was still in front of me and the car I intended to overtake. It's extremely unfortunate because we had the race under control at that point. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to overtake lapped cars in general. When you have to fight to get past them, such mistakes can unfortunately happen. I'm sorry for the team and my fellow drivers.“