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BMW M Motorsport News, 17th October 2023
17.10.2023 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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Björn Lellmann, Head of Customer Racing at BMW M Motorsport:
“Another extremely successful race weekend in the USA! Congratulations to Turner Motorsport on its two titles with the BMW M4 GT4 and the podium with the BMW M4 GT3 at Road Atlanta! Will Turner’s team shares a long history with BMW M Motorsport. We could not wish for a better ambassador for our brand in North America. Thank you for the loyalty and commitment over so many years! I am also delighted with the Pro-Am title for BMW Italia Ceccato Racing in the Italian GT Endurance Championship. Team Principal Roberto Ravaglia is a BMW M Motorsport legend, and the race series is a magnificent platform. I now have my fingers crossed for the Sprint finale in two weeks!”
IMSA series: Two titles for Turner Motorsport.
Turner Motorsport was the big winner at the IMSA race weekend at Road Atlanta (USA). As well as second place in the GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the #96 BMW M4 GT3, the most successful BMW M Motorsport team in North America also won two titles with the BMW M4 GT4.
In a dramatic finale to this season’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Robby Foley and Vincent Barletta (both USA) celebrated a slightly fortunate triumph. After two hours of racing, they crossed the finish line in 13th place in the #96 BMW M4 GT4, which would actually have meant they were denied the title at the last second. However, as two of the cars between them and their title rivals in sixth place received penalties, they were promoted an all-important two positions and ultimately topped the overall standings by a mere ten points. “That is not necessarily the way you want to win a championship. A more emphatic result would have been nice,” said Foley, who was not able to celebrate the title until the penalties were confirmed roughly 30 minutes after the end of the race. Team Principal Will Turner added: “That was a rollercoaster, and it still doesn’t feel real. I would rather not have been on the rollercoaster, but this championship can be like that sometimes. You never know who is going to win. This race was a reflection of the whole season.”
The title win for Turner Motorsport and their driver Francis Selldorff (USA) in the GSX class of the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge was a much clearer affair. Selldorff, at the wheel of the #95 BMW M4 GT4, finished second and third in the final two races of the season and ultimately had a 150-point lead in the championship. “I am so relieved,” said Selldorff. “We were consistent all year, and Turner Motorsport and the BMW M4 GT4 were fantastic. I cannot thank everyone enough. My first year in IMSA, my first year as a racing driver – it went absolutely perfectly.” Gregory Liefooghe (USA) from the Stephen Cameron Racing team also made it onto the podium twice at Road Atlanta. Like Selldorff, he finished second and third in the BMW M4 GT4.
Italian GT Championship: Pro-Am Endurance title for BMW Italia Ceccato Racing.
The BMW Italia Ceccato Racing team won the title in the Pro-Am class at the season finale of the Italian GT Endurance Championship at Vallelunga (ITA). Fifth place overall (third in the Pro-Am class) in the final two-hour race was sufficient to earn the trio of Stefano Comandini, Marco Cassarà (both ITA) and Alfred Nilsson (SWE) the title in their class with the #7 BMW M4 GT3. Comandini, Cassarà and Nilsson finished runner-up in the overall championship in which Pro teams also compete.
Their team-mates Francesco Guerra, Salvatore Tavano and Carlo Tamburini (all ITA) finished third overall in the #8 BMW M4 GT3 at the season finale, which was good enough for victory in the Pro-Am class.
The final event of the season in the Sprint Championship takes place on the last weekend in October. BMW M works drivers Jens Klingmann (GER) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) are in contention to win the title.
Super GT Series: Penultimate event of the season at Autopolis.
The seventh of eight races in the 2023 Super GT Series saw BMW M works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN) claim a top-ten result alongside Seiji Ara (JPN) at Autopolis (JPN). At the wheel of the #7 BMW M4 GT3, the Canadian-Japanese duo worked their way from eleventh on the grid to finish eighth. “A big thank you to the team who did a fantastic job this weekend,” said Spengler after the race. “When you bear in mind that we had an extra 60 kilograms of success ballast on board, we got the maximum out of the race. I had a few issues with the brakes in the final 15 laps. I really had to be careful not to brake too late and to stay on the track. In the end it was very important to finish eighth and pick up a few points.”
BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux: Victories for Rappange/Warmerdam and van der Sloot.
Title contenders Dante Rappange and Dirk Warmerdam (both NED) won the opening race of the BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Benelux at Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) at the weekend. The Dutch duo from the Bas Koeten Racing team, who started from pole position, crossed the finish line in the #15 BMW M2 CS Racing with a lead of about three seconds over championship leaders Senna von Soelen and Mark van de Aa (both NED). Berry van Elk (NED) completed the podium on Saturday.
In race two, Sandra van der Sloot (NED) from the JJ Racing team surprised the opposition. After many lap times were scratched for exceeding track limits in qualifying, the 48-year-old started the race from pole position – and there was no stopping him from taking victory in the Ardennes. The #34 BMW M2 CS Racing also benefitted from the fact that Rappange and van der Aa collided shortly after the start and consequently bid farewell to any hopes of winning as early as the first corner. Van Elk came home second to claim his second podium of the weekend. Third place went to Sen Roodenburg and Gianni van de Craats (both NED), who had passed van der Sloot to take the lead at one point, but were then denied a possible win by a drive-through penalty.
Sim racing: BMW M SIM Cup at the Road Atlanta circuit.
Matt J. Farrow and Josh Lad (both GBR) from the Williams Esports team claimed their first win of the season in the BMW M SIM Cup on iRacing at the Road Atlanta circuit. In doing so, the virtual #1 BMW M Hybrid V8 pulled off an impressive comeback in the race, as Lad had only managed seventh place in a close qualifying session. “We must find out why our qualifying is so weak. I drove a decent lap and ended up in P7,” said Lad after the race.
However, the #1 BMW M Hybrid 8 rose to the occasion after the start. At the end of a spectacular race with many changes of position, Farrow took the chequered flag with a 1.5-second lead over Team Redline with its drivers Chris Lulham (GBR) and Diogo C. Pinto (POR). The duo, who lead the overall standings in the GT3 class, impressed on their first appearance in the LMDh class and were even in with a shout of winning the race in the end. “It was a bit stressful, but not too bad. Especially as it is hard to overtake here,” said Lad. “The strategy was perfect.” Daniel Alves Lourenco (GER) and Dominik Hofmann (AUT) from the Urano eSports team finished third to successfully defend their overall lead in the BMW M SIM Cup.
In the GT3 class, Salva Talens and Alejandro Sanchez (both ESP) overcame a five-second penalty on their way to their first win of the season. “Once we had made it through the traffic, I was very confident that he would be able to see out the rest of the time,” said Sanchez. In the end, the Spanish duo in the #99 BMW M4 GT3 had a sufficient lead over Oskar Rinne (FIN) and Felix Quirmbach (GER) from Team BS+Competition.
“We had fantastic pace, a great car and a magnificent strategy,” Sanchez continued. In third place were Alexander Thiebe (GER) and Sam Kuitert (NED) from the Urano eSports team. In contrast, the #70 BMW M4 GT3 of Team Redline endured a disappointing race at Road Atlanta. Tom Burns (GBR) crashed out early in the race, meaning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen (NED) never got his stint at the wheel.