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GT World Challenge Europe: Six BMW M4 GT3s at Endurance Cup season opener.

The new season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS kicks off this coming weekend, with BMW M Motorsport once again well-represented. At Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA), BMW M Motorsport teams WRT, ROWE Racing, and Century Motorsport will field a total of six BMW M4 GT3 cars and more than a dozen BMW M works drivers.

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Le Castellet. The new season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS kicks off this coming weekend, with BMW M Motorsport once again well-represented. At Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA), BMW M Motorsport teams WRT, ROWE Racing, and Century Motorsport will field a total of six BMW M4 GT3 cars and more than a dozen BMW M works drivers.

 

The works-supported teams WRT and ROWE Racing will each compete with two cars in the Pro Cup for overall victories. Both teams have only one personnel change from last year. In the #46 BMW M4 GT3, Raffaele Marciello (SUI) will be the third driver alongside Maxime Martin (BEL) and Valentino Rossi (ITA), as he was already at Bathurst (AUS) in February. The #32 BMW M4 GT3 line-up remains unchanged with Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Dries Vanthoor, and Charles Weerts (both BEL).

 

The same applies to the ROWE Racing #98 BMW M4 GT3, where Philipp Eng (AUT), Marco Wittmann (GER), and Nick Yelloly (GBR) will compete, among others, to defend the title at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). In the #998 BMW M4 GT3, Augusto Farfus (BRA) – who was with BMW M Team WRT in 2023 – will be the third driver alongside Dan Harper (GBR) and Max Hesse (GER). The car will feature a new design from BMW M Motorsport partner MultiBank Group in 2024.

 

In the Bronze Cup, Team WRT will field a third BMW M4 GT3. The #30 car will be driven by BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER), FIA WEC driver Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA), and Sam De Haan (GBR). Century Motorsport celebrates its debut in the highly competitive Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. In the #991 BMW M4 GT3, Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis, British GT Champion and FIA WEC driver Darren Leung, and Toby Sowery (all GBR) will share duties.

 

In the Sprint Cup of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS (starting on 4th/5th May), Team WRT will compete for the entire season with two BMW M4 GT3 cars. Vanthoor and Weerts will race in the Pro Cup, while De Haan and Calan Williams (AUS) will compete in the Silver Cup. Rossi and Martin will make individual starts and race the #46 BMW M4 GT3 in the sprint events at Brands Hatch (GBR) and Misano (ITA). Century Motorsport combines the two British GT champions Harper and Leung in one car in the Bronze Cup.

 

The opening race of the Endurance Cup at Le Castellet (FRA) starts on Sunday, 7th April, at 15:00 CEST and will run for a shortened distance of three hours compared to previous years. On the same weekend, the GT4 European Series will also start its season. Eight BMW M4 GT4 cars are registered for the first race weekend. They will be entered by teams Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport, L’Espace Bienvenue, W&D Racing Team, Razoon-more than racing, Lestrup Racing Team, and CHAZEL Technologie Course.

 

Quotes ahead of the season opener.

 

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The GT World Challenge Europe is once again the most competitive GT3 racing series in the world this season. A field of 55 cars, including 20 in the Pro Cup, is truly impressive. In our second season with the two works-supported teams WRT and ROWE Racing, we are relying on consistency. Experience is extremely important in this championship. Therefore, we are pleased that, with the exception of two minor changes, we can send the same driver pairings into the races as in 2023. Already last season, we had much reason to rejoice with numerous wins and podium finishes. We want to further improve on this record and clinch titles this time. I warmly welcome Century Motorsport to the GT World Challenge Europe and wish the team every success. Additionally, I am excited to see a very strong field of BMW M4 GT4 cars in the GT4 European Series at Le Castellet. In its debut season in 2023, the BMW M4 GT4 immediately clinched the title. We want to build on this success.”

 

Hans-Peter Naundorf (Team Principal ROWE Racing): “It’s good that the season is now picking up speed and that we can fight for victories and points again. Even though we set the sporting bar very high last year, we are going into the season with similar expectations. Our advantage is the vast experience and stability of the team, which has changed only minimally compared to 2023 with the comeback of Augusto Farfus in the GT World Challenge Europe. Everything is well coordinated. We know what we and our drivers are capable of and are constantly trying to optimise our performance even further, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a say in the battle for the top positions again, but there is no guarantee. All participants have to adapt to the new bio fuel, which requires some adjustments to the engines. The conditions at Le Castellet have also changed: shorter race duration, different temperatures and no driving in the dark. On the other hand, the strain on the cars at Le Castellet is certainly less than in the past. Overall, everyone’s tension is likely to be a little higher than usual at the start of the season, and everyone will want to get their bearings in the race first.”

 

Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “It’s a pleasure to start our season in Europe. Everyone knows how important the Fanatec GT World is for us, as we’ve been in that category since the very beginning of the championship. It has been years that Paul Ricard was one of the longest races of the championship, and now it is the season opener. It’s a pleasure to go there. We have cars to fight in different categories. In the Pro category we have a new arrival in the number 46 car, Raffaele Marciello, who is heading to the race with Vale and Maxime, and our standard line up in the number 32 with Charles, Dries and Sheldon. Again we have a Bronze class entry, this year with Ahmad Al Harthy, Jens Klingmann and Sam De Haan, who is new to the team, but not to the championship, so let’s see what we can do. There are some changes in terms of regulations, but nevertheless, of course we will try very hard to be at the front.”

 

Nathan Freke (Team Principal Century Motorsport): “GTWC Europe is something we have aspired to for many years and I want to thank Darren Leung for taking us on this journey with him. We have a fantastic line-up of drivers for both Sprint and Endurance and a great team of guys and girls who are all excited to get going. I think we can hope for very strong results in the Bronze class. It’s big step for us, but we are very well prepared and looking forward to round one.”

 

 

The BMW M4 GT3 line-ups at a glance:

 

Pro Cup.

 

#32 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT

Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)

Dries Vanthoor (BEL)

Charles Weerts (BEL)

 

#46 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT

Raffaele Marciello (SUI)

Maxime Martin (BEL)

Valentino Rossi (ITA)

 

#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing

Philipp Eng (AUT)

Marco Wittmann (GER)

Nick Yelloly (GBR)

 

#998 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing

Augusto Farfus (BRA)

Dan Harper (GBR)

Max Hesse (GER)

 

Bronze Cup.

 

#30 BMW M4 GT3, Team WRT

Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA)

Sam De Haan (GBR)

Jens Klingmann (GER)

 

#991 BMW M4 GT3, Century Motorsport

Jake Dennis (GBR)

Darren Leung (GBR)

Toby Sowery (GBR)

 

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