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Tribute to Charly Lamm: Friends remember the legendary team principal.

On the Thursday before the start of the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER), BMW Motorsport came together to commemorate Schnitzer team principal Charly Lamm, who died at the start of the year. At a special tribute event, BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and a host of companions from more than 50 years of motorsport remembered Charly Lamm the person, as well as the many racing successes he enjoyed all over the world.

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Nürburgring. On the Thursday before the start of the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER), BMW Motorsport came together to commemorate Schnitzer team principal Charly Lamm, who died at the start of the year. At a special tribute event, BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and a host of companions from more than 50 years of motorsport remembered Charly Lamm the person, as well as the many racing successes he enjoyed all over the world. Under Lamm’s leadership, Schnitzer Motorsport won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring no fewer than five times.


Marquardt led the tribute in the BMW M Motorsport Hospitality at the Nürburgring, which was attended by many well-known guests – including many current and former BMW works drivers, and rivals from various different racing series. “The news of Charly Lamm’s death at the start of the year came as a huge shock. Above all for his family and friends, of course, but also for the entire world of motorsport,” said Marquardt. “For decades, Charly was one of the greats of this world. This was shown emphatically by the incredible amount of international sympathy following his death. We are here today to remember Charly Lamm the fantastic team principal and all his many successes, but also a fantastic person.”


Among those to speak at the event about the experiences they shared with Charly Lamm were former BMW Motorsport directors Mario Theissen and Gerhard Berger (CEO of ITR e.V.), Jochen Neerpasch (first managing director of BMW Motorsport GmbH), and Olaf Manthey (team principal and former BMW driver), as well as current BMW works drivers Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN).


Other quotes from the tribute event.


Mario Theissen: “Charly was the best man I came across in the whole world of motorsport. And he was the most respected man. That is unique. What made him so special was that he gave every little detail his full attention. In the end, he was able to cope better with difficulties than the opposition. He did that better than anyone else.”


Jochen Neerpasch: “Competition was what Charly lived for. You could call him at any time, he loved precision. He was one of the greats of motorsport – and for many decades he was the heart and soul of Schnitzer.” 


Gerhard Berger: “My best time as a racing driver was with Charly and Schnitzer. In motorsport, I have never met anyone else who, despite all the success, had remained such a fine person as Charly. His aura was unique. He was a very good friend. I will never forget him.”


Augusto Farfus: “I will never forget Charly’s ability to put so much passion into something without ever asking for anything in return. The way he enjoyed motorsport, and the intensity, with which he partook in it, were unique. Charly never withheld any energy – he was always ready to help and to listen. I learned so much from him – and I miss him incredibly.” 


Bruno Spengler: “Charly never counted the hours – he just gave it everything from morning to evening. He motivated everyone around him. Charly gave me wings and led us to the DTM title in 2012.”


Olaf Manthey: “We were both friends and rivals. Charly and Schnitzer were always respectful and fair to other teams. When I formed my company, my goal was to be just as successful as the Schnitzer team. He always encouraged me. There is simply nobody like him. Motorsport will remember Charly for a long time.”


Profile: Charly Lamm.

It was evident early on that Charly Lamm would follow his older half-brothers Josef and Herbert Schnitzer into motorsport. BMW and Schnitzer Motorsport have formed a successful alliance on the racetrack since the 1960s. Lamm soon found his place in the team and developed his own methods. Driven by passion, meticulousness and the desire to discover the world. “Our home in Freilassing is not the hub of the motorsport world,” he once said. This is where he always lived and worked. “However, it soon became apparent to me that I would have the opportunity with our racing team to travel and expand my horizon. I was incredibly excited by this prospect, and it dictated the rhythm of my life since I was a youngster. When we subsequently raced in America and Asia, I often packed my rucksack for another week and travelled around. That was a real privilege.”


Even as a school pupil, lap times and set-up work determined the pace of Lamm’s life. “At secondary school, they did not see me very often on Fridays and Mondays,” he said. As a young man, Lamm used to tour the racetracks of this world with the Schnitzer team. He grew with his tasks. At first, he was the hardworking trainee, then team manager and chief decision maker.


The list of successes that Schnitzer Motorsport achieved under Charly Lamm is a long one. And he always remained loyal to BMW: Lamm’s victories came exclusively with race cars or engines from Munich. In the 1980s, Schnitzer developed into the dominant team in touring car racing. Lamm repeatedly led the team to new success with the BMW M3. “We were the invincibles,” he said, describing those years. Victory in the World Touring Car Championship, success in the European Touring Car Championship, DTM triumph, titles in Italy, Great Britain and Asia, overall victory in the Super Touring Car Championship: Wherever Schnitzer was involved, it rained trophies. “We were on a run. The BMW M3 was phenomenal. Everything came together perfectly.”


However, the “race of our lives”, as Lamm described it later, was still to come. In 1999, BMW won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) with the Schnitzer team and the BMW V12 LMR. BMW Motorsport has won the iconic 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife 19 times, most recently in 2010. Once again it was Schnitzer who left the 24-hour race in the “Green Hell” victorious, having previous won in 1989, 1991, 2004 and 2005. In 2012, Lamm and Schnitzer were triumphant when BMW Motorsport returned to the DTM after an absence of 20 years. Bruno Spengler (CAN), the team and BMW won every title on offer. 


At the end of 2018, after more than 40 years in motor racing, Lamm bid farewell to the big stage. As humble as ever, but with one last hurrah: In November 2018, he won the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (CHN) with Augusto Farfus at the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3. This was Lamm’s final race as team principal, and his final race full stop.

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